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  1. Is there a thread for the 2022 SI at POBS? I can't find one.
  2. Hello to everyone who might have some information or experience on the best (aka most economical) way of buying tickets for the PoB. I am keen to see the Ashton / Bausch / eyal triple in December but have left it a bit late it seems on the ticket front and the only remaining tickets are in the 100 euro plus brackets! Is there a forum like this (or other resource, eg. Friday rush like at the RB) where one can find more reasonably priced tickets? MERCI in advance for any info ❤️
  3. I have the brochure for the new season. Ballets are: Play (Ekman) Le Rouge et le Noir (Lacotte) Rhapsody (Ashton) / l'Après-midi d'un Faune (Eyal) / Rite of Spring (after Nijinsky) Don Quixote Body and Soul (Pite) Uprising / In your rooms (Schechter) La Bayadère Carmen / Another Place / Bolero (Ek) Midsummer Night's Dream (Balanchine) Giselle I know we haven't had the official announcement but as the news is very much out there to previous subscribers (with no caveats!) I hope it's OK to post this.
  4. The streaming of "Le Rouge et le Noir” by Pierre Lacotte from Opera de Paris is still available. Hurry up, it may end soon. https://my.mail.ru/mail/viktorlaskin/video/_myvideo/63543.html
  5. Wow - that was quite a powerful, deeply touching Defile from POB! Row and rows of masked performers walking towards an empty auditorium, as the glorious orchestra plays the Berlioz march. Usually there’s wild applause as each etoile steps forward...usually a huge ovation at the end. What fortitude of the participants to put this on for their citizens and the world!
  6. POB list of streaming performances, again apologies if this has already been posted I couldn't find it when I searched. https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/news/performances-of-the-paris-opera-to-rediscover-online?fbclid=IwAR2897HpAQ5h9NiZPnN7BoT-1TQ0gfcv2arLRxKbXfmrtdug2UjEeoKXlYY At the bottom of the page they say this: "Due to currently unreleased rights, some of these broadcasts are geo-blocked for some territories. The Paris Opera is working on enlarging its broadcasting area." I also can't find a link to donate to POB, has anyone found one yet? If so could you post it, thanks
  7. Paris Opera & Ballet will be screening various operas and ballets in the coming weeks. If I understand correctly available via www.operadeparis.fr https://www.lefigaro.fr/musique/l-opera-de-paris-met-en-ligne-gratuitement-ses-spectacles-pendant-le-confinement-20200316?fbclid=IwAR1g9tgzOGTs8qnxrrnb_tsfVOFfL-yDXGHTC0dFVqgmGKaQkf1r4VlJPq0
  8. Somewhat reduced due to 45 days of strike action ... Nice to see the Ashton ... 22/09/2020 Gala: Défilé/ Shechter/Robbins/Pite The Art of Not Looking Back/In the Night / Seasons’ canon 25/09-17/10/2020 Shechter/Robbins/Pite - The Art of Not Looking Back/In the Night / Seasons’ canon 27/10-14/11/2020 Cherkaoui/Eyal/Ashton – Sheherezade(New Work)/Après-midi d’un faune(New Work)/Rhapsody 4/12/2020-01/01/2021 Kylián - Petite Mort/Doux mensonges/Stepping Stones/Sechs Tänze 10/12/2020-02/01/2021 La Bayadere (Nureyev version) 4-27/02/2021 Ohad Naharin - Sadeh 21 9/03-16/04/2021 Angelin Preljocaj Le Parc (instead of new work Le Rouge et le Noir) 29/03-7/05/2021 Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris 30/05-26/06/2021 Roland Petit - Le Jeune Homme et La Mort/Carmen/Le Rendez-vous 9-30/06/2021 Romeo and Juliet (Nureyev version)
