Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev

HistoryTribute to Rudolf Nureyev

History : Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev

From his first steps on the Garnier stage in 1961 to his final bow in 1992, at the end of La Bayadère’s very first performance, Rudolf Nureyev deeply impacted the Paris Opera Ballet’s history.

Dance Director at the Paris Opera from 1983 to 1989, he extended the Company’s repertoire with his revised versions of many works by Marius Petipa (Don Quixote, Raymonda, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, La Bayadère). He also expanded it with commissions to various contemporary choreographers and took the prestige of the Paris Opera onto international stages with major tours.

Thirty years after his death, his legacy lives on in the Company, which continues to dance the great classics he restaged for the Paris Opera.

José Martinez's testimony

Director of Dance at the Paris Opera

Elisabeth Platel's testimony

Director of the Paris Opera Ballet School, and former Danseuse Étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet.

First steps on the Garnier stage

In 1961, during a foreign tour of Kirov Ballet, Rudolf Nureyev took his first steps on the Palais Garnier’s stage in the Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadère ballets.

Forced to fly back to Russia, he asked political asylum to the French policemen at the Bourget Airport in 1961, and led afterward a successful international career.

Leading the Paris Opera Ballet

Rudolf Nureyev was Dance Director of the Paris Opera Ballet from 1983 to 1989. He added many ballets to the company’s repertoire, including his revisions of Petipa’s works and contemporary creations.

Today, Nureyev’s works remain alive and are still regularly performed. The 2022/23 season’s programme includes his version of Swan Lake, danced by the Paris Opera’s Etoiles, Premiers dancers and Corps de Ballet, and the third act of his Raymonda, performed by the students of the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Don Quichotte

6th March 1981

Basilio in Don Quixote was one of Rudolf Nureyev's favourite roles.

He remounted his own version of the ballet in Vienna in 1966, which entered the Paris Opera repertoire in 1981.

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5th November 1983

Raymonda inaugurated Nureyev's tenure as Director of Dance in 1983.

Performed in its final form, the ballet opened the season of the Paris Opera Ballet.

On the bill

Swan Lake

20th December 1984

Nureyev offers a new interpretation of the ballet by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov.

Prince Siegfried escapes the reality of power and marriage to take refuge in the idealized dream of a swan-woman.

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Roméo et Juliette

19th October 1984

A fresco with a cinematic feel that restores the passion of Shakespeare's play and makes the story of the unhappy lovers topical.

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The Nutcracker

19th December 1985

Nureyev offers a psychoanalytical interpretation of Alexandre Dumas' tale.

Drosselmeyer and the Prince become one, representing the masculine ideal dreamed of by Clara at the dawn of adolescence.



25th October 1986

Perrault's tale is transposed to the Hollywood world of the 1930s.

Discovered by a film producer, Cinderella makes her screen debut and conquers the heart of the star actor, who propels her to the top of the bill. cinéma, Cendrillon fait ses débuts à l’écran et conquiert le cœur de l’acteur-vedette, qui la propulse en haut de l’affiche.


La Belle au bois dormant

18th March 1989

Florestan's kingdom is no longer a good-natured fantasy, but a court with its own etiquette that reveals the heaviness of power and the weight of tradition.


La Bayadère

8th October 1992

The production presented in October 1992 at the Palais Garnier was the first complete version, in three acts, of La Bayadère ever danced in France.

It was his last creation, three months before his death.

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Les ballets de Noureev en VOD

sur l'Opéra chez soi

(Re)découvrez les grands ballets de Rudolf Noureev sur vos écrans : Don Quichotte, Le Lac des cygnes, Roméo et JulietteLa Bayadère...


Exposition de costumes

Jusqu'au 5 février 2023 au Palais Garnier

Cette exposition de costumes, masques et diadèmes conservés à l’Opéra retrace les grands ballets que Rudolf Noureev a remontés pour la Compagnie ou qu’il a lui-même interprétés, ainsi que les œuvres qu’il a spécialement créées pour le Ballet de l’Opéra.  


Retour sur l'exposition Rudolf Noureev

À travers une cinquantaine de photographies, Rudolf Noureev est célébré aux côtés de ses interprètes et des chorégraphes qu’il a invités.


Livres, programmes de spectacles et DVD

Plongez-vous dans la vie et les œuvres de Rudolf Noureev, avec cette sélection de produits disponibles dans notre boutique :
• Confidences inédites - Noureev, Arthaud Poche
• Rudolf Noureev - Génie et sensualité, d'Alberto Testa
• Programmes et DVD des spectacles Roméo et Juliette, Casse-Noisette, Don Quichotte, La Bayadère...


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