Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bucketful of Nureyev and Kavangah

There has been a pile of coverage—and excerpts—about Julie Kavanagh's Nureyev: The Life. Here's a lengthy rundown:


  • "Nureyev in love:" The biographer of the world’s greatest dancer reveals that beautiful women – not men – were his first passion (The Times)

  • "Did Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn have an affair or didn’t they?" From the start of their hot stage partnership rumours were rife that Nureyev and Fonteyn were having an affair. It is a question that still divides their friends (The Times)

  • "The purest and the dirtiest" From Shakespeare, to the Russian poets, to JD Salinger, Rudolf Nureyev was a passionate reader. But no one inspired the dancer more than his Romantic hero and alter ego, Byron (The Guardian)

  • John Carey (The Times)

  • Peter Conrad (The Observer) "The beast within the beauty:" Julie Kavanagh's Rudolf Nureyev reveals a peerless dancer and entrancing character but also a deeply unattractive man

  • Lynn Barber (The Telegraph) "Very hot and very rare" [en entendre referring to how Nureyev liked his steaks]

  • Joan Acocella (The New Yorker) "Wild Thing:" Rudolf Nureyev, onstage and off.

  • Tobi Tobias (Bloomberg) "Nureyev, Passionate Rebel With Great Legs, Found Fame in Exile"

  • Joel Lobenthal (New York Sun) "What Made Rudolf Nureyev"

  • Simon Callow (The Guardian) "James Dean in tights:" Julie Kavanagh's Rudolf Nureyev reveals a supreme commitment to art that is an example to us all [Here's Callow's ending to the piece:]
    Kavanagh never apologises for him, nor does she try to extenuate his frequently brutal behaviour. What she makes clear is that these were flaws in a titanic human being who never ceased to strain every fibre of his being to serve dance. For him there was never any comfort zone. To be a dancer, he said, was "sacrificial work". Kavanagh's book, apart from its comprehensive and compulsively readable account of Nureyev's life and art, and its exceptional lucidity about the history and technique of dance, is an important wake-up call to the lily-livered rest of us: this is what performing can be, but only if we give it everything. Nothing less will do.
Whew! Exhausted yet? As blogger Gayle Alstrom noted (about Joan Acocella's review):
Reading this wonderful extensive review that seemingly tells as much about Nureyev that any normal person would want or need to know, I can't see any reason to read the book...
With all the coverage, we may be in some Nureyev: The Life overload.

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