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The ceremony took place in the Opera Garnier's grand staircase and began with a Bach fugue (No. 13 with an abrupt end). Then Ninel Kourgakpina, his first partner at the Kirov, read a poem by Pushkin (in Russian), his friend Ezio Frigerio read a madrigal by Michelangelo (in Italian), Waldemar Kamer read an excerpt of the last act of Faust II Goethe (in German) and the director Patrice Chéreau an excerpt from Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud (in French). At the end of the ceremony the dancers raised the coffin and Rudolf Nureyev left the opera on the last of the Songs of a Wayfarer by Gustav Mahler. (Text from

Click on this link to listen to the poem read at Rudolf's funeral