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Paris Opera Ballet: Raymonda, Le Parc and Demonstations de l’Ecole de Danse


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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 🎄🎄🎄

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I was supposed to be at the POB Raymonda tonight ... Indeed I was supposed to be teaching right now in Paris.  However both of my Eurostars (Sunday and Tuesday) were in the end cancelled ... and I assume the POB performance will be as well.  (To be fair the POB are already allowing you 'to apply for a refund'.)   There hasn't been a single performance at either the Garnier or Bastille for the past week.  So sad.  The cost must be monumental.   My heart goes out to the Parisians as much as to those who have to struggle with SouthWest Trains in this country.  

 

I wouldn't want to hazard the size of the rise of any of those organisations' next insurance premiums. 

 

Happy New Year!

 

PS:  Guess that cinema ticket I bought for Romeo and Juliet Beyond Words for early this evening won't go to waste as I thought it would when no one bit when I posted it on the Forum.  Seems at least it alone worked out in this particular wash - for which I am sincerely appreciative.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Just heard that the 2nd and 3rd (final) repeat days of the ballet school demonstrations (21st and 22nd December) are also cancelled.... Of course there are important issues at stake that affect the students' futures -  but what a pity that they are not yet resolved, and that the amazing annual demonstrations, which play such an important part in the life of the school, probably won't take place this year... 

Edited by Yaffa
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12 minutes ago, Jane S said:

Muntagirov must be biting his nails - isn't it on Sunday that he's due to make his debut as Jean de Brienne?

 

Yes.

The problem for would-be audiences is that cancellations are mainly only announced on the day. There are many people from the UK, Europe and Japan who have booked transport and accommodation as well as tickets to see Muntagirov dance in Nureyev's Paris Raymonda and all are left in a quandary or with significant financial loss looming.

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Yes, Muntagirov is scheduled for the 22nd. BUT it looks extremely unlikely: the current version of the rolling warning of possible cancellations issued by the Opera runs through that date, and they’ve stopped selling tickets for the performance.

I had originally booked for 6 & 19 December, but when I read about the forthcoming “unlimited” strike to begin on 5 December,  I switched my first ticket from the 6th to the 3rd, and am very glad to have done so! I feel very lucky to have been able to see that performance.

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1 hour ago, jmhopton said:

Does anyone know if Vadim danced today? 

 

 

The  following was posted by 'Ballerina' on the French ballet website, Dansomanie, on Christmas Eve:

"Et bien tout est annulé jusqu'au 26 inclus."

everything is cancelled up to and including the 26th.

 

Edited to add that I've just found the official announcement: 

https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/message-to-spectators-december-2019

(scroll down to find the announcements for the 25th)

Edited by Bluebird
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https://www.facebook.com/maxime.thomas.18/posts/10219321333440537

Open Letter from the Dancers of the Paris Opera

(English translation – unofficial)

 

Whether at Opéra Garnier or at Bastille as you have doubtless heard, there have been no performances for several weeks now, further to measures contemplated by the State that involve doing away with our pension arrangements.

In order to make our position clear, we, the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet, in concert with our Institution’s other trades, have decided to issue this communiqué.

Our dancers and the Opera’s orchestra, assisted by our technicians and machine-operators, are presenting a passage from The Swan Lake on the steps of the Opéra Garnier, as witness to our shared intention to defend an Institution which belongs to every Frenchman’s cultural heritage.

“Dear Friends,

The very reason we have joined the Opéra National de Paris, a centuries-old institution, is because we love to perform for you.  For years now, most of us have been devoting our full energies to a single shared purpose:  giving the best of ourselves on stage every night.

We must ask you to understand that before we reached the point of cancelling so many shows, we had got to the very end of our tether.

Doing away with our specific pension arrangements, that stand for unity between all generations and all our 70 different trades, so as to forcibly cram us into other arrangements that simply do not fit, would be the final blow to what is already a perilous equilibrium of our working collective.

Our representatives have attended every meeting, analysed every idea and put forward many, and varied, proposals.

We regret to say that what has been placed before us today, would render it impossible to safeguard the standards of excellence and professionalism that lie at the core of this Institution’s identity.

Insofar as the Ballet is concerned, this profession is extremely taxing and requires utter dedication from childhood on.  The pension we draw at 42 years of age, when totted up with the generally-slight remuneration we will be drawing at the second stage of our working life, simply enables us – with a good bit of luck – to retain a more-or-less stable living standard once we can no longer dance.

The shake-up now under consideration would wreck not only the Ballet, but the Ballet School as well.

