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A new étoile for the POB (W. Romoli)


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#1 cygneblanc

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 12:56 PM

Wilfried Romoli is now an Etoile. He has been named after tonight performance in a contemporary creation called Ich Bin (I'm).

Congratulations :)

#2 Estelle

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 01:13 PM

Wow! That's a HUGE surprise- he must be the oldest promoted étoile in the company (and probably in the company's history, as he's something like 42. But I'm happy about it, because he's such a talented, versatile and reliable dancer that it's great to see his qualities finally are recognized. :) I remember that in an interview he said that he didn't expect to be promoted any longer, but that actually he thought a promotion would have been more significant for him than when he was younger, as it would be a
recognition of his whole career.

The last year has been full of surprises in terms of promotions: Mathieu Ganio as the youngest (and less experienced) étoile in a very long while, Marie-Agnès Gillot who was the first dancer promoted after a modern dance performance, and now Wilfried Romoli the first promotion at more than 40... Predictions will be harder and harder to make!

I wonder what will be the reaction of his fellow dancers. Perhaps some might be frustrated that he's been a given a position so fewer will be available for the others- on the other hand, he's going to retire quite soon, and he seems to be quite respected by the rest of the company (and from his interviews, he really sounds like a very nice, sensitive, modest person, and also as someone who's thought quite deeply about his job).

I've no idea whether there will be some other promotions of "mature" dancers, but I'd really like Delphine Moussin (who's close to 40 now) to be promoted too...

#3 cygneblanc

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 01:20 PM

Yes, that's a big surprise for me, too. I also would like to see Delphine Moussin promoted, she deserves it so much, more than Laetitia Pujol, to my mind (who by the way, is a very nice girl..).


This nomination is rather symbolic since as Estelle told it he will have to retire soon, but that's quite an accomplishment !

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 01:22 PM

I'm very happy for Romoli. He is a stalwart of the company, and it's a nice way to wind a career to a close. Would have been nicer a few years earlier, but hey. . .

#5 Estelle

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 01:43 PM

I think that symbolically it's important (and I hope he'll get an opportunity to do the Défilé as an étoile at least once- he already appeared almost as a étoile, in a défilé where too many male étoiles were injured, but it's not the same...) and also it could be helpful for him materially when he retires, as the étoiles are far more famous than the premiers danseurs, and it probably will bring him more opportunities if he wants to teach, give master classes, etc.

#6 Naoko S

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 05:14 PM

Nice to hear such warm words for Romoli's nomination, as I myself cannot be that ecstatic..... Whilst I'm sincrely glad for him for what happened, in more wider perspectives - I don't know - well I'm slightly confused, actually.

Like Estelle what characterises Wilfried Romoli-a-dancer to me, first and foremost, has been that he's very versatile artist in contemporary works, a reliable dancer and partner (and certainly one of the most durable!). But etoile? hmmm..... Essentially he's been to me one of the most formidable Premier danseurs of the company, which means, er..... not a bad thing at all and looked fairly reasonable arrangements, from the viewpoints of carefree audience; it was good even for ballet world in general, or on a 'public' scale. On hearing the news my immediate reactions were: First, a big surprise; second, maybe a more logical explanation can be sought in practical reasons, like Estelle mentioned. Personally I felt a bit of a chill in thinking that this nomination might mean more than that - what if it doesn't just mean to give him "a nice way to wind a career to a close"? Think of the fact that POB has made precedence that from now on dancers who under the normal circumstances are not casted in lead roles in CLASSICAL repertoire can reach the top position at the company..... (or am I being too pessimistic?)

#7 cygneblanc

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 05:40 PM

Well, Naoko, actually, I have the same interrogations as you. While I'm happy for WR, on the other side, the circumstances of his promotion are maybe opening some new perspectives that I won't particularly enjoy :rolleyes: .

Marie-Agnes Gillot, the last etoile promoted, was named after a performance of Carolyn Carlson 's Signes, although she could and should have been promoted after a classical performance :blink: .

The new POB president is working a lot to promote the new and desastrous production of Mozart's la flûte enchantée (forgot the English name, sorry), he 's giving a lecture to the audience before almost every performance. That has never been seen before!

So it looks as he wishes to turn the POB into a contemporary theater and that's very worrying for me. Can one be an etoile, at least a POB's one when one can just dance contemporary choreos ? That's quite a question !

