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miliosr

2017-18 Season

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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 1:49 AM, Laurent said:

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.

 

On ‎1‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 8:24 AM, Gnossie said:

-The second is the catastrophic quality of the dancers, absolutely atrocious.

The run of La Sylphide was an absolute disaster, 0 romanticism, no épaulement, mediocre footwork( you know POB is in ruins when the footwork is bad) and absolutely no acting skills, no artistry, someone please remind these people that they are supposed to tell a story.

So let me ask: Who are the current exemplars (if any) of the French style in the company?

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@Gnossie

The problems you are writing about are very real.

I share with you your highest opinion of Pierre Lacotte. I didn't think of him in your terms, but your idea that Lacotte should be for l'Opéra what Marius Petipa is for Mariinsky, and Grigorovich is for Bolshoi, a master choreographer whose work is associated with the artistic identity of the company, I find this idea fascinating, because whatever identity the ballet troupe of the Opéra had in the past, it has no identity anymore. A collection of dancers, many of whom, especially the youngest ones, don't know what are they doing in a work like, e.g., La Sylphide. I don't feel I can be as severe as you in my estimation of their ability when the passage of intimate knowledge from the greatest artists of one generation to the most talented ones of the next generation, which is the necessary mechanism for upholding excellence, has been severed, when the dancers are deprived of the daily contact with the classical idiom, when they are instead constantly occupied in works that could be perfectly fine at a place like Théâtre de Chaillot, but they are absolutely out of place on the stage of Grand Opéra. The presence of the great artists of the past in the company would make it simply impossible for Lefèvre, for Millepied, for Dupont, to carry out their repertoire and casting policies, therefore there cannot be any room at Opéra today for any of the legends of French ballet and the consequences are what they are.

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Pierre Lacotte's La Sylphide is a total pastiche imagining of the original La Sylphide. It's not like the Bournonville version in which Bournonville was remembering how the ballet was as he danced it with Marie Taglioni. For instance there's no way Effie would have danced on pointe as she does in Lacotte's version.

Edited by canbelto

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15 hours ago, canbelto said:

Pierre Lacotte's La Sylphide is a total pastiche imagining of the original La Sylphide. It's not like the Bournonville version in which Bournonville was remembering how the ballet was as he danced it with Marie Taglioni. For instance there's no way Effie would have danced on pointe as she does in Lacotte's version.

I am afraid the only part true may be "It's not like the Bournonville version".

I am not discussing personal opinions, I will be discussing facts. It's worth to remember that Bournonville left l'Opéra in 1830, while La Sylphide was produced in 1832. He couldn't dance it with Marie Taglioni. In fact, he never danced in Paris with Marie Taglioni. The two were dancers of entirely different rang. From the moment when Marie Taglioni debuted at l'Opéra, in April 1828, until Bournonville's departure from Paris, she was dancing exclusively with two stars of the company, celebrated danseurs, Monsieur Albert and Monsieur Paul, in the beginning she was also partnered by her brother, Paul Taglioni, and on a few, perhaps only three occasions, she was dancing with Lefebvre in the divertissement of the opera Le Rossignol. Bournonville, whose dancing career saw its peak in 1827 and was on a sharp decline already in 1828, and even more in 1829, was dancing with the likes of Mmes Athalie, Fourcisi, Hullin, Perceval, Vigneron, Louisa, Roland, i.e., with dancers of the second rang, like himself. Alluding to your post in another thread, if you wish you could see Bournonville dancing, I suggest that seeing either Albert or Paul would be much more rewarding.

Concerning your unassailable proof "For instance there's no way Effie would have danced on pointe as she does in Lacotte's version.", where does your certainty come from ? Barely a month had passed since Marie Taglioni debuted as an artiste of l'Opéra, when the ballet critic of Le Figaro was writing in May 1828:

Quote

A l’exemple de Mlle Taglioni , toutes ces dames ne procèdent plus que par pointes


And this was full four years before La Sylphide ! If "all these ladies, following the example of Mlle Taglioni, were proceeding only on pointes", do you think it possible that Lisa Noblet, the greatest star of l'Opéra of the day, second only to Taglioni, the Effie of the original La Sylphide, could proceed differently? Her name was listed in the programme of La Sylphide before the name of Taglioni. On lithographs preserved in the Opéra archives, Effie-Noblet is shown wearing pointes, as they looked at that time !


