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Millepied to Head Paris Opera Ballet(Updated thread title)


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Poll: Who Should Succeed Madame Lefevre? (35 member(s) have cast votes)

Who Should Succeed Madame Lefevre?

  1. Carolyn Carlson (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Frederic Flamand (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. William Forsythe (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Sylvie Guillem (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. Laurent Hilaire (6 votes [17.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.14%

  6. Nicolas Le Riche (2 votes [5.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.71%

  7. Manuel Legris (23 votes [65.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 65.71%

  8. Wayne MacGregor (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  9. Benjamin Millepied (2 votes [5.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.71%

  10. Alexei Ratmansky (2 votes [5.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.71%

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#16 Helene

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:40 PM

Am I understanding that Paquette is carry a run of "Don Quichotte" because it is against company hierarchy to prepare dancers farther down the ranks for Basilio? I've seen the company relatively recently, and surely they have men in the lower ranks with enough ability.

Both Hilaire and Legris were etoiles in their early 20's.

#17 silvermash

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:51 AM

the hierarchy is certainly important and it has always been the policy to have Etoiles and Premiers danseurs in the event of injury to replace them, even if the company has always favored to replace Etoiles by Etoiles which often leads to this high number of shows among the favorite ones.

I have the feeling- but I don’t know for sure- that there are very little understudies among the lower ranks. Until now, Etoiles and Premiers danseurs were filling the gaps even if it looks at time quite acrobatic replacements, but I think now, very reliable Etoiles and Premiers dancers are getting older and don’t want or just can’t dance very demanding roles, so among the youngest, if one or two in this case (Bullion and Magnenet) of the solid ones are injured, it’s a huge problem.

I believe now Etoiles are more named around 30s with few exceptions like Ganio, Gilbert or Heymann. The POB repertoire favors more mature dancers

#18 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:30 AM

Even if Paquette could refuse on hierarchical grounds, he may feel that being an etoile carries with it a certain responsibility in times of crisis.


Yes, that is a good point, but one hopes the other etoiles (especially ones like Pech or Belingard who have danced Basilio before) would feel the same sense of responsibility. That sounds like a dig but I don't mean it as one. I don't know what has happened internally, what their schedules are like etc.

But I still don't get why the direction would ask him to dance that many times. Ganio is only dancing 4 times. Chaillet has 3 performances at the end of the run. I know Chaillet is a premier danseur and this is his debut etc etc, but still. And Gilbert/Ganio Don Q would be fabulous for the live broadcast. Although Paquette hasn't be filmed much, so that's probably why he gets that.

I'm not sure of the exact mechanics, but the etoiles can definitely say "No, I don't want to dance X." They're also guaranteed a minimum number of performances per season. Although based on how infrequently some have danced in the past, it must either be a tiny number or they must be able to waive the minimum.

My impression is that the company doesn't like having understudies. If a dancer gets injured during the run, often his/her roles are simply redistributed among the existing casts. Or, they have a dancer (often a sujet) who learns the role and gets 1 scheduled performance and is available to sub as necessary.

#19 silvermash

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

And Gilbert/Ganio Don Q would be fabulous for the live broadcast. Although Paquette hasn't be filmed much, so that's probably why he gets that.


Paquette is on nearly ALL the DVD the past ten years!!! Ivan the terrible, Paquita, Swan Lake, The lady of the camellias, Degas little dancer... He doesn't really show only on contemporary works...

Bullion was due to be on the film with Gilbert, I guess because Paquette was second cast, he had priority.... Besides, Ganio hasn't been really convincing so far on this run but perhaps his late coming on the role shows only lack of rehearsals

#20 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

Ok, that's true but he hasn't really been filmed as a lead. I suppose it just goes to show how reliant on him the company is.

#21 Helene

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:14 PM

I, too, thought he had been filmed in smaller, more cameo roles. I like him a lot in character-driven roles, and I always wished he had more screen time, like I wish that Gary Avis' Cavalier in the Royal Ballet's "Sleeping Beauty" DVD had a much bigger role.

