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POB's La Sylphide


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I plan to see this ballet, but I don't know when... Do you plan to attend a performance?

The castings have been announced on the web site, but not completely (there's only a list of dancers, but no dates):

-as La Sylphide,

Aurélie Dupont or Agnès Letestu or Isabelle Ciaravola or Mélanie Hurel

or Delphine Moussin

It will be a new roles for all of them! The only dancer still in the company who has already danced the role is Elisabeth Maurin, but she's been absent from the stage because of her pregnancy. And actually, it's a bit unusual for the company to see that two premières danseuses (Ciaravola and Moussin) will be dancing that role, as it usually is considered as a role for étoiles, but I guess it's also because there aren't many active female étoiles now able to dance that role (Osta is away for maternity leave, and Gillot and Pujol probably aren't well suited to it). But I really wonder about the logic of having 5 different castings for a total of 12 performances, that doesn't leave much time to each dancer to really get used to the role (especially as they don't perform "La Sylphide" so often...) And there's also that tendancy to cast any dancer in almost any role... Anyway, I'd love to see Delphine Moussin in such a role...

-as James, Mathieu Ganio or Manuel Legris or José Martinez or Alessio Carbone or Benjamin Pech.

It will be a new role for Ganio (and actually only his second big classical role, after Basilio a few weeks ago) and for Carbone (his first real big role, I think). I wonder why Nicolas Le Riche won't dance it, but perhaps he's already been too busy this season. And unfortunately, several other male dancers, like Jean-Guillaume Bart and Hervé Moreau, are injured now.

About the pairings: the most likely ones seem to be Dupont- Legris, Letestu- Martinez, Ganio- Ciaravola, Moussin- Pech, and Hurel-Carbone.

-as Effie, Mélanie Hurel or Caroline Bance or Dorothée Gilbert or Aurélia Bellet or Aurore Cordellier

New roles for all of them except Hurel. Dorothée Gilbert was a charming Effie a few years ago in a pas de trois in a "Young dancers" program.

About the production: it is Pïerre Lacotte's production, after the original production by Taglioni, not the Bournonville production which is the one which is generally performed and which is better known internationally. Lacotte made this "reconstruction" (actually, not really a faithful reconstruction, for example there is more pointe than in the original work, also he added a pas de trois on some music from, if I remember correctly, "L'Ombre") around 1974, and it was filmed then with Ghislaine Thesmar and Michael Denard (it became one of their signature roles).

I've seen that production only once on stage so far, and it was quite special because it was Elisabeth Platel's farewell performance, with two different James (Nicolas Le Riche and Manuel Legris), one for each act, and it was of course quite moving. I'm not a all a specialist of that work, but I really enjoyed that production, and I think it's worth seeing.

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Thank you Estelle!

I have seen the filmed version as a kid and remembered it clearly somehow. I think this is when I fell in love with this ballet. I am glad to know that this is the version that I will get to see! I am even more excited.

I too would love to see Delphine Moussin in the title role. She is one of the most elegant and exquisite ballerina of the company, in my opinion.

Lucky you, "les adieux de Platel" on La Sylphide must have been something quite special.

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sylphide: if you liked the video, surely you'll love seeing it on stage! :)

I do agree about Moussin, and regret that she never was promoted to étoile. However, at least she got to dance quite a lot of great roles... I'd also have liked to see Clairemarie Osta in such a role, and I hope that she'll get to dance it later. Aurélie Dupont will probably be quite interesting too, she's matured quite a lot after her one-year leave for injury last season.

About the castings, there is some extra info on José Martinez's web site: he's supposed to dance it, with Letestu, on July 7, 14 and 15 (by the way, the performance of July 14th will be a bit special: as it is the "fête nationale", the performance will be free, but usually there is a huge queue and some people start queuing early in the morning). And of course the casts are likely to change, so you never really know who you're going to see (I'm keeping my fingers crossed about injuries, there's already been too many so far) until the ballet starts...

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We will be attending on opening night, June 28th. We are visiting from Canada and are very excited to see both the Palais Garnier and POB. It will certainly be the highlight of my DD's trip. Any suggestions as to dress for opening night would be much appreciated! My DD has a favourite poster framed of one of our famous ballerinas, Evelyn Hart, sitting on the POB stage putting on her pointe shoes for a guest performance a number of years ago.

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mmded - it depends on where you're sitting. The more expensive the seats, generally the more expensively dressed the occupant!

