Born 1923 in Athens, Greece; Died 2001 in London, England
Out of his diverse and fruitful career, the two ballets that Nicholas Georgiadis designed for The National Ballet of Canada highlight the spectrum of his style and his career-defining partnerships with two of the most eminent choreographers of the twentieth century, Rudolf Nureyev and Kenneth MacMillan. His collaborations with Nureyev and MacMillan helped to establish Georgiadis as a renowned ballet designer who was recognized around the globe.
For The National Ballet of Canada, Georgiadis designed the spectacular production of The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev. Premiering on September 1, 1972 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, The Sleeping Beauty wowed audiences with its lavish costumes and spectacular sets. The intricate scenes onstage hinted at Georgiadis’ influences, from his academic background in architecture to his inspiration from the Ballets Russes style. This production of The Sleeping Beauty is a cornerstone in the history of The National Ballet of Canada. At the time, it was the most expensive production to date, but its enthusiastic reception and lengthy tours proved it was also one of the most successful. It effectively propelled the National Ballet onto the world stage, earning the company international recognition. In 2006, The Sleeping Beauty was selected for the inaugural performance at the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, for which Georgiadis’ sets and costumes underwent a massive restoration.
Georgiadis’ designs for Kenneth MacMillian’s Song of the Earth reveals another dimension of his ability as a designer. In this production, which the company premiered on April 28, 1988, the dancers appear in simple, ascetic costumes before a dark backdrop. The striking effect serves as a testament to Georgiadis’ skill in creating an arresting image with minimal adornments. His mastery of visual composition also speaks to his parallel career as an influential painter.
View the exhibit
The Sleeping Beauty (1972)
Song of the Earth (1988)
Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.