  9. After nearly two months of strikes, Paris Opera Ballet returned to the stage at last with Giselle on Saturday. And what an evening it was! Firstly, I should explain that although we had excellent seats seven rows from the front of the stalls, two extremely large (tall and wide) people came and sat in front of us restricting the view of my six foot partner, let alone short dumpy me. This meant that all I could see for the whole evening was the right and left sides of the stage but nothing in the middle! It wasn’t a fault of the rake, nor the large people who after all didn’t choose their exceptional size, but it did mean I missed a lot of the action. So bear that in mind when reading my review. Before the performance began there was a speech from the Union, which elicited a rowdy response from the spectators with some clapping support whilst others booed loudly. However after this the audience behaved itself very well . The ballet-starved attendees seemed to be mainly French, with a good number of well-dressed and well-behaved children in spite of the late hour. In fact I witnessed none of the poor behaviour we have recently discussed on another thread, and the audience showed their sophistication by applauding appropriately throughout but not (as annoys me at other venues) when the star dancers appear, before having even danced one step, and not after every little solo. (Having said that I plead guilty to what I am criticising in the case of Zakharova, and a couple of others, so I’m a hypocrite.) The dancing was superb. Honestly, I could not fault either the étoiles nor the corps who were very ‘together’ and homogeneous. Giselle (Léonore Baulac) was delightfully pretty and seemed full of joy at being back on stage. At first I found her interpretation a little too ‘cute and playful’ – I always feel terribly sad and serious throughout the whole of Giselle, whereas the first act in Paris had a feeling of light-hearted jollity. However once she came to the mad scene she was more convincing than any other dancer I’ve seen in the role. She seemed to age visibly as you watched (an effect of sudden grief I have noticed in real life) and her movements were so authentic that it was difficult to imagine this was the sweet young girl who had been dancing so merrily just minutes before. Kudos to Baulac for such a powerful transformation. I realised at that point that she had emphasised the innocent charm earlier in order that the contrast be as dramatic as possible. Germain Louvet danced Albrecht – the embodiment of stylish, entitled aristocracy, he entered with a great flourish and long run from the back of the spacious stage, his cloak flowing out dramatically behind him. He was a splendid dancer, and I especially appreciated his perfect entrechats (which I have noticed some other male dancers closer to home cheating on a little). Hilarion’s appearance was a bit of a shock to me. He was a stocky-looking man with an oversized, shiny bald head, and was almost comic in his portrayal. It was all too clear why Giselle would prefer Albrecht. However when I looked at the programme I found that the dancer (François Alu) is actually a good-looking chap with a full head of dark curly hair so obviously this portrayal was intended, but it did somewhat remove sympathy for the man who is the real victim of this tragic tale. Myrthe was danced with suitable menace by Hannah O’Neill – in spite of her name she looked Japanese to me, and was a rare exception to most of the dancers who were French-born and trained. The scenery and lighting were exceptional; for example, during the mime scene where Berthe warns Giselle about the Willis, it is as though the sun goes temporarily behind a cloud and an unnerving atmosphere washes over the stage, sending a shiver down one’s spine. Then, of course, there are the stupendous surroundings of Palais Garnier itself – the statuary, the all-pervading layers of gold leaf, the multiple painted ceilings, the chandeliers… although I have visited many times it never ceases to take my breath away. You could say that our Royal Opera House looks, in comparison, like a minimalist Scandinavian interior. I love both buildings in their different ways.
