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POB 2002-2003 season

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The next POB season was announced on Monday during a press

conference, and the POB web site has been updated today.

There will be a total of 170 performances (126 in Garnier,

44 in Bastille- it probably includes the performances by guest


The season will include:

-a mixed bill with Roland Petit's "Passacaille"

(created in 1994 for the POB), "L'Arlésienne" (1974),

and Jerome Robbins' "The Cage" (1951) and "Other Dances"


Garnier, Sept 25- Oct 5

-Rudolf Nureyev's "Swan Lake"

Bastille, Sept 27- Oct 30

-Angelin Preljocaj's "Casanova" (1998)

Garnier, Oct 17- 26

-John Neumeier's "Sylvia" (1997)

Bastille, Dec 20- Jan 14

-a mixed bill with a world premiere by Edouard Lock,

and Jiri Kylian's "Bella Figura" (1995)

Garnier, Nov 15- 23

-"Paquita" (Pierre Lacotte after Petipa)

Garnier, Dec 18- Feb 1

-POB school demonstrations

Garnier, Jan 19, 25, 26

-"Jewels" (George Balanchine, 1967)

Garnier, Feb 8- Mar 6

-a mixed bill with a world premiere by Saburo Teshigawara

and Mats Ek's "Appartement" (2000)

Garnier, Feb 26- Mar 14

-POB school program:

"Péchés de jeunesse" (Jean-Guillaume Bart, 2000)

"Jeu de cartes" (Janine Charrat, 1945)

"Mouvements" (Claude Bessy, 1980)

Garnier, April 5, 7, 11, 12

-a world premiere by Patrice Bart, "La petite danseuse

de Degas", on some original music by Denis Levaillant

Garnier, April 25- May 9

-a "Young dancers" program

Garnier, May 21- 25

-a Maurice Béjart mixed bill, including a world

premiere, "The Firebird" (1970), "Webern Opus V" (1976),

"Le Mandarin merveilleux" (1992, new in the repertory)

Bastille, May 13- June 19

-Kenneth MacMillan's "Manon" (1974)

Garnier, June 12-27


Garnier, July 4- 15

There will be two guest companies at the Palais

Garnier: the Hamburg Ballet with John Neumeier's "Nijinsky" (Jan 8- 12)

and the Nederlands Dans Theater with a Kylian- Inger- Lightfoot

mixed bill (May 13-17).

Some special events:

-a "homage to Nureyev" on Jan 20, with the Défilé and

a program to be announced (and very expensive seats...)

-the premiere of "Paquita" will be a special AROP

evening (not available for "normal" audience).

The premiere of "La petite danseuse de Degas" will also

be a special private evening.

-the premiere of "Jewels" will include the Défilé

and "Allegro Brillante" (with more expensive tickets)

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I do find that season quite disappointing. A lot of the works which are programmed have been shown recently: "Jewels", "Paquita", "Manon", "Other Dances" and "The Cage" in 2000-2001, "Giselle",

"Casanova", "Appartement" in 1999-2000, "Sylvia" and "Swan Lake" in 1999-1998, "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "Casanova, "L'Arlésienne" and "Manon" in 1997-98... And the NDT has already been invited in 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

I'm glad to see that "Paquita" and "Jewels" are back, as it had been for me some of the highlights of the previous season. But I am quite sad to see that, once again, much of the POB's repertory is getting completely neglected: no Lifar ("Suite en blanc" was last danced in 1996, his other works in 1990, except a few ones in galas or by the POB school), no "Palais de Cristal", no "Etudes", no Tudor, no Massine... The only people intereste din maintaining the Lifar repertory are Claude Bessy, who staged some works for the POB school, and Charles Jude, who regularly programs some Lifar in Bordeaux. Also, being a Balanchine fan, it is disappointing to see that only "Jewels" will be danced- in the last few seasons, the diet has been somewhat meagre (only "Prodigal son" and "Stravinsky violin concerto" this season). And among the four world premieres, two at most (Béjart and Bart) can qualify as ballet.

Some other news: a new law has been passed a few days ago, modifying the retirement system at the Paris Opera. So far, female dancers retired at 40 and male dancers at 45. Now the "normal" retirement age is 40 for everybody, but the direction may authorize some to retire at 42. Moreover, there will be a transitional period for the dancers who are now 36 or older: those who are 39 or older will still retire at 45, those between 36 and 39 will retire within 6 years.

We'll have to wait to know the effects of that measure, but for me it is a bit worrying to have the feeling that the company wishes to get rid of its senior dancers... Some dancers like Didière or Queval, who are now in their late 30s or early 40s, are cast very often, as there are many roles for them (Aurora's father, Don Quixote, a lot of "evil guys"), and forcing them to retire earlier would create a void. Actually, for the present production of Coppélia by Patrice Bart, the former soloist (and now assistant ballet master) Fabrice Bourgeois, now about 47, is back on stage for one of the main roles!

The POB site includes some press information. For example, there is some information about the budget (income about 150 million euros, which includes 90 million euros of subsidies, the subsidy per seat is about 105 euros) and the audience (average age: 44- I wonder how they calculate it? - total number of viewers in 2000-2001: 725000, filling rate 95%, for the ballet the lowest rates were 71% for Gallotta's "Nosferatu" in Bastille and 90% for "The Nutcracker" and the highest ones are 100% for 7 of the programs; for the present season, so far it ranges from 71% for the opera-ballet homage to Kochno to 99% for "Notre-Dame de Paris" and the december mixed bill).

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Thank you for taking the time to post this, Estelle. We wouldn't read this news at all for months here -- and it wouldn't be in nearly so much detail.

I can see that the repertory would be disappointing if one had seen these ballets regularly. And I totally agree with you about the lack of breadth and the exclusion of mid-20th century works.

I also find the early retirement age troubling. There's the thought that we can just bring in one of the retired dancers to do a Coppelius, or another mime role -- they're doing that in Denmark -- but it doesn't work. They need to be part of the company, taking class (at least barre), having some connection with the company, rehearsing, or else it will really look like a guest performance and not be integrated into the whole.

We'll see what changes the new management will make. If one can be optimistic.

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