Oh and Naoko, while you 're here, I went to London earlier in the season to seeing one of the Ashton triple bills. I liked it a lot. I wish the same triple could be given in Paris but at that time it was a Prejlocaj double bills that wasn't very good :angry2:

#8 carbro

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 08:10 PM

. . . Mozart's la flûte enchantée (forgot the English name, sorry) . . . 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Magic Flute! :angry2:

#9 Estelle

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 04:51 AM

Naoko and cygneblanc: I agree that the new direction's policy is somewhat worrying, especially in terms of repertory... However, though Romoli is cast now mostly in modern works, he's also danced brightly a lot of more classical works (for example I have a fond memory of him in works such as Robbins' "In the Night" and Balanchine's "The Four Temperaments", also he was a good Golden Idol in "La Bayadère", for example). He's never been cast much in "prince" roles, but I suspect it's perhaps more because of a question of looks than a question of technique...

cygneblanc- you were lucky to be able to go to London ! The London season really sounded far more appealing to me than the present POB season, it's a pity I never had enough time to travel...

Now I wonder what the next promotion will be- but it's really hard to predict, as the last two promotions (Ganio and Romoli) were such big surprises !

#10 cygneblanc

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 05:54 AM

Well, during a meeting of the AROP at the end of the last year, Gerard Mortier told that there would be some news promotions (two if I remember well) after the Sleeping Beauty!

I thought the new etoiles would be some ones that were good in the SB but with that surprising promotion I don't know what to think :rolleyes:

It was an evidence that Mathieu Ganio would be an Etoile one day but I wouln't have said it would be so early. I'm still astonished by his performance at last year annual competition. Wow, there was him and the others, he was clearly the best in the field. But being excellent on two variations is one thing, being an etoile is another one.

So who will be the next one ? I prefer not to think about that :rolleyes:

#11 Naoko S

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 10:51 AM

Estelle, the only occasion I saw Romoli in a lead role of grand classiques was in La Bayadere, some years ago at Bastille. In my diminishing memories he wasn't too convincing a Solor.... didn't seem to fit the bill. But really it's not the point; I guess you understand how I meant - it's not only looks or technique that makes a dancer, let alone an etoile - but they do count. Professional dancers themselves are a group of highly talented individuals, for sure, yet to be on the top of the company like POB, that's just one of many prerequisites I think. What distingues a path for one dancer from others, sometimes it seems to me, is nothing but a sheer luck - that includes his/her very own ideosyncrasy luckily meeting the very narrow ballet aesthetism; also one should possess an aura which makes him/her instantly recognisable - it's crucial. Now that's a tough part 'cause you really have to be born with them! But that's why a true ballet star or ballet artist is hard to come by - and that's about *right*, I think. Just like everywhere else, not every one can succeed in the ballet world - I mean, if you define one's success by a rank with which a dancer ends his/her professional life. But unlike everywhere else, where often promotions are decided totally outside of one's true talent/abilities, I personally want to see ballet world stay that way - that only strictly selective few could be on the top.

Being an outsider, maybe I have this very idealistic or idolised views towards 'Etoiles' of POB; maybe it's POB's current line-up of etoiles themselves (a few exceptions aside) are to blame - they set such high standards! (Particularly male etoiles - many of them are genuinely 'versatile' dancers, freely crossing boundaries of genre)......

Cygneblanc, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed an Ashton bill with Royal Ballet. Personally it's hard to imagine POB take on Ashton's ballets, as many of the factors are quintessentially British.....(particularly that humour!) Do you think they would fit POB's style? A shame you couldn't manage to see the reconstructed Sylvia - it's a delightful, glorious, fantastic ballet! It may be too early to say, but Sylvia, together with POB's SB, were two of my *best* balletic moments for 2004/05 season. (And the worst is "Soiree Preljocaj" - I went not for the choreographer, but for Laurent Hilaire!)

About "la flûte enchantée" - I guess it's the one currently shown you were referring to - was it that bad? Looks like it's a new production - so they've dumped another "new" production staged as recent as in the previous season? Er... the one in which singers were restricted from moving about naturally - not only movements but eventually singing were affected and oddly supressed as if it's badly inspired by Noh-theatre...... that production was pretty horrible in their own right, I seem to remember.

