We are presenting the participants of “Diaghilev P. S.”-2023: “The Judgment of Paris. Birth of a Goddess”

The traditional part of Diaghilev P. S. program is opening of a new exhibition created by the Museum of Theatre and Music. This year it is “The Judgment of Paris. Birth of a Goddess”, an exhibition dedicated to the Divas. It will begin work in the Sheremetev Palace – the Museum of Music on 24 November

And one of the events timed to the exhibition, “The Poet’s Love” concert of Alexei Goribol, will open the Diaghilev Program-2023 on 13 November at the State Capella.


Paris, the hero of an ancient myth, was choosing the most beautiful goddess among three contenders: Aphrodite, Athena and Hera. Nowadays, Paris’ judgment is made by the public. It alone can recognize a certain figure as a cult figure and put it on a pedestal. 

The exhibition curated by Natalia Metelitsa and Irina Klimovitskaya tells about the goddesses of the 20th century, actresses who have remained in history as unique figures, that is, those who left the “courtroom” of the public with triumph. Their names have become iconic, and their images have become role models and unattainable paragons. Each of them in her own way was and remains a Diva. The audience will learn about them in three aspects: their relationship with the public, their relationship with the main master in their destiny, and their relationship with the authorities. 



The four halls of the Sheremetev Palace are dedicated to different themes. The first one called “My Goddesses!” is a fantasy Olympus, where 35 idols of different epochs dwell. They include ballerinas Maria Taglioni, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Galina Ulanova, singers Pauline Viardot and Maria Kuznetsova-Benois, actresses Eleonora Duse, Polina Strepetova, Alisa Koonen. Each of them represented the ideal of a woman in her own way, and they made up a whole gallery of images. All of them have retained some part of them, but none of them have been completely unraveled by the audience – this may be the secret of their appeal.

The second hall, “The Road to Olympus”, is dedicated to two actresses of the Imperial Theaters: Maria Savina and Vera Komissarzhevskaya. Both paved the way to fame independently, did not rely on the director who would create a theater around them. Both became a symbol of different directions of the Russian theater. In her images Maria Savina reflected the traditional acting theater of the 19th century, in which the audience waited to meet the Personality of the artist on the stage. Vera Komissarzhevskaya expressed the mood of society of the first decades of the 20th century and the symbolist theater. 

In the third hall, “The Road to Golgotha”, the audience will learn about the tragic fate of two key actresses of the Soviet theater of the 1920s – 1930s: Alisa Koonen and Zinaida Reich. Both found their Masters, the directors whose ideas they embodied on the stage. Both accepted the same fate as their patrons and spouses who were repressed or deprived of the opportunity to work by the authorities.

The fourth hall, “The Bright Path”, will tell about the divas whose work was patronized by the authorities and Stalin personally. Film actresses Lyubov Orlova and Marina Ladynina embodied different sides of the “new Soviet woman”. Being modest on the screen and glorious in life, they led the audience.

 “The Judgment of Paris” will unite exhibits from 12 state museums and 5 private collections. Among them are the Russian Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, the Bakhrushin Theater Museum, the State Hermitage Museum and the Russian National Museum of Music. The exhibits from private collections were provided by St. Petersburg KGallery, V. V. Zagonek, D. D. Chukovsky and others.


The exhibition will open during the XIV Diaghilev P.S. Festival. You will be able to learn about the women idols from 24 November 2023 till 21 April 2024 at the Sheremetev Palace – the Museum of Music at 24 Fontanka Embankment.