If you want to get away with a simpler dress, you should be able to but I'm the sort who is more looking for the excuse to dress formally than not to! I never get to wear my suits! When I was there in April, the crowd seemed slightly dressier than it had on previous visits (more suit/ties rather than sportjackets/no tie)

Also, most theaters are great places for women to bring a shawl as a dress-up accessory and to deal with air conditioning.

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POB announced in the Mathieu's Ganio nomination text that he will dance James the 1st and 5 th of july. He will dance with Isabelle Ciaravola

Manuel Legris announced on his website he must dance june 28 , and july 10, 12 and 13 july. These performance will be recorded for a new movie. He must dance with Aurélie Dupont, after her wonderful Giselle, she will be certainly interesting as Sylphide.

Benjamin Pech must dance with Delphine Moussin two times.

Laetitia Pujol doesn't dance the part because I presume she should dance Emeralds in the spanish tour of POB from june 30 to july 11 in Madrid and Barcelona.

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mmded, it's not sure but I think the cast is likely to be Dupont and Legris that evening (since the cast of the opening night generally is a cast of principals, and Letestu and Martinez aren't scheduled). Anyway, it should be an enjoyable evening for your daughter (she might also be interested in the souvenirs in the small boutique inside the Opera Garnier, some are a bit expensive but there is a large choice of postcards, booklets, jewels, etc.) Also, in case she's interested, the "entrée des artistes" is on the opposite side of the Palais Garnier, and most dancers are happy to give autographs (but sometimes it can require some waiting before they finally go out). I hope that you'll post some comments about the performance when you're back home! :)

About how to dress: well, there is much diversity in the POB audience, you can see some people dressed very formally and some others in jeans and tee-shirts, so do as you prefer and don't be stressed, whatever you wear, nobody will frown at you! B)

[Edited to add]: Thanks for the precisions, Françoise.

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Since I will have travelled that far to see my favorite ballet, I sure will be waiting at the "entree des artistes" after the performance!

Do you know who will dance Effie on July 15th? I am not very familiar with the names you guys cited. What are their ranks in the company?

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As far as I know, the casts for Effie aren't known yet by date.

It's not very surprising that you're not familiar with their names, as some of them aren't very well known even for the Paris audience...

Mélanie Hurel is a première danseuse (2nd rank of the company, after étoile= principal), Caroline Bance and Dorothée Gilbert are sujets (3rd category), Aurélia Bellet and Aurore Cordellier are coryphées (4th category).

There's a page on Mélanie Hurel on the POB web site, you can go there:


and click on her name. She's been a premiere danseuse since the end of 2002. I haven't been

very impressed by her so far, but in fact I haven't had many opportunities to see her.

Dorothée Gilbert is considered as one of the most promising young female dancers of the company, she's about 20-21 and got promoted to sujet last december and was already given a few important roles (in "Concerto Barocco", "Liebeslieder Walzer", "Don Quixote"). Caroline Bance and Aurélia Bellet are often cast in modern dance works, so I was a bit surprised to see their names. Aurore Cordellier was, if I remember correctly, at the POB school at the same time as Dorothée Gilbert.

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José Martinez should be replaced by Stéphane Phavorin but perhaps not on all his dates.

Stéphane Phavorin is sujet of POB and replace some years ago Manuel Legris injuried on stage at the end of the second variation in act 2. But he never dance the full part. It's a good news for a bad news :devil: !

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Guest Rosmarinus

According to the site of Jose Martinez, there might be a cast change. His dates of La Shlphide, he indicated on before were disappreared. Just we see the dates of Joyaux in Spain.


"Joyaux" de George Balanchine en Espagne

"Tourne'e oficielle de l'Ope'ra de Paris"

Agne`s Letestu et Jose' Martinez

le 30 juin et le 1 juillet a Madrid

le 9 et le 10 juillet a Barcelone


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I don't see the premiere but according to what I heard, Aurelie Dupont is a wonderful Sylphide, she is brilliant, light, and understood completely romantic style. Mathieu Ganio seemt to be very good technically and the opinions change concerning his acting, some find him wonderful, other too scolar.

I hope you will enjoy your performance with Mathieu and Isabelle. I know that I saw Isavelle when she just entered in corps in Taglioni/Lacotte version of Le papillon and I was completely charmed by her way to dance, her light, her style. I think she could be interesting in this part :wink: !

