Nureyev at the Paris Opera

Nureyev at the Paris Opera - Jacques Moatti


Rudolf Nureyev, appointed by the Minister of Culture Jack Lang, took over as director of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1983. Nureyev, the Director, worked on extending the repertoire of the Ballet. He enriched earlier periods with revivals of the Baroque, pre-romantic era, and expanded later periods with orders for the "Young Turks" of contemporary ballet.

He improved working conditions for the dancers by having new studios built. He shook up the corps de ballet hierarchy by casting promising young dancers from the Company in soloist roles, and appointing five, twenty year old, principal dancers.

Rudolf Nureyev took the prestige of the Paris Opera onto international stages. He led the troupe to the United States for three years running in 1986, 1987, and 1988, after a French absence of more than thirty years. He had them take part in festivals in Venice, Vienna, and Athens as well as the Festival in Avignon. And above all, he maintained the company at its highest level. 


Nureyev, whose name means "ray of light", was indeed this luminous beacon guiding the youngest dancers, this imperious leading light sweeping across classical and modern choreographic repertoires, this persistent flame burning and being consumed with passion for ballet.Rudolf Nureyev was first revealed to the world of ballet lovers, one May evening in 1961 at the Paris Opera.

Appearing in the role of Solor in the "Kingdom of the Shades" scene which was being performed for the first time in Western Europe, he materialized, in his haughty purity, like a young god, brilliantly combining cat-like sensuality with incredible stylistic beauty. It was on the same stage of the Palais Garnier, more than thirty years later in October 1992 that, coming full circle, he finally presented his production of La Bayadère.

Between the beginning and the end of his destiny, he lived an exemplary trajectory sought after since childhood, experiencing a dazzling rise to fame and a long sojourn amongst the stars. 

Nureyev's choreographies in the repertoire

LA BAYADERE ACT III 3 october 1974 After Petipa
MANFRED 20 november 1979 Original choreography
DON QUIXOTE 6 march 1981 After Petipa
RAYMONDA 5 november 1983 After Petipa
THE SWAN LAKE 20 december 1984

After Sergueev and Bourmeister 

ROMEO AND JULIET 19 october 1984 Original choreography
THE TEMPEST 9 march 1984 Original choreography
BACH SUITE 16 april 1984 Avec Francine Lancelot
THE NUTCRACKER 20 december 1985 After Petipa
WASHINGTON SQUARE 25 june 1985 Original choreography
CINDERELLA 24 october 1986 Original choreography
SLEEPING BEAUTY 18 mach 1989 After Petipa
LA BAYADERE 8 october 1992 After Petipa