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Don Quichotte - March 2007Myriam Ould-Braham and Emmanuel Thibault


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#1 Azulynn

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 05:28 AM

Myriam Ould-Braham and Emmanuel Thibault in Don Quixote, Paris Opera Ballet, 26 & 31 March 2007

One would need to write a long poem to translate into words what Myriam Ould-Braham and Emmanuel Thibault gave to the audience in both their performances. Generosity pours out of their every movement, and they turned Nureyev's version, often vulgar, into a jewel. Together they are glorious – they seem to perfectly understand each other and have the same idea of what ballet should be. And it's all about joy. When they enter the stage, they are immediately engaged into the story, adding the lightest and most delighful details to make it their own. The pas de deux of the second act (Nureyev's addition, on music taken from Bayadère) was a wonder of tenderness and harmony, despite its awkward choreography. The POB should treasure this partnership. The entire audience was enraptured, and clearly, it doesn't get much better than what we've seen this week in Paris.

Myriam Ould-Braham shows here she's one of the most interesting dancers of her generation. Although Kitri is not her natural emploi (she is more of a lyrical dancer), she turned in a superlative performance. Her independance of mind is truly fascinating – never does she look like a dutiful student afraid of missing a step. The pressure a première danseuse may feel when she takes on a lead role (how will I be judged ? Will I ever get promoted ?) is nowhere to be seen. She has also seemingly made up her mind Kitri doesn't need to be crude – if she is so admired in Barcelona, it may well be for the proud nobleness of her dancing, and not for her trivial manners. This interpretation gives the first act a welcome lighheartedness. Cheerful, flirtatious, proud, Myriam Ould-Braham displayed wonderful attack and sharpness, without ever giving up her beautiful bearing (Laëtitia Pujol and Aurélie Dupont went at times for a more vulgar approach). She chose for instance to turn the episode where Basilio tries to catch her leg into a fun game the couple shares with their friends, instead of adopting the « Look how ridiculous he is » face other Kitris did. And whatever this Kitri does, she is exquisite, a joy to behold.
The Vision allowed her to display her lyricism – there was a hint of nostalgia about her Dulcinée that made her even more unreachable. I feel she could go deeper into her variation and make it even more fluid, but there's a seriousness and a maturity about her that set her apart from everyone else on stage. In the third act, Myriam Ould-Braham was utterly brilliant, a very feminine bride who rolled delicately her shoulder when Basilio kissed it in the pas de deux. She already has the authority of a ballerina on stage – the sharpness of her movements, her confidence and womanliness – in a word, she's individual. Original. More of her, please, in the somewhat dry Parisian landscape !

Emmanuel Thibault ? Another wonder. Generous, talented, he made the house roar with delight at his every appearance. And yet Basilio is the only lead in his repertory - his situation somewhat recalls that of Herman Cornejo at ABT, although he dances even less. Yes, he is not very tall, and one-armed lifts are not his cup of tea, but does it really matter ? He's an artist, and he cares immensely for the public – just look at his smile, the pleasure he takes in being there and communicating with his ballerina, the other dancers and the audience ! Technically his petite batterie is crystal-clear, his jumps breathtakingly high and light. Just like his partner, he has authority to spare on stage. Besides, he's extremely good at comedy – his mock suicide on Saturday was the funniest I've seen : the razor started slipping, and he « killed » himself a second time while falling on this back, which made the entire house laugh. Thibault has a deep understanding of why ballet matters and how it can speak to the audience. He inspires the utmost joy. Nevermind if the POB management doesn't want to appoint him Etoile – but could he at least be allowed to dance more than once every other year ?

Fanny Fiat was again delightful as one of Kitri's friends (when is she not ?). Her sharpness and clarity of movement are amazing – even double gargouillades look like a walk in the park with her. Alice Renavand did wonders as the Street Dancer – strong, sensual, she managed to turn the fandango in Act III into a great piece of theatre. Miteki Kudo (Cupid), Sabrina Mallem (another Street Dancer), Sarah Kora Dayanova (Bridesmaid earlier in the run) and Charline Giezendanner also lit up the stage. The most problematic part was probably that of the Queen of the Dryads in this run – neither Emilie Cozette nor Laurence Laffon managed to convey the required sense of otherworldliness.

#2 Mashinka

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 04:54 AM

I enjoyed reading that wonderful review Azulynn, when I went to Thibault’s first performance in the role a couple of years ago the audience was ecstatic at the end and were chanting ‘Manu, Manu’ when he took his curtain calls. It seems there is no lack of enthusiasm for this dancer from audiences; it’s just the POB management that seems to disregard him.

Do you think that there is any chance that Thibault might get the opportunity to dance Colas when the POB performs La Fille Mal Gardee this summer? As a Londoner who has been watching this ballet for decades, I know by now the qualities the role needs – and believe me Thibault has those qualities, in fact he strikes me as being more of a natural Ashton dancer than anyone currently in the Royal Ballet.

#3 Azulynn

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:27 AM

Unfortunately, Mashinka, Emmanuel Thibault won't be dancing Colas. He is scheduled to tour Australia with the company in late June instead. This is sad news, because the role would have fit him perfectly. I can see why the POB doesn't want to cast him in princely roles, but there's no excuse whatsoever for not letting him dance Colas, or even Frantz in Coppélia...

#4 volcanohunter

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 08:36 PM

Unfortunately, Mashinka, Emmanuel Thibault won't be dancing Colas. He is scheduled to tour Australia with the company in late June instead. This is sad news, because the role would have fit him perfectly. I can see why the POB doesn't want to cast him in princely roles, but there's no excuse whatsoever for not letting him dance Colas, or even Frantz in Coppélia...

But if I'm not mistaken, Ould-Braham won't be going to Australia. If the management decides against promoting Cozette or Abbagnato during the run of Cindrella, perhaps it will make an étoile of Ould-Braham or Gilbert (if she recovers in time) during Fille.

#5 Mashinka

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 01:37 AM

Unfortunately, Mashinka, Emmanuel Thibault won't be dancing Colas.


That's a bit of a blow, I'll pass on that information as I wasn't the only Londoner hoping to go to Paris to see him in the role.

In the female lead you need a good jumper, Fanny Fiat? The woefully ignored Miteki Kudo would also make a good Lise. Or will these two also be sent to Oz?

#6 Azulynn

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 07:26 AM

Fanny Fiat is also going to Australia (preliminary casting was posted on a French forum). Miteki Kudo is not listed, so there's hope...


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