Stravinsky’s Rite Causes Riot!!

It Happened on
May 29, 1913


“I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.” – Igor Stravinsky

This purposefully over-the-top article created by Chat-GPT precedes excerpts from the day.

Paris, May 30, 1913 – In an unprecedented spectacle of high society chaos and unrestrained mayhem, the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées last night has become the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons!

What was anticipated to be an evening of refined cultural enrichment rapidly devolved into a scene of uproarious bedlam and highbrow fisticuffs. The highly anticipated collaboration between composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky has certainly etched its name into the annals of scandalous history.

A Symphony of Shrieks and Shouts

From the first dissonant note of Stravinsky’s score, it was clear that this was no ordinary performance. The jarring rhythms and avant-garde melodies were unlike anything the genteel audience had ever encountered. It wasn’t long before discontent began to simmer, with whispers of disapproval quickly escalating to outright jeers and catcalls.

As the performance progressed, Nijinsky’s bold and unconventional choreography, replete with stomping and angular movements, pushed the already fragile audience to the brink. The clash between traditional ballet aficionados and proponents of modern art reached a fever pitch.

Fisticuffs in the Orchestra Pit!

Reports from the scene recount a surreal descent into pandemonium. Fashionable ladies, decked in the latest haute couture, found themselves grappling with their fur stoles as they hurled insults (and occasionally opera glasses) at the stage. Dapper gentlemen, their evening gloves flying, engaged in heated exchanges that soon escalated to physical confrontations.

Sources reveal that the orchestra, valiantly led by conductor Pierre Monteux, continued to play amidst the cacophony of shouting, shoving, and the unmistakable sound of monocles hitting the floor. At one point, it is rumored that Monteux’s baton was nearly wrestled from his hand by an irate patron, only to be saved by a swift intervention from the second violinist.

Star-Studded Scuffle

Among the notable figures embroiled in the fracas was none other than the illustrious composer Camille Saint-Saëns, who was allegedly heard exclaiming, “This is not music, it is madness!” before storming out in a huff, narrowly avoiding a collision with the famed fashion designer Paul Poiret.

Meanwhile, the ever-dramatic Coco Chanel reportedly fainted in her seat, overwhelmed by the sheer audacity of the performance, and was promptly revived with smelling salts by her ever-attentive entourage.

A Night to Remember

By the time the final note was played, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées was a battlefield of broken hatpins and bruised egos. Despite the chaos, Stravinsky and Nijinsky remained resolute, accepting both the accolades and the condemnation with stoic grace.

As dawn breaks over Paris, the city is left to ponder the true nature of art and its power to provoke. One thing is certain: The Rite of Spring has cemented its place not just as a milestone in musical history, but as a legendary night of riotous revelry that will be whispered about in salons for years to come.


While some decry the evening as a disaster, others see it as the dawn of a new artistic era. What new controversies and triumphs await? Only time will tell. Until then, the memory of last night’s tumultuous premiere will linger, a testament to the provocative power of The Rite of Spring.

Stay tuned, dear readers, for more tantalizing tales from the heart of Paris’ glittering (and occasionally brawling) cultural scene.

In a full-page article about Igor Stravinsky, The Boston Evening Transcript of Saturday, July 26, 1913The Boston Evening Transcript of Saturday, July 26, 1913 did mention the raucous caused by his work.


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Igor Stravinsky

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