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Paris Opera Ballet's Caligula

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Re: CALIGULA by Le Riche of POB, and mentioned by Helene in 'Opera about Ballet' thread. This sounds interesting to me, based on Camus. The threads of POB that mention it do not say anything about the piece, and for some reason 'Add Reply' does not work for me to ask it there . Does anyone know anything about it or have you seen it? Admittedly, this sounds more interesting to me than a full-length 'Wuthering Heights' which they've also got. Review links (including French) would be appreciated.



The above are links to an extract of Le Riche's ballet 'Caligula' and a website to Camus's play, which now interests me to read.

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Well, I saw it and I can't say I have a lot of memories of it. It wasn't as bad as I had expected. I'm saying bad, because I saw on TV Nicolas le Riche's first choreo. I think it was something made for Nancy's Balled called RBV 21, that means "rouge, vert, bleu (red, green, blue) 21 and it was really a contemporary work. I thought I could bear Caligula because the music is Vivaldi's four seasons so I decided to give it a try. It's fine, but nothing extraordinary. Claire-Marie Osta was an excellent moon, wearing a white tutu and dancing on pointes, the only dancer to do so if I remember well.

It's definitively a lot of better than RVB 21 though.

Here are some links

about the creative process (french)


reviews (english)





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cygneblanc--thanks so much for the report and all those articles which add up to something that I think I'd find most interesting, even though I'd have never imagined someone would think of Vivaldi and Caligula as a combination. The initial vision--Caligula's interest in the theatrical--is a convincing and profound image. Comments on the 'lack of intensity' with which to project madness is the more disturbing criticism. I would like to see it, and the Caligulesque costume didn't seem half wrong to me in the photo. I would have thought they'd have wanted to commission an entirely new score for this, but it still sounds like something far from dead, and that it might be worked some; I don't know how that sort of thing goes, though. The idea that new works do take time to take hold as noted by Lefevre is important, and chiefly, I disagree that this is a bad idea: I think it was an excellent idea. I may also try to look up some articles for 'Wuthering Heights', despite the fact that that seems an uninteresting idea for a ballet to me.

I had noticed on the thread I linked to of POB's strange 'touring' habits, including in France one year only Creteuil, I believe. Although some further remarks found them in Australia. I see I would truly love to see this company. Many thanks for taking the trouble to place those excellent links, all of which were worth reading.

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Well, actually, I think that Wuthering Height was an excellent idea, although I would rather have seen it as a purely classical work. Jose Martinez and Jean-Guillaume Bart, who create in classical mode, certainly could have done something excellent. That being said, Kader Berlabi's result is more than respectable, and his Wuthering Height's was extremely well received, at least by audiences. Although this piece ins't a favorite of mine, I can say it's truly something (and it's valid for Caligula, too), contrary to most of contemporary creations seen at POB's during the last years and it has some magnificent moments.

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cygneblanc--after I read some more about 'Wuthering Heights', I thought it sounded pretty striking too. But I was most entranced by some of what I read about Ms. Waltz's 'Romeo and Juliette', and that set is pretty fantastic. I know you said it wasn't your sort of thing (and I can definitely understand tickets being too expensive, as I suffer from this malady sometimes too), but is it Ms. Waltz's work in general that you aren't that interested in? I am seeing, as a result of what you've written and linked to that I most want to see new full-length ballets, not one-act ones. The newer one-act things I've seen at NYCB just don't hold up in a Balanchine house for the most part. And yet the 'going into the future with ballet' means someone as great as or greater than a Balanchine has to come forth, even if this sounds impossible. The companies that are trying to produce great Balanchine are doing something important, but these developments at POB are more vital than the preservation of old masterpieces, IMO. I hope POB keeps up this momentum. I'd be willing to forgive all criticism based on 'unfair parisianism': Centralization as traditionally practised by the French government in funding such as IRCAM is hardly one of the malignancies of the art world. I'd almost wager that it is the concentrated support of POB that may be giving it the power to do these big kinds of works. There's enough excitement of all this 'sharing' with scores of regional companies opening everywhere and previously ballet-deficient Asian nations exploding in enthusiasm and work all of a sudden (I don't know whether some of that has the look of China's recent musical-comedy experiments, all of which, except for 'My Fair Lady' were along theme-park lines, 'Les Miserables', 'Cats', etc..) What isn't nearly so prevalent is the gravity that properly-tyrannized-by-genius institutions alone seem to have always been able to provide.