  10. Long ago I planned a lovely long weekend in Paris to see Raymonda, Le Parc and the Ballet School. I am none the wiser in respect of these performances as having negotiated a seat on a train not cancelled by Eurostar I arrived in Paris to daily messages saying my booked performances were cancelled. Cancellations are only announced on the day itself as the strikers have until a few hours before curtain up to declare themselves. The public transport strike is said to be rolling up until Christmas with a risk that performances will continue to be cancelled. Notwithstanding my disappointment re the above, Paris is brimming with things to do and wandering around is awesome at this time of year. It really is a City of Light and the French know how to do Christmas 🎄🎄🎄
  11. When Paris Opera Ballet announced that the 19/20 season would include a new choreography by Crystal Pite, I thought JJJ. Exhilaration subsequently turned into hesitation when the company’s web site showed a planned duration of just 60 minutes plus interval for this new piece (it turned out to be around 90-100 minutes including interval) as I thought, well, not really, given Paris prices for tickets and travel … Things changed for the better when Bejart Ballet Lausanne announced that they’d perform Ballet for Life in Paris at the end of October. Adding a few temporary exhibitions, and there it was, a two-day trip to Paris, packed with cultural activities. Paris Opera Ballet with Crystal Pite’s Body and Soul on Wednesday night. Both The New York Times and the Financial Times had published their reviews before I was heading to the Opera House on Wednesday and neither of them were particularly jubilant. I’ve taken a more positive stance on the work. Key to the work is a text that Crystal Pite had written herself and that is read by Marina Hands. The text features in all three parts of Body and Soul. It describes what is happening on stage e.g., steps taken (“gauche droite gauche droite gauche”), parts of the body that are touched (“touchant son front, son menton, sa poitrine”) or moved (“bouge les epaules, la tete, les pieds; se retourne de nouveau”), interaction and fight between figure 1 and figure 2. Figures 1/ 2 can both be performed by individuals, by an individual interacting with a group of dancers, or by groups interacting with each other. The same text is read to combative situations, to tender encounters and to a woman grieving over a man’s dead body. And so Body and Soul refers to the range of relationships from love and harmony to conflict and grief between individuals, between individuals and groups as well as between body and soul within an individual. Part 1 starts with the text read out in a neutral, descriptive manner to a combative situation between two men. Later on, the same text is applied to a much more tender encounter between a man and a woman. The ensemble forms a wave that crashes against a shoreline and that increases in intensity, together with rising chants that reminded me of a sports event with clashing fan groups. Conflict emerges from within the wave, and Part 1 ends with the text being spoken with audible empathy to a woman’s grief over a dead man’s body – this time, the touching of front, chin, chest, etc. is not on the figure's own body but on the body of the deceased man i.e., the other figure. Part 2 to Chopin’s Preludes with a series of PDD and dancers in groups. Some of the movements that featured in Part 1 reappear (e.g., figure 1 on the ground, stretching out his hand to figure 2 but without establishing physical contact; a figure turning and manipulating the head of the other figure). The scenography then changes to what reminded me of a crypt. The text is spoken again, and this time the grieving woman touches the floor rather than the deceased man’s body as the body is not there anymore and yet she is still in the midst of her grieving process. The grieving woman and the dead man are performed by Muriel Zusperreguy and Alessio Carbone. I’ve read somewhere that they will both retire at the end of the run of Body and Soul, and I so I think their roles in Body and Soul are particularly fitting. Costumes for part 1 and 2 are identical for man and women – black trousers, white shirts with white vests underneath, black ties, long black coats (coats, ties and shirts are then taken off). The voice refers to figure 1 and figure 2 as only names of those on stage. So everyone looks the same, everyone is called almost the same. This creates a sense of anonymity and universality of the content of Body and Soul in my view. Change in scenography and costumes for Part 3. Dancers look like insects with their shiny black body suits and black face masks, arms extended with what looks like a sting, women now on pointe. Tall structures have been lowered down from the top, reminiscent of a forest or of cave-like areas underground that the insects inhabit. The insects move in groups of different sizes, then the female insects threaten the male insects. A figure with hair falling down to his