Nureyev: Legend and Legacy Review

Theatre Royal Drury Lane – 5, 6, 12 September 2022

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


This spectacular celebration of Nureyev’s performances and choreography will delight ballet fans of all ages. Introduced by Ralph Fiennes and Dame Monica Mason, Nehemiah Kish’s programme includes seminal pieces from Nureyev’s career performed by world class dancers. In a lovely touch, the second act begins with filmed interviews with some of the dancers, including those who had been given funding by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, relating the impact Nureyev had on the ballet world.

The Royal Ballet Sinfonia performed at the back of the stage under the direction of David Briskin and provided beautiful accompaniment to the dancers. Sleeping Beauty, Act 2 Entr’acte Solo, with a strong and energetic Guillaume Coté displaying Nureyev’s exquisite choreography, is followed by Pas de Deux from Gayane, with Maia Makhateli and Oleg Ivenko playful but pristine in their execution. Xander Parish and Iana Salenko were imperious dancing the Act 3 Pas de Deux from La Bayadére, with Ida Praetorius’ light touch marrying joyfully with Francesco Gabriele Frola puppyish energy and charm in Flower Festival in Genzano. The Pas de Six from Laurencia ended the first act in style with high energy and precision from Natalia Osipova, Marcelino Sambé, Yuhui Choe, Marianna Tsembenhai, Benjamin Ella and Daichi Ikarashi.

The Grand Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty opens act two with the sublimely imperial partnership of Natascha Mair and Vadim Muntagirov. A simply gorgeous performance of Giselle, Act 2 Pas de Deux was delicate and emotional from William Bracewell and Francesca Hayward before a huge change in tone as the ethereal Alina Cojocaru and Alexandr Trusch almost stole the show in an excerpt from Don Juan, performed in 1975 by Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. The programme ends with another Pas de Deux always associated with Nureyev and Fonteyn, Le Corsaire, and Cesar Corrales and Yasmine Naghdi battling it out with fearless leaps and pirouettes in a perfect finale to a wonderful evening. The performance will be available to watch on on a pay-per-view basis, 16 – 26 September. From October, Marquee TV subscribers can view the performance as part of their subscription.