Erich Walter


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(b Fürth, 30 Dec. 1927; d Herdecke, 23 Nov. 1983)

German dancer, choreographer and director. He studied with Olympiada Alperova in Nuremberg and danced with Nuremberg Opera Ballet (1946–50), Göttingen Ballet (1950–1), and Wiesbaden Ballet (1951–3). In 1953 he was appointed ballet master at Wuppertal where, in collaboration with designer Heinrich Wendel, he built up a repertoire of neo-classical ballets that established Wuppertal as one of Germany's leading companies. These included Pelléas and Mélisande (mus. Schoenberg, 1955), Jeux (mus. Debussy, 1958), Romeo and Juliet (mus. Berlioz, 1959), and Ondine (mus. Henze, 1962). In 1964 he became ballet director at Düsseldorf's German Opera on the Rhine, building up such a successful ballet company that a second had to be formed in 1970 to perform in opera productions. He also worked as guest choreographer for other companies, including Berlin Opera Ballet, and La Scala, Milan. His later ballets included String Quartet no. 1 (mus. Janáček, 1966), Dance Around the Golden Calf (staged in Schoenberg's opera Moses and Aaron, 1968), and Le Sacre du printemps (Stravinsky, 1970), as well as stagings of several classics.

Subjects: Dance.

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