2019 Nuriyev Festival: about Le Corsaires, love and courage
The ballet festival opened with a premiere
The Rudolf Nuriyev International Classical Ballet Festival, which is being held on the stage of the M. Jalil Tatarstan Academy State Opera and Ballet Theatre for the 32nd time, opened on 13 May. Read why this year’s ballet festival is remarkable in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
“He indicates the road to the theatre”
Traditional signs of the Nuriyev festival are plain to see: a crowd of spectators, a carpet of blossoming tulips in front of the spectators’ entrance to the theatre and a parking area stuffed with cars in front.
The latter always confuses a bit: there is no parking in almost any theatre in European cities, and this isn’t a problem for anyone. The public easily goes by metro or takes a taxi in evening dresses. In front of Opéra Garnier in Paris, one can often see a lady in a long dress rushing from the underground passage on Rue Opéra and going towards the entrance to the Parisian opera. Our spectators are ready to tolerate inconveniences when parking a car but aren’t to refuse a private vehicle.
Unfortunately, this year there isn’t the habitual banner dedicated to the festival we got used to seeing on the theatre’s façade. Urban authorities made an inexplicable decision to forbid from putting them on façades. It’s strange, still, advertising banners of plays on façades is a worldwide practice. And many European theatre buildings are much older than theatre buildings in Kazan. But it seems that we’re again “ahead of the curve”.
Unusual posters of this year’s plays are like compensation for the absence of advertising on the façade, some of them have portraits of Nuriyev. His photo opens the festival’s brochure, which is very stylish. Nuriyev on the cover squints a bit ironically, and I remember that it was said about him in the West that “Rudolf is as photogenic as Marilyn Monroe”. Monroe posed, while Nuriyev always was amazingly natural. He was divinely natural – both in life and onstage.
Russian University of Theatre Arts Professor Sergey Korobkov gave a welcome speech traditionally before the play who began talking quite romantically saying that this year’s festival is the first in history after the monument to Nuriyev appeared next to the theatre: “He stands on Teatralnaya Street and seems to be indicating the road to the theatre”.
It should be reminded that the monument to the great dancer that was a gift of Zurab Tsereteli to the city appeared in Kazan in the autumn of 2018, in the 80th anniversary of Nuriyev. It’s a pity that not a very good place was chosen for it, behind the theatre, where service cars enter. Of course, a site next to the main entrance to the theatre would be more appropriate.
“It lasted for just two minutes”
This year’s festival opened with a premiere of the ballet Le Corsaire. To begin festivals with a premiere is a good tradition of the M. Jalil Tatarstan Academy State Opera and Ballet Theatre. Le Corsaire is staged with choreography by Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev edited by head of the ballet company Vladimir Yakovlev. By the way, Sergeyev was a director of the Kirov theatre’s ballet company, and his unfriendly attitude to Nuriyev was one of the reasons for which the artist decided to stay in the West.
Le Corsaire play in Rudolf Nuriyev’s art is a milestone. He chose a part from this ballet to participate in the All-Union Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow. “His variations lasted for just two minutes, but after that, it was clear a big artist was performing it. The ballet world started talking about Nuriyev after this competition,” Sergey Korobkov reminded the audience.
On 13 May, soloist of the Kazan theatre Oleg Ivenko performed the part of slave Ali, Conrad's loyal servant. One of the leading dancers of our company just played the role of Rudolf Nuriyev in the notorious film The White Crow. The film has already been shown in many countries, got awards at many festivals and was released in Russia in late April.
“When I was preparing the part of Ali, of course, I watched Rudolf Nuriyev’s recordings, got into his spirit. He danced amazingly – he rushed to the stage and outshone everyone,” Oleg Ivenko commented on his work on the role for Realnoe Vremya.
On 13 May morning it became known that Ivenko got sick and wouldn’t be dancing at the opening, and it was great disappointment for the spectators who came to the premiere and to see him. But the artist anyway bravely appeared on the stage and became one of the adornments of the play.
Le Corsaire on the Kazan stage is a romantic ballet based on Byron’s poem full of the air of freedom, filled with love and courage. Leading soloists of the Kazan ballet company Mikhail Timayev, Kristina Andreyeva and Amanda Gomes performed the key roles. The orchestra of the Kazan theatre headed by head conductor Renat Salavatov felt the romantics of the music, the music by Minkus, Adam, Drigo, Pugni, Delibes, Oldenburg, Kornblit is used in Le Corsaire.
Le Corsaire’s music consists of compositions of different authors, the music we use is, in my opinion, the most compact and expressive one,” Renat Salavatov told Realnoe Vremya.
Le Corsaire was going to be staged on the festival’s stage again on 14 May, but the key roles were to be performed by soloists invited to the Nuriyev festival.