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Robert Helpmann: A Servant Of Art
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Robert Helpmann: A Servant Of Art

Author: Anna Bemrose

Sir Robert Helpmann was a phenomenon in the arts. 

A giant in seven-league boots striding between ballet, opera, the stage and film in multi-faceted roles, which included those of dancer, choreographer, actor, director and producer. During the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s Helpmann’s name was prominent in the performing arts scene in London and New York.

In ballet he danced with Alicia Markova then began a long partnership with Margot Fonteyn. He danced with Moira Shearer and choreographed the fifteen-minute ballet within The Red Shoes. He worked with such luminaries as Michael Benthall, Richard Burton, Noël Coward, Robert Donat, Tyrone Guthrie, Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. The operas he directed included Madam Butterfly (1950) with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf at Covent Garden and Alcina (1983) with Joan Sutherland at the Sydney Opera House.

Magnificently illustrated and with a foreword by Maina Gielgud AO, Robert Helpmann: A Servant of Art is a fascinating account of this great man of the theatre. From original documents in public and private collections, and personal interviews with many of Helpmann’s professional collaborators in Australia and the United Kingdom, Anna Bemrose has woven a rich tapestry that illuminates Sir Robert’s enormous contribution to the performing arts both in Australia and overseas.