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miliosr

2017-18 Season

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I'm not a huge follower of Karl Paquette but I don't remember he has to drop out of Jewels?  At least I saw him there more than a couple of times at the beginning and at the end of the run, and he was dancing also A-bras-le-corps at Centre national de danse during this period. It's extremely rare that he's cancelling performances. If you like him, just go!

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He missed the performance on 11 October, which is the one I attended.

I was pretty disappointed.

Maybe I'll try to see two nights then; one with Pagliero and one with Paquette, even if I'm kind of really stretching my budget here.

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I ended up taking two tickets; one to see Paquette on the 13th of December, the other to see Pagliero on the 24th.

Now I pray to the ballet gods that I get to see these two dance as expected!

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On ‎11‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 8:26 AM, naomikage said:

By the way Paquette is replacing an injured Marchand in the current run of Agon. 

Paquette is covering the last 5 performances of Agon. So. once again, he is the "iron man" of the company.

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Vincent Chaillet has announced on Instagram that he's leaving the company starting with the 2018-19 season. I'm not sure if it's a permanent departure or if he's just taking a leave.

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5 hours ago, miliosr said:

Vincent Chaillet has announced on Instagram that he's leaving the company starting with the 2018-19 season. I'm not sure if it's a permanent departure or if he's just taking a leave.

As for now, it's just a season off...

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Do we know the reasoning behind casting etoiles as Cupid in Don Q? Gilbert has only 2 Kitris, but 5 Cupids, and Ould-Braham has 3 of both. I don't remember Cupid being cast with etoiles (or even first soloists) before. 

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work, money? Only two shows while about 40 shows in December for the Company... Cupid has been danced by Premières danseuses (First soloists) in the past.  I remember Ould-Braham Hurel but there may be  others

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The other night we had three étoiles dancing together, with Ould-Braham as Kitri, Renavand as the Queen of the Dryads and Gilbert as Cupid.

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9 hours ago, ballet_n00b said:

The other night we had three étoiles dancing together, with Ould-Braham as Kitri, Renavand as the Queen of the Dryads and Gilbert as Cupid.

Four (Karl Paquette as basilio :)) ... It's not unusual to have an Etoile dancing Queen of the Dryads

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21 hours ago, miliosr said:

James Whiteside posted this backstage photo from Isabella Boylston's performance in Don Q:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdK-vIVF_Ul/?hl=en&taken-by=jamesbwhiteside

Is Whiteside trying to look like Diaghilev with that coat? And, yes, I think we can all agree that Mathieu Ganio is a "major babe".

He does look very Diaghilev. Very chic. And, Boylston’s tutu is gorgeous. Anyone catch her performance?

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I saw the December 25th performance. It was alright but no memorable, from both sides. Mathieu Ganio is a danseur noble and Basilio is not his best role, He lacks energy, speed and a big jump. However, his dance is very classy, the epitome of French style. That was a culture shock with Isabella Boylston. I found she lacked speed but she has a stage presence, however a little bit too showy for a performance with an entire cast with different stage culture. Her Kitri was  not very well defined from theatrical point of view. Technically, she was very nervous in the third act despite Ganio being a very good partner… Well, I had seen Ludmila Pagliero the day before and I believe she’s for me the perfect Kitri (despite not very well partnered in the Xmas eve performance by a young choryphée), so it might also be the difference between the two which tempered my views on the ABT dancer.