waist appears – my initial thought was that this was showing events during the Stone Age but I now think the figure with the long hair is a “king insect” just as bees come with a queen bee. The insects continue to dance, the voice over can be heard again but in a much fragmented way. Teddy Geiger’s Body and Soul is played, and everyone – male and female insects and the figure with the long hair start to dance; this was rhythmic, uplifting, fun, inducing head bobbing on my part. Having since read the lyrics for Geiger’s song, I think it goes way beyond rhythm and fun though e.g. "All that I want is a piece of your heart. Your body and soul, body and soul". So the insects experience the same range of emotional situations in relationships, emphasising the universality and ubiquity of the content of Pite's new work in my view. Most of the 10+ reviews of Body and Soul that I’ve read are mixed (positive exceptions being Le Figaro and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung) but I found it fascinating to see how what was shown on stage has been interpreted differently by different reviewers. To give a couple of examples the costumes – city wear or military clothing? The figure with the long hair in part 3: part human/ part animal, a figure from a sci-fi work or a figure from the Barbapapas? The ensemble moving as wave a hint of current street protests? I’ve taken this as yet another sign of the universality of what was shown on stage and that, depending on the social context that a viewer is in or applies to the work, Body and Soul allows itself to be read everywhere and at anytime, and this makes Pite’s newest work even more fascinating in my opinion. I don’t know how many visitors from abroad who don’t speak French go to performances of POB but as the programme came – as usual - with a 2-page overview of the piece in English, I guess it will be a fair few. Based on this, I think the text that was the basis for Pite’s new work should have been included in the programme in English, too, or even better, featured in the cast sheet which is handed out to all spectators, whether they buy a programme or not. Links to two reviews that include short video extracts of Body and Soul https://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/decouvrez-la-creation-mondiale-de-crystal-pite-a-l-opera-de-paris-20191028 https://mobile.francetvinfo.fr/culture/spectacles/danse/danse-a-la-rencontre-de-la-choregraphe-crystal-pite_3676669.html Ballet Bejart Lausanne with Maurice Bejart’s Ballet for Life on Thursday evening. This piece had been on my wish list for some time. An homage to life, to Freddie Mercury, to The Queen, to Jorge Donn. Musical, immensely creative, eclectic, wondrous, at times surreal, some poses that are reminiscent of The Queen, some laughing, some shouting. Marvellous costumes by Versace, including a black unitard resembling a costume that Freddie Mercury had worn, bathing costumes for Seaside Rendez-vous, more formal dresses for one of the Mozart interludes, a pair of tights featuring the Union Jack for one of the songs, etc. The penultimate song came with a number of videos with Jorge Donn, including how he arranged huge white cloths in the form of a cross on a studio floor. This was when I got the significance of the white sheets that the dancers lie beneath at the start, which they then handle in the first and the last songs, and which they cover themselves with at the very end of the last song. It is always a joy to see Julien Favreau and Elisabeth Ros perform live but the dancer that stays in my mind from Thursday’s performance is Gabriel Arenas Ruiz with his two substantial rather balletic solos to Mozart’s Thamos Overture & Masonic Music – bravo. I loved the way the curtain calls were handled – Gil Roman inviting dancers to come on stage one by one/ in twos/ in threes, and then hugging/ greeting/ bowing to each of them. I just wish their programme booklets were cheaper, this one cost 20 EUR L A few words about some of the exhibitions that I went to. Da Vinci at The Louvre - no surprise that the exhibition space was busy but it seems to me that ticket sales have been somewhat slower so far than for the Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery in 2011, relatively speaking. 170+ exhibits; I was particularly impressed by the mathematical and scientific investigations on display. For anyone who plans to see the works – entry is by timed ticket only; the ticket then gives access to the Louvre for the remainder of the day. El Greco at the Grand Palais – I thought I’d seen a fair few works by El Greco in the past but this exhibition included lots of items that were new to me as they stemmed from museums and collectors in the US. Definitely worth seeing for lovers of El Greco’s works. There is also – among many others – an exhibition with works by Degas at the Musee d’Orsay Degas at the Opera that prs59 referred to in a post in another thread, and that I didn’t go to. Putting my legs up now after lots of walking through Paris over the last few days.
