The ballet The Three-cornered Hat or Le Tricorne, based on the novel by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón dated in 1874, premiered in 1919 at the Alhambra Theatre in London with music by Manuel de Falla, production by Diaghilev and choreography by Massine. Picasso was in charge of designing the costumes, the curtains and the scenography. The public perceives it as a part of the spirit of celebration of the end of the pandemic and the World War I.
The European success of Le Tricorne invited to reproduce it in the United States. After Picasso had worked on the parisian production, the guarantee of success in America could only be assured by a significantly consecrated artist. Thus the project came to Salvador Dalí. The staging premiered on April 24, 1949, with the title of The Three-cornered Hat or The miller’s sacks, acting as a second title, something that Dalí used to do with all his works. It is the same ballet whose sets and costumes Pablo Picasso had produced thirty years earlier.
Manuel de Falla is one of the most important Spanish musical artists of the 20th century. When Falla arrived in Paris in 1907, Spanish music was in vogue thanks to the compositions of Debussy and Ravel on Spanish themes. Diaghilev’s Ballets are born in 1909 and Falla feels a great admiration for them. The ballet company has a great success in Europe and its main cast includes the Ukrainian dancers Vaslav Nijinsky, Serge Lifar, Ida Rubinstein and Olga Jojlova. With Falla’s help, the Ballets toured Spain in 1918 and 1919. In fact, the artists coming from Russia as well as the Ukraine, Poland and the United Kingdom, wanted to escape the war and its consequences, and Spain was one of the few countries where performances could be scheduled. Picasso was already working with Diaghilev on the ballet Parade when the producer began conversations with Falla. In 1921 Massine left Diaghilev and over the years he would take up these ballets again, especially in Monte Carlo and the United States. Thanks to the colaboration between Massine and Dalí, the couple of millers and the “corregidor” continued on stage, combining dance and the Avant-Garde of one of the most important artists in the History of Art.