Tag Archives: Paris Opera Ballet

The Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

f we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber’d here. While these visions did appearA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Scene 7

Stunningly danced the latest screening of the Palace Opera and Ballet season is the Paris Opera Ballet’s presentation of Balanchine’s A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM in two acts and six scenes .It is the first time the Paris Opera Ballet has performed this particular Balanchine work , one of Balanchine’s few narrative ballets .

Created in 1961 it features the marvellous music by Mendelssohn and uses a luscious reworking of the original Karinska costumes by fashion icon Christian Lacroix. Continue reading The Paris Opera Ballet in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

PARIS OPERA BALLET MAGNIFICENT REVIVAL OF NUREYEV’S ‘SWAN LAKE’

If you want to see pure, dazzling, practically perfect classical ballet technique danced superbly then this screening is for you.

The Paris Opera Ballet’s revival of  Nureyev’s SWAN LAKE is superb. The production choreographed by Nureyev was first presented at the Paris Opera Ballet in 1984 and previously last seen in 2011.  This screening was of the performance that took place at the Opera Bastille in Paris on the 8th December 2016.

Nureyev’s rather Freudian version is presented as if it is the main characters Siegfried’s dying dream,  controlled by Wolfgang, his tutor, who in Siegfried’s mind becomes the mysterious, malevolent Rothbart. The orchestra, under maestro Vello Pahn, plays superbly .

For the scenes in the palace there are clean , elegant lines of doorways and for the lakeside ‘white’ scenes there is  a rather Turner like ominous landscape. Continue reading PARIS OPERA BALLET MAGNIFICENT REVIVAL OF NUREYEV’S ‘SWAN LAKE’

Paris Opera Ballet Presents L’Histoire de Manon

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Lush, lavish, opulent and very detailed with a huge cast, this is an extraordinarily powerful version of the MacMillan masterpiece, wonderfully performed by the Paris Opera Ballet with a Gallic flavour.

What makes this performance extra special is that it is the farewell performance by the amazing Aurelie Dupont. Dupont plays the part of  Manon and she is simply superb.

Technically the dancing, as one would expect from the Paris Opera Ballet, is outstanding, with fine ensemble work and dazzling displays by the leads. There is great attention paid to characterisation and the sumptuous, detailed costumes- set and costume design are by Nicholas Georgiadis- are magnificent. Just for example observe Madame X’s superb bronze coloured ‘Watteau – back‘ opulent dress. Mostly the Georgiadis designs are in russet, autumnal tones. Continue reading Paris Opera Ballet Presents L’Histoire de Manon

Paris Opera Ballet: Balanchine and Millepied

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As part of the current Palace Opera and Ballet season, we were privileged to see the Paris Opera Ballet perform a classic double bill, Balanchine’s 1947 ‘Palais de Cristal’ and a new version of Ravel’s ‘ Daphnis Chloe’ by Millepied (who will take over from Brigitte Lefèvre in November). Both were steeped in the essence of classical ballet but revealed to be rather abstract. The dancing was superb, but I was left a little disappointed.

Balanchine’s ‘Palais de Cristal’ to Bizet’s ‘Symphony in C ‘, was originally produced in 1947 for the Paris Opera Ballet, and is one of his works that is a homage to Petipa and his Imperial Russian roots .It hints at his major full length work ‘Jewels’, choreographed twenty years later. Technically the performance was superb. but it was plotless and very show , with no real emotion. The glittering ,lavish costumes were designed by Christian Lacroix .As in his ‘Jewels’ , Balanchine assigns each movement of this work a particular colour: Allegro in red, Adagio in dark blue, Allegro Vivace in green, the second Allegro in pearly white. These colours and the choreography attempt to illustrate and emphasise the music and its structure.

With four movements and a finale, the dancer’s technique is severely tested with difficult balances and changes of direction and also Balanchine’s trademark demand of the fiendish speed with which the dancers have to perform very technical academic sequences. It was all extremely formulaic and formalised. There is no ‘set’ as such just a plain beautifully lit backclcoth. A lot of the ballet was shot from above so you could see the lines and pattern effects of Balanchine’s very demanding choreography. Balanchine devised angular, off balance movements with a dynamic thrust yet simultaneously his style here is very controlled and metronomic , at times repetitive and definitely On The Beat. The work , slightly adapted , is now often known as ‘Symphony in C’. The orchestra under enthusiastic maestro Phillipe Jordan was splendid with an enchanting, warm tone.