[The Government] has offered to allow us, on a strictly personal basis, to slip through the net of these new measures, which would then apply solely to the coming generations.  As it happens, however, we are but a tiny link in a chain that stretches back over 350 years.  That chain must extend far head into the future, nor do we intend to be the generation that will allow our successors to be sacrificed.  Even with the best will in the world, we cannot go along with such demands.

Just as we cannot accept this for the future generations [of dancers], we cannot accept it for our colleagues in the Institution’s other departments, of which each has specifics that must be taken into account, if the rigour which characterises their work is to be maintained.  The Opéra is a Theatre, and our performances are but the fruit of effort invested by every one of its trades.

Greatly saddened as we are by this state of affairs, and by having to turn away from our doors the Holiday public, we wish to bear witness to the camaraderie linking every trade, every generation, within this Great Institution, and are therefore resolved to give you a brief performance as a symbol, a message and an appeal to defend our Ballet, our Institution and the cultural heritage of this Country.

 

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9 hours ago, jmhopton said:

Does anyone know if Vadim danced today and if so, how it went? 

Also is this his debut both in a full length Raymonda and with POB? 


Yes, to your latter two questions.

 

Unfortunately, it is looking as though poor Vadim will not be making his debut there. I can’t see the situation changing any time soon. Although I hope for his sake there is a last minute change of heart, but even if there is will they all be rehearsed enough?

 

So sad for him. We were due to travel to see his performance on the 22nd (a nice pre-Christmas treat), but we had to bail out at the last minute. We were disappointed - how much worse for him 🙁.

Edited by Balletfanp
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Tickets were on sale earlier today for the 27th, 28th and 29th December but all three performances are showing as unavailable now. This might be a coincidence but it doesn't look hopeful.

The POB has a day off today, apparently, so one has to wonder how 'ready' the Company would be to perform before Monday.

I have now changed my Eurostar  and hotel bookings 6 times and all would-be travellers will have lost a lot of money. Some have flown from as far afield as Japan specially for Raymonda.

I do understand what the dancers are saying (above and elsewhere) but the situation must be extremely hard for Vadim who, according to social media, has been backwards and forwards to Paris to rehearse and will soon have been there for a week with no performances. [BTW @JMHopton, he debuted with POB in Giselle some years ago.]

Edited by capybara
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Thanks to everyone who replied to my queries. My heart goes out to those ballet enthusiasts who must have spent so much time and effort to see Vadim's Raymonda debut. How much more frustrating must it be it for him if he's been in Paris all this time waiting to dance. I'm sure there are far worst places to spend Christmas but very stressful not knowing whether or not you're going to dance and how well prepared can you be to make a debut in these sorts of conditions? I hope in a way his performance at the end of Dec is cancelled as I'm sure he must not feel properly prepared for it and he won't want to debut a role in these conditions. It is a shame for the dancers too with their pensions problems. Difficult to know how it will be resolved.

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The entire situation inside/outside/all around the Paris opera houses/theatres has been a massive muddle for everyone.  As much as I feel for the travellers - and I, myself, was one caught up in this - my heart substantially goes out to those working Parisians who have been unable to escape from the unrelenting and painful penalties wrought as a result of these industrial actions.  Happy holidays indeed.  Moreover they will be living with the remnants of the current costs for quite some time to come I fear.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Political debate is doubtless undesirable on this forum.  Accordingly, those who may not share Mr.  Wall's views as to the inappropriateness of the aforesaid industrial action might wish to follow the 'Raymonda' thread on the website "Dansomanie".  Intensely political, that thread can be perused here,

http://www.forum-dansomanie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8163&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=390

 

Again, I took the trouble of translating the dancer's Open Letter in order that their actual position be known rather than speculated about, the critical lines being,

 

"[The Government] has offered to allow us, on a strictly personal basis, to slip through the net of these new measures, which would then apply solely to the coming generations.  As it happens, however, we are but a tiny link in a chain that stretches back over 350 years.  That chain must extend far head into the future, nor do we intend to be the generation that will allow our successors to be sacrificed.  Even with the best will in the world, we cannot go along with such demands.

 

Just as we cannot accept this for the future generations [of dancers], we cannot accept it for our colleagues in the Institution’s other departments, of which each has specifics that must be taken into account, if the rigour which characterises their work is to be maintained.  The Opéra is a Theatre, and our performances are but the fruit of effort invested by every one of its trades."

 

When the "entertainers", admired and in some cases, worshipped, from afar, step from their pedestal to intervene into day-to-day reality, should one cease to admire them because they have, for a little while, ceased to "entertain"?

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1 hour ago, katharine kanter said:

Political debate is doubtless undesirable on this forum.  Accordingly, those who may not share Mr.  Wall's views as to the inappropriateness of the aforesaid industrial action

In fairness, Bruce hasn't made any comments about the appropriateness of the strike;  he has just commented on how disruptive it is.

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