  12. Below a first set of announcements for the 17/18 season at various companies and venues in France. Bordeaux will announce their 17/18 season on 22 May; Ballet Nice Mediterranee, Mandalain Ballet, Ballet Preljocaj & others tbc. Feel free to add others. Theatre des Champs Elysees, Paris http://2018.theatrechampselysees.fr/saison/danse We’ve already known from toursenlair for some time that the National Ballet of Canada will perform Nijinsky in October. Further companies and works: St Petersburg Ballet Theatre (Swan Lake, Paquita, Chopiniana), LA Dance Project, a programme in honour of Ingmar Bergman, Tanztheater Wuppertal, and others Theatre Chaillot, Paris http://theatre-chaillot.fr/la-saison-2017-2018 Boris Charmatz, a flamenco festival, Angelin Preljocaj (La Fresque), a festival with dance from Scandinavia, Alonzo King, CNDC d’Angers with a Cunningham triple bill, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo (Le Songe), a number of contemporary works Theatre de la ville, Paris http://www.theatredelaville-paris.com/ Various works by Jerome Bel, a new work by Maguy Marin, a double bill by Shechter II, 2 triple bills with the Ballet de l’Opera de Lyon, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Taiwan, and a number of contemporary works Ballet de l’Opera de Paris https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-17-18/ballet Already known, so here just for completeness Maison de la danse, Lyon http://www.maisondeladanse.com/programmation-2017-2018 Alonzo King, Ailey II, Yacobson Ballet (Sleeping Beauty), Maguy Marin, de Keersmaeker (Rain), Sao Paulo Dance Company (a triple bill with works by Goecke/Oliveira/Scholz), and a long list of contemporary artists Ballet de l’Opera de Lyon http://www.opera-lyon.com/page/saison-17-18 Forsythe/Brown/Bel (The second detail, Set and reset/reset, a new work), Kylian (East shadow), Roland Petit (L’Arlesienne, Carmen), Maliphant/Millepied/Forsythe (Critical mass, Sarabande, Steptext), Inger/ Kylian (A new work, Petite More, No more play) Opera national du Rhin, Strasbourg/ Mulhouse/ Colmar http://www.operanationaldurhin.eu/danse-2017-2018.html Mario Schroeder’s Chaplin, various triple bills e.g., with Forsythe/ Kylian/ Scholz, and a ballet for children based on Sleeping Beauty Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse http://www.theatreducapitole.fr/1/saison-2017-2018/saison-2017-2018-2373.html?lang=fr Belarbi’s Giselle, Belarbi’s Nutcracker, a double bill with works by Bombana and Bigonzetti, a triple bill with works by Roland Petit (Les Forains, L’Arlesienne, Carmen) Ballet de Marseille http://www.ballet-de-marseille.com/fr/calendrier Choreographies by Greco and Scholten
  13. Paris Opera Ballet: Thanks, Bruce! I'm not sure what the geographic spread of these outside France is, but thought we should record it anyway.
  14. Has anyone’s child been to the Paris Opera Ballet summer intensive before? I’m wondering what a typical daily schedule looks like?
  15. 20 sept Opening gala 23 sept - 15 oct: Hiroshi Sugimoto/Alessio Silvestrin : At the Hawk's Well; Forsythe Blake Works 26oct - 17 nov: New Crystal Pite (60 segments in 60 minutes) 3-31 Dec: Raymonda 9-31 Dec: Le Parc (Preljocaj) 31 Jan - 15 feb: Giselle 3 - 22 feb: Concerto Barocco, 4 Temperaments. Serenade 25-30 March: POB School Coppelia (Lacotte) 14 april - 8 May: New Alan Lucien Oyen 12-30 May Mayerling 4-7 JUne Nederlands Dans Theater 26 June - 14 July Play (Ekman)
  16. For those with access to Arte, the performance of Cinderella by Paris Opera Ballet on 31st December 2018 will be streamed from 22h15 (French time) onwards. The POB site for Cinderella https://www.operadeparis.fr/saison-18-19/ballet/cendrillon states that the streaming will come with a slight delay compared to the live performance at the Opera Bastille (scroll down to the bottom of the page). According to the French site Danses avec la plume https://www.dansesaveclaplume.com/en-coulisse/1040649-adieux-a-la-scene-de-karl-paquette-le-31-decembre/, it will be the final act of Cinderella together with the farewell to Karl Paquette that will be shown, on Arte and on the POB web site (for those who read French, this article also provides a beautiful homage to Karl Paquette). An article in Le Figaro http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/2018/10/26/03004-20181026ARTFIG00266-opera-de-paris-le-danseur-etoile-karl-paquette-tire-sa-reverence.php also mentions Arte and the POB web site for the streaming of the 3rd act … and for a gala to celebrate the opera’s 350th anniversary. Three sources, three different items of information unless I've missed or misread something. I presume things will become clearer nearer the time.
