Manon at the Opera Garnier, in Paris25th April 2012 (Dupont/Hoffalt/Belingard/Zusperreguy.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:43 PM
my fears were well and truly quoshed. I soon realised that thanks to people like Monica Mason and Pat Ruanne who have past down this wonderful ballet to the younger genaration of Dancers it is pretty well intact.
The performance still had the emphathy and character I remembered, and was performed very well by the cast I saw. Aurelie Dupont, (Manon) Josua Hoffalt ( De Grieux) Manon's sweetheart Jeremie Belingard (Lescaut) brother to Manon, Muriel Zusperreguy (Lescaut mistress) Aurelien Houette (as Monseir G.M,) Viviane Descouttures (The Madame).
Aurelie Dupont's role portrayal was perfect, sensative, niave, and beautifully danced, it was neither overdone or understated, she is able to create a picture to fit any role. and was up to her usual brillant technical standard. Her partnership with the newest Etoile Josua Hoffalt seems to be going from strength to strength, whether it is just a trial or will become permanant we will have to wait and see. I know Aurelie found herself without a regular partner after Manual Legris retired. The brief spell with Herve Moreau showed great promise, but he has only just returned after a long absence.
Josua Hoffalt is beginning to show he right fully deserved his rfecent promotion, and danced the role of the lovesick De Grieux with conviction, mastering the challenging
variations that are both full of technical brilliance and emotially demanding. He was a strong reliable partner, handling the many lifts and feats with apparent ease, as choreographed by Mac Millan.
Jeremie Belingard, shined as the disreputable Lescaut, from the scene opening when you see him sitting mid stage his cloak surrounding him you know he is going to form the character, of the scheming money craved young man who will stoop to the lowest levels to achieve his aims, which turns out to be at the cost of his sister Manon. It is a very strong role, needing a good technique. Something you do not always see Jeremie cast in. But he excells in this ballet, in the scene at "Madame's, party together with his Mistress, he gets very drunk. the result of which is a hilarious pas de deux full of wonderful out of control lifts and very funny to watch. Wearing a black embroidered frock coated costume, He looked stunning, very sexy being the handsome guy he is.
Muriel Zusperreguy danced Lescauts mistress, she was somewhat coy, she performed well, but did not seem to take advantage of the opportuinity to get fully into the character. She was too nice, and could have been more exaggereated, there is a chance to act the bawdy wench
albeit tongue in cheek, to mis behave. There could have been much more frivality, the role, especially in the Pas de deux, where Lescaut can easily outshine her should be equally entertaining.by both the partners dancing it. It was although carefully danced a little too restrained.
Another milestone in Manon, is the male virtiuoso Pas de Trios danced in the same scene, it usually is a "show Stopper", it needs to be crisp, in complete unison, a stunning piece, the music ably supports the variation, full of jaunty steps, danced ln turn by each dancer. I am sorry to say in this perfiormance the guys simply did not meet the required precision or effect this variation should give. They were not together, or able to give the desired quality of dance that is needed to make this variation spectacular. It was messy and weak.
Finaly the musical score, the original composition for the ballet was not from the opera Manon, but was a special collaboration of music from Massenet's works arranged by Leighton Lucas,
the music was adapted again in 2011 by Martin Yates. I am not sure how much of which version is included in this performance, but it is credited to Yates. Whether the conductor Keon Kessels is responsible for amending any of the music I cannot say. I do not favour him as a conductor for Ballet, as I find his musical imputt is erratic, and he thtends to cut short passages in mid stream. I found the orchestra to be lacking in finese, there was very tittle bass in the music, with a higher treble element in the strings and woodwind, no beautiful toned melodies, and on a number of occasions an overkill from the brass sectiion, which produced a louder than normal degree of very harsh notes, that went on for too long and detracted from the otherwise beauty of the score. Give me The Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra any day. Their performance is much more mellow and beatiful in construction than The Paris Opera Orchestra. It is basically a differently toned Orchestra.
Would I recommend going to see Manon, a definate yes, it is absolutely wonderful,. The final scene in the Everglades, takes your breath away, and almost redueces you to tears.
Manon is yet again mis-used for her beauty, and raped, by the Goaler, who De Grieux in desparation kills with a knife, forcing the couple to run away into the swamps, starving
exhausted and with her ripped dress, Manon is dying. The final act starts with a vision of the events that fashioned her fate. With the last of her strength she is comforted by her lover, the despartion and desire that fuels her being, makes her try to go to him, when she finaly makes it, she slips through his arms, but dies in the process. The destraught De Grieux trys to revive her, but it is in vain, his tears shake his very being, as the curtain falls.
After a truly amzing performance Aurelie and Josua return to their dressing rooms, no doubt still full of emotion, which takes them time to overcome, and return to the realities of everyday life
Some time later, having rested showered and dressed they walk with their life partners, Jertemie with Aurelie and Muriel with Josua ( also stars in the Ballet) to the Artists exit, where I waited to see them, and was able to have a conversation. And so the chemistry continued OFF STAGE. BRAVO.
Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:37 AM
Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:14 AM
In regard to POB dancers being too technical, it is probably due to their schooling, high extensions etc, but when you compare them usually with the Corp de Ballet, en mass, they are beautifully together, in unison, something many companies need to improve.. I still really enjoyed the performance, and am usually very critical expecting perfection at times, which iis not always possible.
Posted 28 April 2012 - 04:21 PM
And Nanarina, you mention that you consider Tamara Rojo's Mamon too technical, but - technical or not - to me she is the most interesting of all the Manons I've seen (and I think I've seen about ten by now); she alone showed what the character in Le Prevost's novel really was: calculating and just a tiny bit cruel with the adoring Des Grieux.
Posted 29 April 2012 - 04:46 AM
I had to laugh at your comment, Nanarina, about Tamara Rojo dying with beautifully pointed toes. I have a photo of myself, as the mother in the Israel Ballet's Giselle, emoting madly over the body of my (supposedly) dead daughter - yes you guessed it - she's lying there with beautifully stretched feet! And this was a Russian guest artist..........
Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:07 PM
But maybe I'm strange... I, personally, gather much more 'feeling' and artistic expression from the French than many Russian dancers of late...
Just my 2cents. Thank you so much for the report!!!
Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:35 AM
Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:20 PM
Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:35 PM
Sure will be interesting to see how the younger Etoile's work out.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:48 PM
my fears were well and truly quoshed. .......................................
................................ and was able to have a conversation. And so the chemistry continued OFF STAGE. BRAVO.
My appreciation and many thanks Nanarina, for the vivid review of POB's Manon.
You had my attention from the curtain, to the greeting of the artists
after the performance.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:04 AM
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