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Nureyev's concert at the Vienna State Opera is worth watching.

Nureyev's concert at the Vienna State Opera is worth watching.

It was introduced by ballet director Manuel Legris, and is continued every two years by his successor Martin Schlafer as the season finale of the Vienna State Ballet at the Vienna State Opera: Nureyev Gala Dedicated to the great dancer Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993), who was in charge of the ballet. Vienna Opera House His 1964 version of “Swan Lake” was his biggest hit to date.

The ceremony was prepared by Martin Schlappfer. Saturday evening was an evening of dances that played an important role in Nureyev's career, as well as pieces that reminded us, at least, of Nureyev's innovative and sometimes rebellious side. The program has proven itself deserving of recognition with many of the best dance performances.


The evening began with a trio of “La Ventana” by Auguste Bournonville. The style of the 19th century Danish choreographer influenced Nureyev's style. Bournonville Ballet performances are rarely seen today. This was followed by the waltz and pas de cinque from Act I of Nureyev's Swan Lake, a fine example of Nureyev's style. Sonja Dvořák gave a haunting interpretation of Martin Schlaepfer's single “Ramifications”. Set to a score by György Ligeti, it breaks down the boundaries of the inner and outer world, with some breaks from classical ballet. The constant struggle with his personality makes it possible to refer to Nureyev's life.

David Dato, a solo dancer who influenced the Vienna State Ballet for many years, brilliantly performed many roles that were important to Nureyev. However, Hans van Manen's Four Schumann Pieces proved too long for a gala evening. Schläpfer's choreography for the waltz “Wiener Blut” for the group conducted by Olga Essina and Marcos Minha was lively and elegant. Ketevan Babava and Timur Afshar shine in the emotionally charged “black” Pas de deux from John Neumayer’s “The Lady of the Camellias.” But unlike football, France ultimately won the ballet comparison with Austria. The “Grand Pas classique” performance with guests Valentin Colasanti and Marc Moreau, stars of the Paris Opera Ballet, was in a class of its own. What it means to combine expression with Nureyev's choreography is also brilliantly demonstrated in the Pas de deux of the second act of “Swan Lake.” It was a dancing affair as if it were in one piece.

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Text: Sylvia Cargill