  17. I have just spotted a tweet advising people intending to attend performances on Saturday 8 December at the Paris Opera. Presumably they are considering cancelling performances due to the planned demonstrations by les gilets jaunes. They haven't bothered emailing me to warn me that my matinee seat at the Bastille (for Nureyev's Cinderella) is in jeopardy. The news reports have focused on trouble near the Arc de Triomphe, some distance away, although the Bastille area can attract demonstrations because of its role in the French Revolution.
  18. Le Figaro published an article on 15 April 2018 containing the results of the a survey carried out among the POB company. The article is behind a pay-wall, but it has been summarised in an on-line ballet press round-up in France: https://www.dansesaveclaplume.com/hors-scene/584214-revue-de-presse-dansee-s17-18-ep24/ It appears that almost 77% of dancers who participated considered they had either been the victims of or had witnessed episodes of moral harassment (I think this is probably "bullying") and 26% considered that they had been the victims of sexual harassment. 87% considered that the complaints process at the POB was inadequate. The article apparently makes uncomfortable reading for Aurelie Dupont, the director of the company, whose choice of repertoire has already been heavily criticised for its emphasis on modern dance at the expense of the company's classical heritage. Indeed, there is an on-line petition against the 2018-19 repertoire. Interestingly, on the same day the Figaro also published an article about the Paris Opera Ballet School, in which complaints were made by students about the focus on teaching only classical technique which leaves dancers ill-equipt - they believe - to then make the transition to the company's modern repertoire, and also renders them unable to perform for 3 months or more as they try to acquire the necessary skills to dance the company's modern works. The publication of this article has coincided with Elisabeth Platel, the director of the School, being on medical leave. It would be interesting to have the opportunity to read both articles in full, but it seems - at first blush - that these may be the precursors of a larger battle to come.
  19. To my astonishment I was given a set of earplugs at the Paris Opera Ballet mixed programme, prior to Schechter's piece, The art of not looking back. (The message on the plastic cover said, in French, 'So that the music remains a pleasure"). Has anyone been given ear plugs at the ballet before? Unfortunately the ear plugs didn't prevent someone in the central stalls being seriously incapacitated during the piece. Like the music, the choreography was often dark and aggressive, and contained words blaming his mother for leaving him. Danced by nine women it contrasted utterly with a ballet by another angry man, Robbins, for eight female dancers, which I had seen just three weeks before at the Robbins festival. Antique Epigraphs is brightly lit, has varied pastel coloured costumes, is joyous and serene, to lovely music by Debussy. The programme opens with a site specific work by the circus artist, Thierree, with a wide selection of POB dancers slithering about the steps and locations of the Garnier dressed as mystic creatures. The third item is The Male Dancer by Ivan Perez, to music by Part, for 10 males, including etoiles, all in extravagant costumes. The solos include references to L'Apres-midi d'un faune and Le spectre de la rose. The final piece, my reason for doing a day trip to Paris, was Crystal Pite's The Seasons' Canon to Max Richter's version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons (which is also the music Kenneth Tindall is creating his new ballet on), as impressive and moving as ever. This programme was filmed last week and will be available to watch on line for several weeks. The music is all recorded.