Continue reading Paris Opera Ballet: Balanchine and Millepied

PARIS OPERA BALLET: SLEEPING BEAUTY

Bigger than Ben Hur, excessively opulent , sumptous and over rich , this version of ‘ La Belle Au Bois Dormant ‘ (Sleeping Beauty) first produced in 1989 for the Paris Opera Ballet by Nureyev is actually quite fascinating from a historical perspective – steeped in the history of the Imperial Russian Ballet of the 1890’s , one can just imagine it being seen by the Tsar and his entourage. ‘After’ Petipa indeed, full of dazzling demanding academic virtuosity.

Continue reading PARIS OPERA BALLET: SLEEPING BEAUTY

LA SYLPHIDE

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This is a ravishing, exquisite production by the world famous Paris Opera Ballet and features some of the most jaw-droppingly, impressive dancing I have seen in ages.

Direct from the company that premiered it in 1832 , here we have a revival of the Lacotte production from 2004. In this version we have Aurelie Dupont as the Sylph and Mathieu Ganio as James in this magnificent production that looks straight out of lithographs of the originals. You can see the Bournonville influence ( leading to the other , alternative version of this work ) and how it inspired the slightly later ‘Giselle’ ,( especially in the pas de deux for James and the Sylph ) both of which are now regarded as landmarks of Romantic ballet .Are there also hints of ’La Bayadere’ in Act2 with the scarf ?

The finely detailed sets are the standard huge room with fireplace in Act1 .The costumes for this act are predominantly in red and blue. In Act 2 there is a marvellous leafy forest.

The exquisite corps de ballet of the women as sylphs in Act2 are magnificent .Precisely drilled they breathe and function as one to hypnotic effect. ( And keep a look out for the special flying effects ). In Act1 they are of this world as guests celebrating James and Effie’s wedding with wonderful exuberant dancing . There are controlled lines and lots of fast fleet fiddly footwork – a hint of the Bournonville version?

As the Sylph, Aurelie Dupont is astonishing . She appears as if straight out of a Taglioni lithograph. What was interesting to observe was the attention to detail in her costume – the pearl necklace and bracelets , the blue ribbon at her waist , the floral coronet in her hair. And peacock feathers in her wings ! Technically she was amazing , appearing lighter than a feather. Yet she had steely pointes , amazing control in her adage and a soft , lyrical rounded line in her portes des bras ( again echoing the lithographs) .It was also interesting to note that in this version she only brings James one offering of items from her world –  a birds nest- not three or so as in some versions .She appears to be of alabaster and not of this world, mysterious and ethereal. Playful and flirtatious she unwittingly leads James on to the tragic denouement.

Dreamily handsome James , a young man caught between illusion and reality ( the Sylph and his real , worldly fiance Effie ) was more than superbly danced by Mathieu Ganio . He has textbook pure technique and his elevation and batterie are astonishing. His short ,explosive solos are thrilling .

Madge the witch (here simply called The Sorceress) was chillingly played by Jean-Marie Didière .It is interesting to note that in this version she has six ‘weird sisters’ who help her with the incantations and preparations of the poisoned scarf ( long filmy veil)  to kill the Sylph and revenge herself on James. Didiere as Madge is tall , with a craggy , very  expressive face and long , bony, dirty fingers . He has a commanding presence and is not someone you would want to cross!

Effie, James’ fiancee ,was delightfully danced by Mélanie Hurel .And Gurn,James ‘ friend who is also in love with Effie is tremendously danced by Emmanuel Hoff . They have show stopping pas de deux in Act1 .

So if you are into Romantic era ‘Ballet Blancs’ and want to see some extraordinary dancing don’t miss this.

The Paris Opera Ballet in LA SYLPHIDE screened at selected cinemas with screenings taking place on July 27, 28 and 31.