Three of the ballet world’s most popular and enduring works are showcased here by prima ballerinas Nadia Nerina and Margot Fonteyn.
Originally titled ‘Chopiniana’, Les Sylphides uses the music of Chopin to create a short ‘romantic reverie’, which though Romantic in style, demands technical brilliance from its dancers. Nerina – once described by Time Magazine as ‘the company’s most polished virtuoso’ – and her colleagues capture the work perfectly.
Swanilda is a role coveted by ballerinas as the character is rarely offstage and the dancer has ample opportunity to display her technical and theatrical abilities. In this performance of Coppélia, Nerina’s sunny personality and comedic skills are in abundance. She is ably supported by her co-star Robert Helpmann, one of the greatest mime artists in ballet.
The version of Coppélia on this DVD is the first of producer Margaret Dale’s adaptations for the BBC; her other productions included Giselle, Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée and John Cranko’s Onegin and were watched by audiences of more than one million.
The final film features arguably ballet’s greatest partnership, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.
Though stylistically they seemed to be opposites, when they danced together their technique and temperaments blended seamlessly. This extract from the 1962 Giselle is rare sample of one their earliest collaborations.
ICA Classics’ previous DVD release featuring Nadia Nerina (ICAD5030) has received great critical acclaim, notably in the Financial Times (‘essential viewing’) and in the New Yorker (‘buried treasure’).