#12 Helene

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 11:02 AM

I've read good things in the english press about the new Magic Flute directed by La Fura dels Baus, a theater group from Catalunya. Although I'd still like to see the new Julie Taymor version at the Metropolitan Opera, it is an opera that I find a bit too sweet, which the Opera Bastille production is decidedly not

#13 cygneblanc

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 11:35 AM

Well Naoko, about your vision of POB's etoiles, I don't think it's too much "idolised", since I have pretty much the same one, but as far I'm concerned, I think there is lack of that sort of etoiles, especially in the women ranks and I wonder if the direction wishes it still exists.

I don't think Ashton work would fit very well the POB, but between all the atrocious contemporary works we have this year (Thank you so much, Mrs Lefèbre :wink: ) and some Ashton works badly danced, I choose the second solution !

And yes, it's very british but since I like everything in Great Britain from the anglican choirs to the humor, I was very happy ! I wish I could see each program from the ROB this year!

I saw the Prejlocaj soirée from a very bad seat (didn't want to spending my money away for some contemporary works) and I HATED the second piece, MC16-22. The first one was still acceptable although I didn't like it. I went just because there were a lot debates about this soiree and I wanted to see it from my own eyes but that's all. It's nothing against the choregrapher (I like the Parc a lot) or Medee (I saw the play with Isabelle Huppert, she was amazing, and I was deeply moved bu her interpretation).

For the magic Flute, yes it's the one that is currently shown and it's a new production. I haven't seen it but my godaughter did. Gerard Mortier went the POB ballet school to speaking to the pupils about the production and invited them to a performance. From what she told me and what I read in newspapers, it is looking rather "trash", they're giving condoms to the audience :rolleyes: . !

#14 cygneblanc

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 11:54 AM

http://actu.voila.fr...7.uf61x2rr.html

Here is a link to an article on WR promotion. I'm translating the only interesting sentences from Brigitte Lefèvre:"One hope sometimes is consacrated but so is sometimes the talent. It's not too early, and it's not too late, that's commended (or asserted ?) today. He has come with me during my journey to modernity, he's a leader in the compagny.


I find the last sentence very sad and worrying, it looks like this promotion is a personal thank you from Mrs Lefèvre. And she's saying it openly (you're going to tell me at least she's frank lol).

That's a mess :( :wink: and that's very sad for the dancer and his talent!

#15 Estelle

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 02:07 PM

cygneblanc: Mrs Lefevre's last sentence is a bit odd indeed. However, I'd like to see her whole interview (or declaration), because perhaps what was mentioned in the article was just an excerpt ? And well, the "it's not too late" sounds odd too- but I guess she couldn't say otherwise, because it'd have sounded a bit stupid for her to say "this promotion happens too late"... And I'd say I pay less and less attention to what Ms Lefevre says, as she often contradicts herself, or says things which have very little to do with what she does (e.g. claiming her admiration for Balanchine and programming none of his works in one or two seasons).

Naoko: I understand what you mean about your visions of "étoiles"- and for example I wouldn't put Romoli in the same category as, say, Manuel Legris... Perhaps there should be some other categories at the POB, as in some other companies (e.g. "principal character dancer" ?) And also, there have been quite a lot of different styles of "étoiles" during the company history, some of them were more character-oriented, for example I think that Patrice Bart and Georges Piletta were not at their best in prince roles...

Actually, I wonder who else among the current crowd of male dancers could be promoted. Among the present étoiles, Hilaire and Belarbi perform less and less, and also Jean-Guillaume Bart, while younger, has often suffered from injuries. The only principal under 32 is Mathieu Ganio.
There are 7 premiers danseurs, and I don't think that any of them has the "star quality" you described...


You wrote: "unlike everywhere else, where often promotions are decided totally outside of one's true talent/abilities"... Err, perhaps I'm a bit too cynical, but I think that, in the ballet world too, alas, sometimes promotions are influenced by a lot of other factors than a dancers' talent/ abilities- sometimes factors like being injured at a given date or doing a last minute replacement, or sometimes just being liked or not by a director, etc. And for example almost every year the results of the POB competition are criticized by part of the audience and critics.

By the way, a positive point about that promotion is that it was the first one in many years (a decade, I think) which took place in front of the audience: all the previous promotions took place backstage after a performance, which was frustrating for the audience, and probably also for the dancers. I had had the luck to see (completely by chance) the promotions of Nicolas Le Riche, Carole Arbo and Fanny Gaïda after a performance of "Giselle" in Nîmes in the summer of 1993, and that really was a moving moment for the whole audience.


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