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Well she chose Alexander Ekman and he did the same kind of piece he is used to with a different theme but with more or less the same tricks so she has all reasons to be happy. It is also a great success, standing ovation nearly each night (dancers at the end are “playing” balls with the audience so it might be a reason of this popular excitement). I’m not sure ballet goers are so happy. This is a very entertaining piece, with spectacular and some beautiful visual moments, a very moving pas de deux Mats Ek style in the second act, but all and all, there is little dance, especially at the level expected by and for Paris Opera Ballet dancers. Most of the dance is superficial. The “play” theme is also, from my point of view, explored at a very basic level, not very satisfying intellectually speaking (when you’re young, you play, it’s fun, when you’re old, you work and it’s boring). 
My personal opinion is that Alexander Ekman failed to adapt to the level of POB dancers, he just made a piece of his own style, effective, but with little will to understand the particularity of the company. Up to me, creations should be a collaboration of both.
It has been filmed so everyone will be able soon to have a personal opinion


 

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15 hours ago, silvermash said:

Well she chose Alexander Ekman and he did the same kind of piece he is used to with a different theme but with more or less the same tricks so she has all reasons to be happy. It is also a great success, standing ovation nearly each night (dancers at the end are “playing” balls with the audience so it might be a reason of this popular excitement). I’m not sure ballet goers are so happy. This is a very entertaining piece, with spectacular and some beautiful visual moments, a very moving pas de deux Mats Ek style in the second act, but all and all, there is little dance, especially at the level expected by and for Paris Opera Ballet dancers. Most of the dance is superficial. The “play” theme is also, from my point of view, explored at a very basic level, not very satisfying intellectually speaking (when you’re young, you play, it’s fun, when you’re old, you work and it’s boring). 
My personal opinion is that Alexander Ekman failed to adapt to the level of POB dancers, he just made a piece of his own style, effective, but with little will to understand the particularity of the company. Up to me, creations should be a collaboration of both.
It has been filmed so everyone will be able soon to have a personal opinion

Well put, Silvermash. You bring up an important issue: with many companies, these contemporary 'ballets' function as a novelty act but rarely feel a natural part of a company's dance DNA. The dancers usually enjoy taking on a wholly different approach - for a lark. But as there is no commitment to becoming an 'Eckman company' (or whoever else), and the choreographer isn't creating a ballet around the individual skills and personality quirks of the dancers, what we get is a set art piece. And the dancing will be easily set on any large company (the technical 'atmospheric' effects may be a different matter). But we won't get an experience unique to the POB, or anyone else.

Edited by pherank

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4 hours ago, pherank said:

You bring up an important issue: with many companies, these contemporary 'ballets' function as a novelty act but rarely feel a natural part of a company's dance DNA. The dancers usually enjoy taking on a wholly different approach - for a lark. But as there is no commitment to becoming an 'Eckman company' (or whoever else), and the choreographer isn't creating a ballet around the individual skills and personality quirks of the dancers, so what we get is a set art piece. And the dancing will be easily set on any large company (the technical 'atmospheric' effects may be a different matter). But we won't get an experience unique to the POB, or anyone else.

I would take it a step further and say that these pieces can be actively hostile to classical technique. Or, to put it somewhat more mildly, by employing so many dancers on a piece where their technique and the company style are largely unneeded for these long stretches of performance dates, the technique and the style can begin to slide.

I also think that some of these "contemporary" pieces are vampiristic in nature: They feed off classical technique and style to make themselves look more significant than they really are. (I put "contemporary" in quotes because, really, is Play all that different from what Yvonne Rainer & co. were doing 50 years ago except, now, Ekman is doing the big budget, M-G-M version of it?)

I suppose Play isn't a catastrophe when you have the other half of the company performing Don Q at the same time. Of course, this highlights the current predicament the POB finds itself in: It's two companies -- classical and contemporary -- residing uneasily with one another in a single body.

 

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It’s not really that because most of the dancers chosen by Ekman are excellent, a lot of experienced sujets that have had solo roles before in classical ballets, they are excellent in the classics but they preferred to do a creation, because the work is more exciting than to be a torero or a dryad in Don Quixote. There are also new promising dancers. The casting of Don Quixote this year, with a small group of dancers dancing all the interesting roles in turns (Etoiles dancing Cupidon, Premières danseuses dancing Kitri’s friends, etc.), not giving the chance to others to show what they can do, is not going to change the interest for contemporary work.

