The famous impresario Sergei Diaghilev revealed dozens of new names to the world: brilliant composers, artists, directors, choreographers and dancers who defined the ways of the arts development in the 20th century. He was always a few steps ahead of his contemporaries. The Diaghilev Festival takes place in the city where Diaghilev spent his childhood, and it follows his credo.

Established in 2003, the festival has become one of the largest and most prestigious festivals in Russia, a notable phenomenon in the musical life of Europe and the world. The Artistic Director of the festival is Teodor Currentzis.

Every year, the festival presents the latest developments in modern European theatre and current musical trends. The world premieres of operas commissioned by the festival and new works by leading composers of the 21th century take place at its venues. New ideas and creative collaborations are born. Russia and Europe's leading directors, choreographers, musicians, and artists have worked at the festival venues: Robert Wilson, Peter Sellars, Anatoly Vasiliev, Romeo Castellucci, Theodoros Terzopoulos, Natalia Osipova, Diana Vishneva, Sidi Larbi Sherkaoui, Vladimir Varnava, Alexey Miroshnichenko, Alexey Lubimov, Nadezhda Pavlova, Leonid Desyatnikov, Alexey Sioumak, Dmitri Kourliandski, and many others.

Every year, 30-40 thousand people from different cities of Russia and the world become spectators of the festival. The events of the festival evoke a great response and are accompanied by publications in major Russian and international media. 

The Diaghilev Festival's special feature is the multi-genre nature of its programme. The festival presents the entire palette of musical phenomena: from masterpieces of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque to cutting-edge opuses, from the highest examples of academic performance to experimental interpretations. The festival playbill contains about 30-35 main events: premieres of opera and ballet stage productions, symphonic and chamber concerts of classical and modern music, as well as jazz, ethnic and alternative music, dance performances, dramatic performances, visual art, public art, retrospectives, fine art and photo exhibitions. The main events are accompanied by the Educational Programme and a rich spectrum of activities of the Festival Club with free admission.

The Diaghilev Festival creates a space in which the audience is not only an observer, but also an active participant. The festival removes barriers between the audience and the artists, the audience and the artwork, it offers new approaches to the perception of music and theatre expanding the understanding of what contemporary art is in all its variety of types and genres.

Since 2020, a special project of the Diaghilev Festival 'Diaghilev +' has been held in Perm in late autumn or winter. It is intended as the festival's satellite event and represents a kind of afterword to the main summer programme.

Teodor Currentzis:

— The Diaghilev Festival is not only about presenting new phenomena of modern theatre and music to the public. It is something greater. It is conversations about music, cinema, and philosophy. It is questions and ideas. It is the freedom to follow different paths. A reason to take a look at the familiar through the eyes of a foreigner. A chance to forget the familiar and discover yourself. It is what is called παιδεία — 'paideia' — education, upbringing, culture.

Art gives us the opportunity to shift our perspective. It gives us a chance to reconsider ourselves and the world, to experience this inexpressible feeling of discovering new things. And we want to share it with everyone who wants to change. The future depends on whether we can embrace a new perspective - on our inner evolution. It is only when we abandon the familiar and forget what we know that we move forward.