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Gala Nureyev Programm - 20 january 2003


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#16 Alymer

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 12:24 PM

It was a most beautiful tribute to the man who really set the agenda which took the company finally to world-class status and has kept it there, even ten years after his death.
The Defile is an amazing event and I don't think anyone who sees it can fail to be moved by the sight of the entire ensemble presenting itself to the audience in this formal, structured, fashion. It's entertaining to see just how the Etoiles, (the only dancers allowed to salute the audience directly), choose do this; ie the quick run or the stately promenade. It's also interesting to see who has the biggest group of fans.
Three of the Etoiles Invitees (Guerin, Loudieres and Platel) joined the Defile, Mme Platel appearing last among the women by virtue of her date of nomination. And you wonder how the new girls and boys must feel with all that weight of history behind them. I remember seeing Patrick Dupond just after his nomination. This time it was Clairmarie Osta.
With the exception of Black Swan, none of the pas de deux were given with variations. Eric Vu An presumeably stepped in at the very last minute to partner Pujol in the Don Q pas de deux, which was altogether a bit subdued I thought. Unlike Francoise, I was really rather impressed with Carbone in the Romeo and Juliet extract and Maurin was magical as ever in this role. (Nureyev once remarked that in some ways she reminded him of Ulanova).
Platel in her Raymonda variation,did the almost impossible, filling that vast stage with no decor, no supporting dancers, just by the strength and style of her dancing.
Osta was enchanting in the Nutcracker pas, and I loved Loudieres and Jean Guillaume Bart in Cinderella. She looked wonderful - the height of chic and it really is the most enchanting and ingeneous number. Romance on a revolving stool.
But the highlight for me in this part of the programme was the Bejart Wayfarer pas de deux, originally made for Nureyev and Paolo Bortoluzzi. I belive Bejart has withdrawn this from performance but allowed it to be staged again this one time. Hilaire (in the Nureyev) role and Legris danced it so well and with such conviction that you couldn't fail to be moved, especially by the ending. I was in tears as was, I suspect a large part of the audience and indeed, Bejart himself was clearly visibly moved when I saw him in the second interval.
Marguerite and Armand went down a storm, even though Le Riche had to simplify some of the choreography because of his injury. Anthony Dowell was making his debut at the Palais Garnier as Papa, but I didn't think his was quite right. He's physically too small apart from anything else and the mustache makes him look cross rather than stern. I overheard somone in the audience remark that it was 'a very English ballet'. I'm not sure what that means. But needless to say Guillem was ecstatically received, and with reason.
I should mention also that Wayfarer benefited from really beautiful singing by Dietrich Henschel and Kadar Belarbi in the 'ballet du cour' style Bach Suite also had an excellent musical accompaniment from Christophe Coin on cello.
Really, really impressive though was Nureyev's choreography for the Polacca from Swan Lake Act I. A truly virtuoso number for 16 men, brilliantly danced by a cast entirely made up from dancers of Suject rank and below. Frankly, some famous companies would have difficulty casting it with principals.
I'm not a fan of Agnes Letestu and Jose Martinez, but the Black Swan displayed their strengths probably better than anything else on the programme. Then finally the Kingdom of the Shades with Bart and Isabelle Guerin, who was looking somewhat off-form. Of the three shade I liked the newly promoted Melanie Hurel. Natalie Aubin danced well but without distinction and I though the lovely and talented Eleonora Abbagnato failed to get the measure of her variation. The female corps de ballet, whose tribute this really was, rose to the occasion maginificently - all 32 of them.
It was a wonderful evening, and I don't imagine anyone who was there will forget it in a hurry. Rudolf would have approved.
Incidentally, the programme is a fascinating book with a detailed chronolgy of his links with the company, some moving personal tributes and a good selection of photographs. Well worth having if you can manage French.

#17 Alexandra

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 12:31 PM

Thank you so much, Francoise, vila and Alymer, for writing about this evening.

Alymer, I must say I agree wiith your opening assessment, that Nureyev was "the man who really set the agenda which took the company finally to world-class status and has kept it there, even ten years after his death." If there's any example of how one person can make a difference, it must be this one. (In a way, by virtue of its academy and its history, Paris has always been one of the great international companies, in my book, and there were some wonderful dancers during its down years. But it sure was "on the skids" for a long time, and Nureyev snapped it out of those doldrums in one season.)

#18 Estelle

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 06:39 AM

http://search.ft.com...arch&state=Form

A re"view of that gala by Clement Crisp.


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