The Australian Ballet Artistic Director shares his thoughts on the genius of Tchaikovsky.

Throughout my life there has always been Tchaikovsky. The first full-length ballet I ever saw was The Sleeping Beauty. It was Rudolph Nureyev’s production for English National Ballet who toured it to Perth when I was a child. I remember feeling completely gobsmacked – I’d never seen anything so beautiful and it was an incredibly opulent production, dripping with feathers and jewels and heavy, beautiful costumes. It was an overwhelming experience and I was completely immersed in it.

It is impossible now to think of ballet without thinking about Tchaikovsky, and I believe the reason why these works are so popular today is because of those scores. This incredible music draws people to the works, and it’s because there is such a huge amount to draw on that all three ballets have inspired so many to reenvision them. I think that partly this is because of the relationship between Tchaikovsky and the great ballet choreographer Marius Petipa. It was often a very prescriptive collaboration, and yet within that Tchaikovsky was able to write this extraordinary music that has so much intellect and creativity despite these very...

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