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The casts have been updated on the web site:


and so Stéphane Phavorin officially replaces José Martinez. Pity for Martinez, and I guess his fans must be quite disappointed, but at least it gives an opportunity to Stéphane Phavorin, a talented sujet who often has been forgotten by the direction (and also suffered from some injuries who slowered his career) to dance a big role.

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Naoko, I'm looking forward to reading your comment about what you saw! :)

Tonight I just saw a performance of it with Benjamin Pech and Delphine Moussin in the main roles (actually it was quite hard to get a ticket, and I ended up with yet another one of those awfully uncomfortable "reduced visibility" seats, but well, it was worth getting sore feet ;) ). I really appreciated a lot that performance, and found Delphine Moussin very well suited to the role, light, musical and expressive, even though she sometimes was technically a bit weak. As far as I know, this season is the first time she gets to dance it (twice, the first one was a few days ago), and I'm glad to have been there! Benjamin Pech was technically brilliant (that role is full of complicated variations, I remember an interview of Michaël Denard in which he said it was the most technically demanding role he had danced), and also quite expressive and moving, also Dorothée Gilbert was a charming Effie. And the corps de ballet was in top shape too. The only negative point was the orchestra which was quite average, and perhaps also the chemistry between the two main dancers could have been better.

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Hi - I'm back from a short trip to Paris.... here're quick thoughts on the performance of July the 1st. The cast were:

La Sylphide: Isabelle Ciaravola

James: Mathieu Ganio

Effie: Caroline Bance

La Sorciere: Jean-Marie Didiere

PDD des Ecossais: Myriam Kamionka & Mallory Gaudion

Trois Sylphides: Dorothee Gilbert, Myriam Kamionka, Severine Westermann

'A beautiful dreamer' - that's what Mathiu Ganio was, in the ballet. Perhaps the way he looked - too princely to be a simple Scottish peasant - but throughout Act I he had this atmosphere around him that it wasn't actually this world, where he's about to marry the girl called Effie, he belonged to. It appeared as if the young man's mind was constantly seeking an exit to the unknown world - so his encounter with the sylph seemed no coincidence; it happened quite naturally to this James, who looked like living in a reverie. A perfect introduction to the world of a romantic ballet, I thought.

It's not that rapport between James and Effie was weak; on the contrary they made a very pleasant, fresh and effective pair. Caroline Bance, whom I saw for the first time in a big role like this, was very convincing Effie; a petite blonde dancer who brightened up the stage with a sunny smile and a down-to-earth manner, she also possessed a secure technique (a very light footwork) and was good in acting department too. Mathieu Ganio, on the other hand, was not only a reliable partner but had a quality most desired for a danseur noble; he was a true chevalier! As to Mathieu's dancing - what a difference a few weeks could make (and during this while he was made to the top, 'etoile', of the company), I thought. He seemed far more comfortable in this role than Basilio in Don Q some weeks ago; gone are the nervous facial expressions I saw in his Basilio, this time he showed off confidence and youthful energy - what's best, Mathieu genuinely seemed to have enjoyed dancing the principal role and looked at ease being a central persona on the stage. Among awesomely gifted male etoiles of POB, Mathieu is not particularly strong on technique - that's how I've seen him. In fact with this James I wasn't completely carried away by his dancing itself - just yet. But what a great prospect he has before him - if he could achive this at tender age of 20, in a decade or so what will we be able to see? I can only have a very rosy picture in mind.....

Then came the heroine of the evening - Isabelle Ciaravola as la Sylphide. A dancer with an elegant line (long - but not too long), I was particularly fascinated by her port de bras. In this choreography, it appeared to me that movements down from one's wrists matter more - the way she folded her wrists; used her fingers - how eloquent it was! She also seemed to possess a strong advantage for the apparently demanding pointe works, having very beautiful and flexible feet. Her portrayal of the role was very likable - a femine, womanly slyph who was a charming and innocent seductress absolutely free from malicious intentions. She didn't put too much weight on coquetry nor she was a mysterious type. (Watching her sylph reminded me of the retired etoile, Carole Arbo. I imagined Arbo would have possibly made a similar portrayal - very feminine - not a chance?) Her partnership with Mathieu worked well, I thought - in fact they made a very handsome couple, and in Act II, together with Corps ladies who traded humble cotton dresses for long white tutus, every scene was a delight to watch; they would have made nothing but beautiful pictures......

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