Rudolf Nureyev performs for Kazan

Nureyev Festival finishes in the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Jalil

Rudolf Nureyev performs for Kazan Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Two gala concerts have been held in the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Jalil. The festival of classical ballet named after R. Nureyev traditionally finishes with them. However, the great dancer, ''flying Tatar'' in some way has also turned out to be among the performers of the concert.

''Photogenic like Marilyn Monroe''

Nureyev once told about the Tatar blood that it flows in the veins faster than the blood of other peoples. Proudly calling himself a ''citizen of the world'', nevertheless he has always emphasized his belonging to the Tatar people. The spectators at the gala concert of the festival of classical ballet had an opportunity to see the fact that the blood in his veins flowed very quickly when on the screen there was the footage of Nureyev's dancing.

The idea to do this came up to the head of the director and presenter of the concert, ballet master and choreographer, people's artist of Russia Andris Liepa. The invitation of Liepa as the director of the event is an obvious success of this year's festival.

Andris Liepa has made Nureyev the hero of the gala-concert, the first part began with a collection of pictures of him – a laughing Nureyev at a rehearsal, Nureyev and his constant dance partner Margot Fonteyn, Nureyev on a show. Thin face, slightly hollow cheeks and piercing eyes that now sparkled with laughter and then amazed with the biblical sadness. It is no coincidence that Maurice Béjart said Rudolph ''is photogenic like Marilyn Monroe''.

''I remember that I met with Nureyev, when he came from Kazan from the festival of classical ballet, with such an enthusiasm he was speaking about the Kazan theatre. The festival in Kazan is the only one in the world named by Nureyev himself,'' said Andris Liepa.

On the screen on the stage backdrop there was Nureyev's dance, his extraordinary twirls, hovering leaps — he's dancing the Prince, the variations in Le Corsaire, Armand in the famous, specially written for him, composed by Ashton's production of Marguerite and Armand, Romeo in the play by McMillan. He is young, handsome, and brilliant. He is ''the flying Tatar man'', who stayed in Paris with 36 francs in the pocket and conquered the whole world. ''Because I slept little and worked a lot,'' as he later said in Kazan.

Having conducted in Kazan at the festival of classical ballet The Nutcracker, Nureyev understood the potential of the theatre. With peace of mind he gave the Kazan festival, then nameless, his name. It was the right thing — the Nureyev festival in Kazan is really a significant event in the world of ballet.

Andris Liepa has made Nureyev the hero of the gala-concert

Offering to Nureyev

The gala concert traditionally consisted of two parts, where organically combined classic performances and modern ones. Again, this coincided with the work of Nureyev, who was omnivorous in a good sense. Being representative of the Leningrad school of classical ballet, he did not shy away from the most modern trends.

The action began with the pas de deux of Diana and Actaeon from the ballet La Esmeralda, it was performed by ballet soloists of the Tatar State Academy Opera and Ballet Theatre Koya Okawa and Midori Terada — fragile, artistic. It is worth remembering that the part of Actaeon was one of the first where young Nureyev drew attention to himself at the contest in Moscow.

The other two pas de deux from Giselle and Don Quixote also relate to the Nureyev repertoire, he starred in both performances. In Giselle, the almost ethereal soloist at the Palais Garnier Dorothée Gilbert, one of the pleasant discoveries of this year's festival, once again delighted. As for Don Quixote, the pas de deux performed by Yolanda Correa from the Norwegian National Opera and her partner, an African-American Osiel Gouneo from Munich — it was the major point of the first part.

However, modern dance was represented no less brightly. And the range was quite wide — from comic performances The Bumblebee by the music of Rimsky-Korsakov to the deeply philosophical The Way of Charon and especially A Human with its tragic focus. The performance A Human performed by Alexander Mogilev was the world premiere.

Unexpectedly passionate, to the tear of the aorta, was the performance of Vysotsky's song All is wrong performed by the soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre Mikhail Lobukhin. Although the ideology of this tiny show brought back some memories of the famous speech of Mikhail Baryshnikov under the song Vysotsky, Lobukhin conquered the audience with overflowing temperament.

Andris Liepa built the concert by an upward trajectory, making certain accents. The advantages of the concept include the fact that the Kazan troupe was duly represented — Mikhail Timaev, Amanda Gomez, Kristina Andreyeva, already mentioned Koya Okawa and Midori Terada, performed very good and were not lost amid guest stars.

The next year Rudolf Nureyev would have turned 80. Obviously, this anniversary in some way will affect the program of the festival.

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By Tatyana Mamaeva. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov