English National Ballet is presenting a triple bill as homage to legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev at the London Coliseum from July 25-27. Abundantart covered the show on the 25th July.
The evening opened with documentary footage of the celebrated dancer – his signature crouch and electrifying movements across the stage and moved on to the three works in whose making Nureyev was closely associated. The featured ballets were Petrushka, Wayfarer and Act III of Raymonda.
The first one was Petrushka with a stunning recreation of the famous butter fair scene in 1830s St. Petersburg. It’s a bustling fair scene, with snow on the ground, gypsies and street dancers, drunk revellers, food hawkers and a solitary policeman jostling with the towns people when the crowd’s attention is drawn to an animated puppet show. The puppets are life sized and appear life like in their attributes. The three puppets-Petrushka, the moor and the ballerina are locked in a love triangle. Petrushka is hopelessly romantic and falls for the Ballerina. The Ballerina however is in love with the Moor and doesn’t reciprocate. With this tragic unrequited love, Petrushka still pursues his love and gets into a fight with the Moor and is slain in front of the fair crowd. The master puppeteer returns to pick up the lifeless Petrushka –a mere floppy rag doll now. As he makes way back to his stall he is horrified to see Petrushka’s spirit alive rising from the roof his stall. Fabian Reimair as Petrushka
With music from Gustav Mahler and choreography by Maurice Bejar the Song of the Wayfarer is tailor made for the male dancer. Two dancers strut along on a bare stage with a touch of pathos and nostalgia. It reminds us of the loneliness of the great dancer and his yearning for his lost home, but in the end has to accept his destiny.
The opulent wedding scenes from Raymonda Act III showed his greatness as a classical choreographer. This was an apt homage to Nureyev as he is credit to reviving this production almost single handedly in 1964 purely from memory of his early years at the Kirov Ballet. It was spectacular performance on a lavish set revealing a vast pool of talent through the ranks of artists at the English Ballet. Vadim Muntagirov drew excited cheers from audience with his impeccable performance in the wayfarer and as Jean De Brienne in Raymonda. Daria Klimentova as Raymonda was exquisitely elegant. The four soloist ballerinas were outstanding showing a great depth of talent.
The evening was a fitting tribute to someone who with his enormous drawing power attracted whole new audiences to watch classical ballet at theatres. The packed audience at the London Coliseum had a fair share of the younger generation which should be good news for the English National Ballet and classical ballet in general