  20. I was delighted with POB's performance of Don Quixote last night, but imagine my delight when after the show Aurelie Dupont came on stage to promote Valentine Colasante to Etoile!! Valentine had just danced a fantastic Kitri with some amazing long balances so I was already impressed but so must the boss have been!! It was quite something to see. As I am currently still on the hoof my best photos of the occasion will have to wait but hopefully this gives you an idea. https://mobile.twitter.com/Scarfie1/status/949423935862575104/photo/1
  21. The anniversary performances of Jewels started in New York last night. If anyone has been please post your thoughts! In the meantime this lovely film from the curtain call has appeared on You Tube via Twitter. Enjoy. Http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4LL8rdTsQzg
  22. Emmanuel Thibault is retiring from the Paris Opera Ballet. I vividly remember watching Paquita at the Garnier, my companion was seeing Thibault dance for the first time, he was so excited at what he saw, he nearly went over the parapet. He is, unsurprisingly, a huge admirer of Lopatin too. Thibault had an army of admirers, his first leading role was in Don Q., conveniently a matinee, that had fans from across Europe congregating in Paris for the event, Clement Crisp and John Percival were sitting together in the front row of the stalls. The atmosphere was very special and the POB students chanted his name 'Manu!, Manu! at the curtain calls. I had hoped that reception would have made the POB management reconsider his position within the company but it wasn't to be. Apart from Don Q. his only other lead role was Colas in Ashton's Fille and unsurprisingly he was the best in the role I've ever seen. I sincerely hope he gets an opportunity to pass on his skills to the next generation.
  23. Brigitte Lefèvre organised a number of – I understand informal – choreographic events for the company’s dancers when she was at the helm of POB. Benjamin Millepied changed this into something more formal and set up a Choreographer’s Academy, with Sébastien Bertaud, Simon Valastro, Bruno Bouché and Nicolas Paul – all dancers with POB – participating, and with William Forsythe as – then – mentor (I’ve read somewhere that Aurélie Dupont has since put the Academy on standby, and I can’t see any choreographic events scheduled for next season at all). The mixed programme at Palais Garnier last week presented the results of the Academy’s work. I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon. The four dancers all started to produce their first choreographies some 10 to 15 years ago, though I hadn’t previously heard of any choreographies by Valastro or Paul. Bertaud’s Renaissance for 15 dancers was undoubtedly the piece that received by far the most press coverage before the opening night, due to the designs by Olivier Rousteing/ Balmain. The costumes looked sparkly in the pictures and even more so on stage, reflecting the strong lights. The choreography to Mendelssohn’s 2nd Violin Concerto was vivid and fluid, alternating corps, PDD and small groups. Some movements gave a hint of a story (a dancer running to the side of the stage, pausing, his hand on his front as if thinking about something, and running back into the centre of the stage; also some of the PDD), other elements were purely abstract. While I thought at times that, given the passionate music, a stronger narrative element would have been great, the work was just beautiful to look at. The uncontested star of the performance and indeed of the whole programme for me was Pablo Legasa (Coryphée), who stepped in for Mathias Heymann the day of the opening night, and thus danced his corps role plus the role created on Mathias Heymann with its many intricate and incredibly fast solos. And dear me, he delivered! With astonishing fluidity, assuredness, precision and an immensely visible joy of performing. In one of these allegro solos, following a fast section, he took his leg into a high developé à la seconde (with the leg at say, 10 o’clock) on demi pointe, and then he held that position for a second or two or three, all while smiling exuberantly … followed by the next fast section of that solo. I fell in love with his dancing rather helplessly! Great also to see Joseph Aumeer on stage in a corps role that put him centre stage. Simon Valastro’s Little match girl Passion (Passion with a capital “P”) is based on Andersen’s story and uses David Lang’s music. This is a multisensorial work – live Passion-like music in the orchestra pit, 4 singers – one singer wears a soutane, the others are dressed in black from head to toe, they start in the pit, then walk onto the stage where they walk around to sing and