Dance perfection meets political defection in director Ralph Fiennes’ intoxicating account of the young life of Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, whose escape to the West stunned the world at the height of the Cold War.
Rudolf Nureyev (played by world-class ballet performer Oleg Ivenko) is a magnetic presence. Emerging as ballet’s most famous star, this wild and beautiful dancer finds himself limited by the world of 1950s Leningrad. In early 1960s Paris, the Cold War may be raging, but Soviet authorities have decided to send their finest dance troupe to the city to demonstrate the kind of cultural refinement that lies behind the Iron Curtain. Devastatingly handsome and culturally ravenous, Nureyev immediately falls in love with the city, much to the annoyance of his KGB minders. Making daily pilgrimages to the Louvre as well as frequenting the city’s jazz bars with a Chilean heiress (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a pivotal awakening and a dangerous attempt at defection that will define his destiny lie in wait.
Working with a drum-tight script by playwright David Hare, director Ralph Fiennes brings texture and emotional shading to this portrait of a brilliant, inscrutable man whose talent and temperament saw him rock the worlds of ballet and international relations.Download Programme Notes (PDF)