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cygneblanc

A new étoile for the POB (W. Romoli)

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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...

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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 !

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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. . .

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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.

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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?)

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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:

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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 !

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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:

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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.

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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

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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: . !

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http://actu.voila.fr/Depeche/depeche_loisi...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!

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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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Cygneblanc,

>>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!

It seems to me the idea of taking ballet kids to Opera performances itself is great. A pity your goddaughter didn't enjoy the production very much - she's certainly not among those who returned their impressions to M. Mortier, currently viewable on-line on l'Opera's website (under "À LIRE AUJOURD'HUI")! But giving away condoms??? How bizarre - is it aimed at advocating some sort of educations/enlightenments? (e.g. anti-HIV campaign etc?)

And thank you for the English translations for Mme Lefèvre's comments. Very interesting, and it does make sense to me what she tried to imply with those words, and what she actually did. I think your interpretaions are pretty accurate ("... it looks like this promotion is a personal thank you from Mrs Lefèvre"), and in my fantasy world I'm tempted to go on reading the last sentence like this: "He has come with me during my journey to modernity, he's a leader in the compagny","....and so will he be, for many years to come, in enhancing the endeavours made in the last decade or so". Ah... just a thought, but seriously - isn't it an idea to split the company into two - one doing classics and the other modern/contemporary, I wonder.....

Estelle, no you're not a cynic - ballet world too cannot escape "injustice", but I personally rate it's committed far lesser in ballet world than other fields of human activities. (After all when it happens in ballet world it's hard to disguise the misjudgements - it's so cruelly painful to see.....)

You wrote: "There are 7 premiers danseurs, and I don't think that any of them has the "star quality" you described... " Well I don't know - although any of them may not be the next Manuel Legris (who's a one-in-a-million dancer), some of them seem to have great prospects - I think the standards are kept pretty high. And also possibilities are always there that some new talent storms the scene out of nowhere - like Mathieu (ah... to be precise his case may not be quite out of "nowhere", but...).

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I don't have much as much experience with the machinations of the Opera as some of you, but I'm hoping the promotion is more benign that that, and even helpful. It's healthy for an institution to reward faithfulness and loyalty. Romoli is a fine dancer, and he truly put in his time. NYCB promotes like that all the time; the dancers who aren't the top principals, but buttress the company all the same. It helps morale at all levels when done correctly. Of course Romoli isn't Legris, but who is? He's been excellent in everything I've seen him in so far; I don't think the promotion is of a patently underqualified dancer.

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Naoko, yes I agree with you about the idea of bringing the ballet kids to Opera performances is very good indeed but why that production of the Flute and not another production ?

My goddaughter is 15 and was disturbed by the whole thing but she enjoyed Dialogue de Carmelites very much and we will attend Boris Goudounov later in the year. It's a pity Mr Mortier won't give us free tickets for that productions :rolleyes: I can tell you we would appreciate them very much. And for the condoms things, I'll have to interview her she was really annoyed by that and I didn't understand very well why they are giving them away !

"He has come with me during my journey to modernity, he's a leader in the compagny","....and so will he be, for many years to come, in enhancing the endeavours made in the last decade or so"

Thanks for the good laugh :wink: but seriously I think you're just right when you're writing that.

But our director is also very odd as Estelle said so I don't know what we can expect now, the worse or the best (I hope for the best :( )

Actually, a long time ago, there was a split in the compagny. Only a small group was dancing some modern works. Estelle, do you remember if BL was a member of that group ?

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cygneblanc: do you mean the GRTOP, later GRCOP ? I don't think Lefèvre was involved in that group, as she had left the company earlier with Jacques Garnier to created her own company (Théâtre du Silence, in La Rochelle). If I remember correctely, the GRTOP was first directed by Carolyn Carlson, and then later by Jacques Garnier (I don't know if the Théâtre du Silence had ceased existing yet or if B. Lefèvre was its only director then). The GRCOP lasted until the late 1980s, I think (perhaps until Garnier's death, around 1989 ?)

So, unless I'm mistaken in the dates, B. Lefèvre was not involved as a dancer in such a group. But having been a close collaborator of Jacques Garnier, she probably was well informed about it.

I think the GRCOP did an interesting job back then... But the situation of French dance was very very different from the present one: the number of modern dance performances was much lower, and so the audience had fewer opportunities to see it (and also the POB itself very rarely performed modern dance works). There would be far less motivation to have such a group now, as there are hundreds of theaters showing modern dance (and fewer and fewer showing ballet..)

About the premier danseurs: well, doing any kind of prediction would be difficult to do, as there have been so many surprises in recent months... Among them, Benjamin Pech probably is the one who has danced most major roles, but I wonder if he'll ever get promoted. Hervé Moreau sometimes has been considered as a potential principal, but he's been absent lately because of an injury, let's hope he'll be back in good shape.

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Yes, Estelle thanks I mean the GRTOP. Yes, it was firstly directed by Carolyn Carlson, who was an "etoile-choregraphe", they etasblished that title just for her.

I can't tell like that until when the GRTOP lasted, but I'm almost sure it was around 1985. Someone knows ? I must have the infos somewhere but where, here's the question lol :D

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That website

http://www.noureev.org/about/choregraphes_inv.php

mentions some choreographers working with the GRCOP until the 1986-87 season.

But I also found a site mentioning a work by Stéphanie Aubin, "Passage de l'heure bleue", created for the GRCOP in 1989:

http://www.preljocaj.org/Pages/fr/prel/col...in/biokurod.htm

Garnier died in 1989, and I think his group was disbanded only after his death (but probably it was not very active in the last years- especially as, from what I've read, Nureyev never was really interested in its activities).

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Leigh wrote:

>>NYCB promotes like that all the time; the dancers who aren't the top principals, but buttress the company all the same. It helps morale at all levels when done correctly.

Now this is a revelation to me.... but come to think of it, it doesn't sound too unreasonable, as different companies with different repertoire can have different policies for promotions. It's just that I myself cannot remember witnessing this type of promotions "to show a gratefulness from a company" at major ballet companies with classical repertoire at their core - e.g. POB or RB or Kirov - at least in the last decade or so, the idea looked too alien to me. It may not be a bad idea (it could benefit HR management to certain extent!), as long as it doesn't risk degrading standards of a company, at all levels.

>>I don't think the promotion is of a patently underqualified dancer.

I'm sure none of us thinks that way too and wish to think that this promotion was of a benign nature as you wrote. What drove me rather wild was not at the event itself, but at what this could possibly lead to......

Cygneblanc, perhaps the reasons M. Mortier chose Magic Flute particularly could have been an accessibility and the heavenly music of the opera, a combination not bad for kids to follow..... but then as you suspected there might have been the intentions to show them the ultra avant-garde production in order for them to get prepared for the future!

Estelle, thanks for the links. Re: Split of the company - if it happened in the past, it could happen again? Well we'll see.........

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Maybe I missed something, but it seems somehow strange, that Romoli is not listed as an etoile on the website of POB. I'm not sure, but I can remember that almost immediatly after changes of the "roster" they appeared on the website.

Here is the site:

Dancers of the POB

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After reading through all the comments, and given the dancer's age, I am left wondering if this 'promotion' has anything to do with retirement benefits......

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