tell the story, they hold and comfort the little match girl (Eleonora Abbagnato, superb) on her deathbed, they end the piece back in the pit. I sensed that the singing was the driving force and the dancing was shaping out its content. I guess I will have read the story as a child but had forgotten its bitter end, and I found the piece incredibly emotional. If Pablo Legasa in Renaissance was the star performer of the programme for me, Simon Valastro’s choreography achieved this for me in its story telling cum choreography, and I would love to see more of him as choreographer. Bouché’s Undoing world is about refugees; to quote from the programme book, “seeking out rare halos of resistance in a society torn between chaos and survival”. Dancers use golden rescue sheets to highlight their plight, and they dance simple steps in circular groups as a means of calm and resistance. While there were elements of the choreography that went beyond me, I found the group sections very effective. Paul’s Seven and a half metres above the mountains uses Renaissance music and, based on the programme book, refers to “submersion in all its forms”. Dancers in everyday clothes walk up the stairs from the orchestra pit onto the stage and then towards the back of the stage, where they disappear, just to walk up the stairs again, etc., creating an endless and possibly hypnotising flow of such movements. Some dancers walk towards the centre of the stage where they perform contemporary solos, duos and trios, while other dancers continue to walk past them. A number of comments on social media praised this work very highly, so, clearly, I will have missed something there (as I really didn’t get it). It’s a pity the work of the Academy is not continued as it not only gives dancers the opportunity to present and further explore their choreographic talents on the main stage; it also gives some of the more junior dancers who may not be in a featured role that often the chance to shine more prominently. I understand that with new works, the duration of the programme may be difficult to tell upfront. In this case however, something clearly went wrong. The programme was shown – up until the last performance – as 1 hour 50 minutes in duration. It took in fact 3 hours, and I understand the first night even went beyond that. I normally travel back the evening of a matinee performance which allows for a performance of up to around 2 hours 40 minutes in duration; the only reason why I was staying in Paris until Monday this time was because the train fare was so much lower on Monday that the savings even outweighed the costs of a cheap hotel on Sunday night. Lucky me that I did as I would have otherwise had to leave during the – one – interval. Who knows, though, how many others will have been affected. The first four minutes of the video in the following link show short extracts of the four choreographies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6Hog0RQaJI.
  24. A collation of announcements of the forthcoming 2016/17 season at various companies in France. Please feel free to add others to the list. Théâtre du Capitole (Toulouse) http://www.theatreducapitole.fr/1/saison-2016-2017/saison-2016-2017-2093.html?lang=fr A million kisses to my skin by David Dawson. Kader Belarbi’s version of Don Quixote. Etc. Ballet Nice Méditerranée http://www.opera-nice.org/fr/calendrier# Jiri Kylian’s Sinfonietta. Liam Scarlett’s Vespertine, created for Norwegian Ballet. A new Firebird. Eric Vu-An’s version of Don Quixote. Etc. Opéra National du Rhin (Strasbourg, Colmar, Mulhouse) http://www.operanationaldurhin.eu/en--dance.html A full-length narrative ballet by Uwe Scholz that was created for Zuerich Ballet. A number of modern creations. Opéra de Lyon http://www.opera-lyon.com/spectacles/danse Various ballets by Jiri Kylian, et al. Paris Opera Ballet – this link was shared and discussed previously as part of another thread and has been added here for ease of reference https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-16-17/ballet
  25. Paris Opera Ballet and The Bolshoi are to collaborate with New York City Ballet in 5 performances next summer, 20-23 July 2017, to celebrate 50 years of Balanchine's trilogy Jewels. POB will dance Emeralds, NYCB Rubies and the Bolshoi Diamonds. Later in the run NYCB and the Bolshoi will swap. Each company will use it's own costumes, so Lacroix for POB, Karinska for NYCB and Zaitseva for The Bolshoi. Should be a fantastic treat to see this!! http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/arts/dance/celebrating-balanchines-jewels-with-an-international-flair.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&smtyp=cur
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