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Well, I'm not interested in Waltz's work and generally, in contemporary dance , although I like very much Prejlocaj's le parc eg.

That does not mean I like only ballet with "tutus and pointes" :dunno: ! I love some 20 th century's choregraphers, among them Cranko, Ashton, MacMillan, Balanchine, Robins, Forsythe, Neumier....

Personnaly, I hope that POB won't keep up this momentum, because there are tons of places in Paris and elsewhere in the country in which such works can be producted and ballet is disappearing everywhere. One don't have to forget that Pob is funded by the State (and my taxes lol!). All that one act things we've seen the last few years are costly because not that many tickets are being sold and very few dancers are required while all the others are paid at the same time...But I think that both Kader Berlabi and Nicolas Le Riche's efforts weren't bad at all. I, and from what i heard, others, are expecting that either Jean-Guillaume Bart or /and José Martinez will try to choregraph a full-length ballet for POB, their shorter pieces being so promising.

Oh, and I believe that centralism isn't a problem at all for dance when it's contemporary. It's even rather bad, because I would prefer that ballet benefit from it, and actually that's not the case at all. And one more time, it's not I'm soured, at least I'm hope I'm not. Ticket for Waltz' s Romeo and Juliet was 130 euros: I elected to invest this money in a eurostar ticket sold at "a nasty price " (as it's being advertised!) and go to London to see Les Mis' one more time!

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The post/poll on high extensions, much of which was spent in discussions of Sylvie Guillem, was closed, so I thought I'd post this here, having watched the tape of '7 Ballets' by POB, including also 'Petit Pan' with Patrick Dupond. Truly wonderful tape, POB excellent at costuming to approach nakedness, I'll say.

But main thing is, I find that I see Ms. Guillem's technique differently according to the work, and in the clip of 'Grand Pas Classique', described below, I have a hard time imagining anyone more ideal:

"The choreography for this pas is not the work of Petipa, but rather of the choreographer Victor Gsovsky, created in 1949 for the grat ballerina Yvette Chauvire & the danseur Vladimir Skouratov @ the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris. The 1st US performed was by Cynthia Gregory & Ted Kivitt. The music is by Auber, taken from his 1830 opera-ballet "Le dieu et la bayadère", in which the great Marie Taglioni performed @ the old Paris Opera. Ballet is an artform RIPE with incorrect credits..... "

M. Auber's music is mediocre to the point of ultra-pedestrian organ-grinder stuff even by standards of other hokey types, so I just saw this as an ideal place to be as academically perfect and elegant as possible. This is not Aurora, and I was surprised to see that when it's a purely sterile thing like this one, that I even adore Ms. Guillem's outrageous art-nouveau legs, and even more, her feet, that look like some incredible tendrils in vases and lamps shaped like vines. Wow! Yes, I will say that in the right placement, those legs and feet have the capacity to hypnotize. I guess once you can pull off a look that extreme and over-refined, they'll let you do it anywhere, even if it's not appropriate. Here, with this plink-plonky music, you don't have any emotion to speak of at all, so it's athletic perfection made into perfect moving furniture.

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papeetepatrick if you haven't stumbled upon it yet, there is a news page with videos on the POB site. There are clips of Songe de Medee by Preljocaj (perhaps the most striking set of all, suspended silver buckets and a tree trunk), Wuthering Heights and Waltz's Romeo and Julliete.

Go here:


You can also find on youtube short clips of Sasha Waltz's other works, from Zweiland (which is more typical Sasha Waltz i.e. more tanztheater) to dido and aeneas.

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chrisk217--thanks! no, I hadn't. The clips were wonderful, I see that I have unexpectedly fallen in love with this company all of a sudden; they're the only ones I can imagine travelling to see, even if it's not in the immediate offing. I'll watch the YouTubes tomorrow, but the 'Wuthering Heights' was what knocked me out--WILD dancing! The sophistication of the colours, as in Medee's dress, too.

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