Peter Wright: The eloquent classicist, still in the rehearsal room in his 80s

Sir Peter Wright’s most prolific decade was the 1980s when he created productions of four great classical works, first The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, both in 1981, then Nutcracker in 1984 (and later a second Nutcracker in 1990) and Giselle in 1987.

Of this quartet, his 1990 Nutcracker has been the most highly praised but his Giselle has been the most successful in terms of its number of productions.

Fourteen companies worldwide have performed Wright’s interpretation of Giselle.

Last January, the ballet was staged once more by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. During the season the production was filmed with Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta in the leading roles and released in cinemas worldwide.

Below is a clip of Sir Peter rehearsing this 2014 production and sharing some thoughts about the ballet, including his view that Giselle does not go “bonkers” when she discovers that Albrecht has betrayed her. Wright has always believed that Giselle commits suicide rather than losing her mind and dying of a broken heart.

The second clip is from 2010, when Sir Peter visited Amsterdam to rehearse his Sleeping Beauty with the Dutch National Ballet.

Sir Peter continues to work in the rehearsal studio (at the age of 87) and to travel the world to stage his ballets, however he won’t be flying to Australia when the Australian Ballet reprises his 1990 Nutcracker in Melbourne next September.

Instead, Desmond Kelly, his former colleague and a former assistant director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, will make the journey to oversee the company’s second season of Nutcracker, first performed by the Australian Ballet in 2007.

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Sir Peter Wright
© Richard Farley