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MMM – Rudolf Nureyev's Swan Lake

Author: sounding images

17 DEC 2023: Ballet history was made at the Vienna State Opera in 1964: a performance of Swan Lake choreographed by Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

  • MMM – Rudolf Nureyev’s Swan Lake | Copyright: © Unitel

    © Unitel

  • MMM – Rudolf Nureyev’s Swan Lake | Copyright: © Unitel

    © Unitel

An incredible 89 curtain calls is testament to the performance of Swan Lake choreographed by Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who also took on the male lead role of the Prince – all at just 26 years of age. His partner is 45-year-old British prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn.

His choreography for the Vienna State Opera Ballet and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under John Lanchbery is one of the most well received of all time and is still in the repertoire of the Vienna State Opera. To this day, the technically extremely demanding choreography is danced with reverence by the generations that followed Nureyev, who are inevitably measured against the legendary dream couple of classical pointe dance, Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.

This great moment in music includes the painstakingly restored 4K version of the legendary ballet recording, while the documentary passages with Nureyev reveal and make tangible this exceptional and fascinating personality. In newly filmed conversations, former dancers and companions, including Charles Jude, French "Let's Dance" jury member Marie-Claude Pietragalla and biographer Julie Kavanagh, all have their own personal memories of the iconic figure. Michael Birkmeyer and Gisela Cech, who danced alongside Nureyev at the premiere of Swan Lake, take stock of this unforgettable evening of dance, while young artists such as the principal dancer of the Berlin State Ballet, Polina Semionova, choreographer Eric Gauthier and director Kirill Serebrennikov, look back at Nureyev and his work from the perspective of today.

English series title Magic Moments of Music
Duration 43 min / 52 min
Author Anne-Kathrin Peitz
Producer Claus Wischmann, Max Geschke
Co-Producer Christopher Janssen
Production Company sounding images, ZDF/Arte

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