Fernand Nault and Celia Franca
Fernand Nault gained worldwide acclaim for his 1970 staging of The Who‘s rock opera “Tommy.” But his true fame derived from his 1964 “Nutcracker” for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, which he staged after touring with the (American) Ballet Theatre for 20 years. Grands Ballets founder Ludmilla Chiriaeffs subsequently invited Nault to become her co-artistic director, and his often theatrical and sensuous choreography revitalized the company’s image. His 1967 “Carmina Burana” was particular successful.
Nault and Chiriaeff resigned in 1974 to devote themselves to training. The company, however, continued to present Nault‘s work into the late 1990s. His refurbished “Nutcracker” endures. Despite the ravages of Parkinson‘s disease, Nault, a much-loved man, also worked internationally, staging his ballets as far afield as Korea and France.
Celia Franca, who died February 19 in Ottawa, Canada, left an eduring cultural legacy. In 1951 she launched the National Ballet of Canada and remained its artistic director until 1974. Under her leadership it grew to become a major international classical ballet repertory company. Franca also initiated choreographic workshops and fostered several emerging ...