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On ‎12‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 5:03 PM, miliosr said:

I would take it a step further and say that these pieces can be actively hostile to classical technique. Or, to put it somewhat more mildly, by employing so many dancers on a piece where their technique and the company style are largely unneeded for these long stretches of performance dates, the technique and the style can begin to slide.

I also think that some of these "contemporary" pieces are vampiristic in nature: They feed off classical technique and style to make themselves look more significant than they really are. (I put "contemporary" in quotes because, really, is Play all that different from what Yvonne Rainer & co. were doing 50 years ago except, now, Ekman is doing the big budget, M-G-M version of it?)

I suppose Play isn't a catastrophe when you have the other half of the company performing Don Q at the same time. Of course, this highlights the current predicament the POB finds itself in: It's two companies -- classical and contemporary -- residing uneasily with one another in a single body.

 

You make several excellent points, especially about the current repertoire of the Opéra being "actively hostile to classical technique". And not just "technique", also to the very understanding what that technique is supposed to convey. This has been very much in evidence in the bloc of Sylphides at the end of the last season. For many younger dancers "Sylphide" was a foreign territory, they didn't feel it and had difficulty dancing. Since I know quite a number of company dancers, from the bottom ranks to the very top, I know how they feel. I saw all 11 spectacles and consider Lacotte's "La Sylphide" to be an absolute masterpiece. It, as well as the original "Coppélia", should be always in the repertoire, they aren't. After 140 years, we lost marvelous "Coppélia" due to Mme Lefèvre. Thanks to her, we very rarely see "La Sylphide". I had a sense that Pierre Lacotte, present with Ghislaine Thesmar (what a fabulous artist she was) at every single performance, was thinking this was the last time in his life that he was seeing "La Sylphide" on the stage of Palais Garnier. With Mlle Dupont making chaotic decisions about casting, with her reprehensible repertoire choices, I am afraid he will not live to see another "La Sylphide". Pierre Lacotte is the only living choreographer with a profound knowledge and understanding of the classical idiom. Having somebody like him around, and not using him for the advantage of the troupe is truly lamentable.

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On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 6:25 AM, Laurent said:

I saw all 11 spectacles and consider Lacotte's "La Sylphide" to be an absolute masterpiece. It, as well as the original "Coppélia", should be always in the repertoire, they aren't. After 140 years, we lost marvelous "Coppélia" due to Mme Lefèvre.

I would add Giselle to your list of Coppelia and La Sylphide as works that should always be cycling in-and-out of repertory.

When you refer to the "lost" Coppelia, are your referring to the Pierre Lacotte production that premiered in 1973-74 and repeated (according to the POB's own Web site) in 1974-75, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1979-80 and 1983-84? The Web site states that the Patrice Bart production premiered in 1995-96 (at the relative dawn of Madame Lefevre's tenure) and repeated in 1998-99, 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2010-11.

 

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Posted (edited)

Lacotte' Sylphide is not currently that forgotten as it has been in the repertoire of seasons 2012-2013 and 2016-2017. It has been presented in Japan in 2017 and was supposed to be part of the cancelled 2018 US tour. POB had his Paquita during seasons 2007-2008, 2010-2011, 2014-2015 and has toured to Canada, China  and Russia... So Lacotte is not forgotten either

 

Edited by silvermash

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On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 4:30 PM, miliosr said:

I would add Giselle to your list of Coppelia and La Sylphide as works that should always be cycling in-and-out of repertory.

When you refer to the "lost" Coppelia, are your referring to the Pierre Lacotte production that premiered in 1973-74 and repeated (according to the POB's own Web site) in 1974-75, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1979-80 and 1983-84? The Web site states that the Patrice Bart production premiered in 1995-96 (at the relative dawn of Madame Lefevre's tenure) and repeated in 1998-99, 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2010-11.

