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 Post subject: New Biography of Rudolf Nureyev
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:54 am 
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The long promised biography of Rudolf Nureyev by Julie Kavanagh is due to be published on 6th September: 512 pages price £25.

Ms Kavanagh was the author of Ashton's biography, Secret Muses, and it has taken her nine long years to produce this latest book about Nureyev. Unlike the other biographies about RN, this one will contain material by those closest to Nureyev that haven't co-operated with his other biographers in the past, most notably his long term partner, the recently deceased Wallace Potts.

I have no fewer than twenty books about Nureyev on my shelves, not counting those concerning his partnership with Fonteyn, and they are of varying quality (some are quite simply awful). The most comprehensive is the one by Diane Solway but I imagine this new biography will prove to be definitive.

More information and a pre-publication ordering facility is available on Amazon.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:40 pm 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Exciting news indeed!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:30 am 
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Finally published today, extracts of the new biography have been appearing in the quality papers over the weekend.

In today's Telegraph there is a wonderful picture of the young Nureyev that I don't think I've seen before together with the following article (note that it is today's most viewed).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jh ... kgb117.xml

I particulalry enjoyed reading about Faina Rokhind.

Quote:
His friends in Leningrad kept the Nureyev flame alight in secret. In a communal apartment in Gatchinskaya Street is a remarkable – and completely unknown – private archive, assembled by a bereft fan after his defection.

Faina Rokhind is 80: she first saw Nureyev dance at his graduation in 1958, and became one of those who showered him with flowers in Leningrad before anyone in the West had even heard of him............

................The walls are adorned with images of Nureyev in his prime, and the cupboards and shelves overflow with books, photograph albums, magazines, scrapbooks and videos – one woman's unique collection in defiance of Soviet authority.


That's my kind of ballet fan.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:20 am 
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I now have a copy of this book and have to say that the 512 pages previously promised turns out to be a huge underestimate as there are actually almost 700 excluding the very lengthy indices. Consequently it is a very heavy tome and too big to stuff into a handbag to read on the way to work, so it's going to take me a while to read.

The illustrations include a few that haven't been published before.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:22 pm 
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Joan Acocella reviews "Nureyev: The Life" in The New Yorker:

New Yorker


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:20 pm 
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Moira Macdonald reviews the book in the Seattle Times:

[url=http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=nureyev07&date=20071007[/url]Seattle Times[/url]


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:59 pm 
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Nancy Dalva reviews the book in the New York Observer:

NY Observer


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:42 pm 
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From the SF Chronicle.

Quote:
Nureyev as a brilliant, beautiful bastard

Rachel Howard

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ballet biographies are getting raunchy: Meredith Daneman's insightful 2004 portrait of that bastion of British dignity, Margot Fonteyn, taught me more than I ever expected to learn about the great dancer's Kegel muscles, and Julie Kavanagh's 1997 study of choreographer Frederick Ashton hardly shied from exploring his more profane inspirations. Now Kavanagh is back with a revealing 782-page tome on that most mega of ballet stars, Rudolph Nureyev. But one can hardly blush at its sexual descriptiveness. It was, after all, not only technical feats but ballet as a channel for that wild, amorphous sensuality that fueled Rudimania for decades after his headline-making 1961 defection, that had women and men alike sleeping on sidewalks for tickets to his performances, that enthralled everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Mick Jagger. And Nureyev himself never hesitated to boast about his exploits, claiming (probably falsely) to have impregnated several ballerinas. You can imagine Nureyev looking on from the afterlife with that mischievous smirk of his as you read Kavanagh's dishy, detailed treatment, for he emerges as a prodigious and insatiable lover.


more...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:24 pm 
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Two recent reviews of Julie Kavanagh's Nureyev biography.

Michael Shmith in The Age:

The Age

A very extensive review by Jennifer Homans in The New Republic:

New Republic


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:56 pm 
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From Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe:
Quote:
‘Nureyev’: A life as dramatic as his art
....
Julie Kavanagh’s “Nureyev: The Life” offers a critically authoritative biography of the legendary dancer that should appeal to scholars and casual fans alike, combining exhaustive research with delightfully juicy, gossip-filled anecdotes to paint a remarkably full-blooded portrait.

More...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:17 pm 
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Maggie Lewis reviews the Kavanagh biography in the Christian Science Monitor:

CS Monitor


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 Post subject: Kavanagh book now available in paperback
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:06 am 
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Julie Kavanagh's biography of Rudolf Nureyev is now available in paperback, though I doubt it will make much difference in the actual weight of this over-long tome. One of my friends makes a fair number of long distance flights every year and has been holding out for the paperback version because the hardback would have taken up too much of her cabin baggage weight allowance. Well, you could cut up to 300 pages from this biography and it would be an improvement.

Frankly this book adds nothing to the number of books about Nureyev that are currently available and if you already have the very factual biography by Diane Solway there's little point in buying this one too. Kavanagh wasn't a fan of Nureyev's and never saw him dance during the glory days and it's clear she doesn't like her subject much at all. She gives us the agony of his life with none of the ecstasy.

Although the book contains new material from those close to Nureyev that had declined to cooperate with his other biographers, in the end it tells us more about those close to him than it does about the man himself. Once he left Russia he lost that essential network of friends so vital to all of us, to be replaced by a bunch of frankly weird sycophants that allowed themselves to become his doormats. I can't help thinking that if one of those friends had the guts to tell him when he was behaving outrageously that he was acting like a total p***k and should grow up, he might not have developed into the unpleasant character he undoubtedly was. So okay, he was a complete a******e, but so what when he could dance in a way that made you forget what day it was, except this book tells you far too little about his actual dancing to make present day ballet fans realize how totally unique Nureyev was.

It apparently took Ms Kavanagh a staggering ten years to put this book together, but there are still gaps where people I would have thought worth contacting for the insights they had into the man’s life don't get a mention; others that do get a mention come out badly on the whole, for example what a stupid old fool the eminent art and ballet critic Nigel Gosling turns out to have been. The best part of the book concerns his Russian years, far more extensively researched here than by others.

I don’t think we are going to get a definitive biography of Rudolf Nureyev as too many people with insights into his life are now dead, some even pre-deceased him and those that saw him dance in the 60’s and early 70’s are also thin on the ground now. Of course if you were a fan you will want to read every word written about him, but for the more discerning reader I still recommend the Solway book.


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