#22 silvermash

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:05 AM

yes but he's rarely first cast... To add to the list, he was filmed in La Source las year as lead and I heard the DVD will be released.

#23 miliosr

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:00 AM

Whatever the advantages of the hierarchy may be, in this instance it appears that the hierarchy acts as an anchor on the company. Instead of giving opportunities (and experience) to promising male dancers in the lower ranks, the company is forced to import dancers to make the schedule work. You expect that from ABT (with its mania for guest stars) but not from the Opera, which affects to be completely self-sufficient and above that.

If I were Paquette, I would be seething that I had to carry the company with so many performances in a full-length while the other etoiles (who aren't that much older than him) are dancing one-acts in the Forsythe/Brown bill.

This is a good opportunity for Chaillet. I just hope his body holds up given that he's had to switch from being the lead in the Gillot premiere to Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated to Nureyev's Don Quixote. Not easy switching styles and techniques like that.

In regard to the main point of this thread, Legris is running away with the vote. Will he be recalled from exile in Vienna? And what will Hilaire do if he gets passed over in favor of Legris?? Does he grit his teeth and stay on in a subordinate role???

Frederic Flamand for the win! Posted Image

#24 sandik

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

I don't follow the ins and outs of the performance schedule at the Opera, and so don't have that perspective, but I would imagine that administrative experience (like Legris) would be an important factor in this decision. In the past, the organization was so insular that spending time working elsewhere might be considered a deficit, but I'm not sure that's the current point of view. I know that in Seattle, when the company was searching for a new director, Peter Boal's experience running his own, small ensemble, was an important point in his favor.

#25 puppytreats

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:15 PM

I don't follow the ins and outs of the performance schedule at the Opera, and so don't have that perspective, but I would imagine that administrative experience (like Legris) would be an important factor in this decision. In the past, the organization was so insular that spending time working elsewhere might be considered a deficit, but I'm not sure that's the current point of view. I know that in Seattle, when the company was searching for a new director, Peter Boal's experience running his own, small ensemble, was an important point in his favor.


Was his experience useful or successful, or does he have the ability to learn from what he did or did not, or could not, accomplish there? Some people with "experience" should not transfer elsewhere, while others should be able to do so, based on certain conditions and qualifications.

#26 Cygnet

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

[size=5][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Mr. Legris gets my vote; and whoever gets the post should appoint Mr. Thibault an Etoile. [/font][/size]

#27 bart

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:57 AM

Re the digression concerning Karl Paquette -- the new BALLET REVIEW (Fall 2012) contains a long interview with Paquette, conducted by Joel Lobenthal.

#28 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:57 AM

I'm surprised no one has chosen Guillem...

#29 angelica

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 01:06 PM

I'm surprised no one has chosen Guillem...

I voted for Guillem, but withdrew my vote because no one else had voted for her. I figured that maybe others knew something that I didn't know that would disqualify her. Although I love Paris Opera Ballet, I don't have enough inside information to choose Madame's successor.

#30 pherank

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 01:27 PM

I don't think there's a shortage of classical dancers at POB; however, sometimes a number of them are dancing the contemporary works.

Do people think that Legris has the upper leg because of his administrative experience in Vienna?


I do. It greatly enhances his already fine reputation in European dance circles. I think he has great influence over other dancers, as well.

I voted for Guillem, but withdrew my vote because no one else had voted for her. I figured that maybe others knew something that I didn't know that would disqualify her. Although I love Paris Opera Ballet, I don't have enough inside information to choose Madame's successor.


No shame in voting for who you like - Guillem is an admirable artist. I'm not sure she would want anything to do with running a huge organization like the POB though, and dealing with its bureaucracy. Would be pretty ironic for Guillem (who bailed out early on the POB) to return to run the entire operation. Seems to go against her character, and personal interests as an artist.


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