 


I apologize for a long post but, in order to properly answer, I must put certain things in their historical perspective. Giselle was last performed in Paris in 1868, there were plans for a reprise in 1870-ies, that came to nought, there was still a chance to preserve it from oblivion in 1880-ies when the original Albrecht, Lucien Petipa, was hired again as a professeur at l'Opéra, having been mercilessly kicked some twelve years earlier by Perrin. There were two beautiful representatives of the French school of dance who were considered worthy of the principal part, Léontine Beaugrand and, later, Julia Subra. Unfortunately, this didn't happen, the repertoire policies during ensuing 25 years of Gailhard, a man fundamentally hostile to ballet, at the helm of the Opéra, brought disastrous results for French ballet. The French ballet was then saved from extinction essentially by the Russians and a lucky coincidence of the miseries inflicted on them by the October Revolution, that sent many of their ballet luminaries to Paris as refugies. When Karsavina performed for the first time Giselle in 1910, the leading critics had to remind their readers what Giselle was about, by that time it was so irretrievably lost. Today Giselle danced, infrequently, at l'Opéra, descends from the Russian version, staged more than 40 years after the premiere in Paris.

Coppélia was the only ballet staged in Paris that never disappeared from the affiche. Until it was removed by Mme Lefèvre. There was a precedence, in 1960-ies. When Michel Descombey became directeur du ballet in 1962, Coppélia saw its 710-th representation. Descombey had an idea that something so perfect choreographically and musically must be replaced by a modern, what I call, "plastic", version (this was the dawn of the "plastic era"), and he produced his own Coppélia, by discarding Saint-Léon's brilliant choreography. The new Coppélia had 64 representations. It was on the affiche as long as he was in charge of the ballet at l'Opéra. It was shelved right after he was replaced and, by the initiative of Claude Bessy or Raymond Franchetti, Pierre Lacotte was entrusted with bringing back the original Coppélia. In the first 2 acts, Lacotte is essentially faithfully adhering to the original choreography that was still "in the limbs" of many dancers in Paris, he was allowed to exercise some creativity in his "reconstruction" of the divertissement of the 3rd act, that stopped to be performed already in 1873, essentially because a 3-act long ballet, it was always shown after an opera, was ending very late, often after midnight. That was considered too tiring for the public.

That the Lacotte's Coppélia was considered to be "bringing back" the classic work, not a new work, is reflected in the fact that the numbering of representations, recorded in the Opéra archives, was resumed from the last time the original Coppélia was performed in 1962, while Descombey's own Coppélia had its own representation numbering.

I saw lots of photographs, I saw decorations from Descombey's production, I didn't see the work itself. I am not aware of any recording either. It still could be a lot better than Patrice Bart's "modernization" with which Mme Lefèvre replaced the original Coppélia. Thankfully, we have a glorious recording of the École de danse performance of the original 2 acts. I consider it to be the most valuable recording made during almost 20 years of Lefèvre's era, for which we must be thankful solely to Claude Bessy and Pierre Lacotte. This is a unique document of a great choreographic tradition and of the original French style. It is also a monument to the work of Claude Bessy as directrice de l'École de danse. The quality of the school badly deteriorated since then due to lack of discipline and a lack of vision what are the aims of the ballet education.

Lacotte's recreation of La Sylphide has been done with such an incomparable taste, knowledge and feeling of the classical French idiom, it is impossible, in my opinion, to overestimate its importance. After 2001, we had only 3 times (!!) La Sylphide on the affiche, in 2004, in 2013, and last season, in July 2017, nine years apart, then four years apart ("only" four years, perhaps, because it happened after Lefèvre's removal). And no Coppélia in the repertoire of the company (it was shown twice by the school) since Noureev's complete désintéressment in French classics (which I ascribe to the misguidedly wrong idea instilled in him in 1950-ies in the USSR that the only worthy ballet works were Russian).

So, three times in almost 17 years, a work emblematic to the French style, opening the golden era in the history of French and the world ballet, and zero times, of the other work, the only authentic document of that grand style, that closed the golden era for us in Paris.

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