Thousands of people throughout Europe saw La Sylphide danced by Marie Taglioni. All the ballet personalities of the period 1832-1844. Bournonville was among them. In his own production of 1836, he was prevented from using the original music. Do you think he was allowed to use the original choreography? In 1861 Marius Petipa, who at that time was unknown outside Petersbourg (it will be nine more years before he finally becomes the chief maître de ballet there), used just one single pas de seul by Perrot in a ballet produced for his own wife. The scandal this created led to a court case in Paris, followed intently by the parisian press, and Marius Petipa was convicted guilty ! This is how he gained the notoriety before, almost 40 years later, gaining in Paris recognition also as a consummate choreographer.

So, Bournonville was unable to use the music, very unlikely to be able to use the choreography, and certainly not having at his disposal stars like Mlle Noblet for the secondary roles like Effie. Which proves your case that Bournoville's Sylfiden was indeed very different.

According to what I know, Pierre Lacotte's most valuable asset in his reconstitution of the original La Sylphide was the archive inherited from the heirs of Taglioni. My recollection is it's been kept at Louvre, uncatalogued, in an unknown location. It was a miracle that Locatte was able to locate it, finding the archive provided him with an enormous stimulus and, perhaps, an invaluable information about the ballet, not available from any other source. He also, of course, was perfectly familiar with everything that was preserved from Bournonville's work in toto, not just Sylfiden, plus all the testimonies and descriptions. By that time Lacotte was also uniquely equipped with all that he could have had learned directly from the great ballerinas steeped in the 19-th century ballet variations, like Carlotta Zambelli or Lioubov Egorova, who were still alive and active when he was young. Pierre Lacotte may be the last person in France who knows those variations. This knowledge will be irretrievably lost when he passes away, thanks to what has become of ballet in France during last 20 years.

In the end, what counts is how successful is the result of his work. In my opinion, it is a chef-d'œuvre. Now, you can proceed and compare the result with some of the works presented to the public as reconstructions, "as faithful as possible", of the original versions of ballets. One of them was broadcast recently from Bolshoi. Then you have at least two versions of the "authentic Petipa" Swan Lake, Esmeralda, Raymonda, Ivanov's Nutcracker, and of course, two versions of the "authentic Petipa" Sleeping Beauty.

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4 hours ago, Laurent said:

So, Bournonville was unable to use the music, very unlikely to be able to use the choreography, and certainly not having at his disposal stars like Mlle Noblet for the secondary roles like Effie. Which proves your case that Bournoville's Sylfiden was indeed very different.

 

The use of a different score for the Bournonville version is an interesting historical detail. At least according to some, Bournonville could not afford to purchase the rights to the French score and commissioned a new one. See "musical notes" near the bottom on this site, e.g.:

http://www.bournonville.com/bournonville14.html

"Baron Herman Severin Løvenskiold, a composer who has since been neglected, composed the music for Bournonville's version of La Sylphide. There was not enough money to buy the admired tones of Schneitzhoeffer's original Paris production. Instead, Bournonville worked closely with the 20-year-old nobleman Løvenskiold, with the intention of creating new, melodious and dramatically illustrative music that could support the ballet master's version of this story. "

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16 hours ago, Gnossie said:

No, are you?

No, I was just asking, because most of what you had written at first looked so odd to me.  You have considerably edited your post and most of it has been erased, I don't really want to comment your taste...

Anyway, in my opinion, Mathieu  Ganio is an elegant dancer that I like to watch in classical pieces for his refinement, his delicacy of movement and he is an excellent partner. He is yes a good representative of the French style, but he’s neither a great actor (although he tends to improve), neither a great technician.
Hervé Moreau? I don't know... He is the Ghost of the opera. His most popular role is probably… himself in the Défilé!  He must have danced in not more than 20 programmes or so since he has been made Etoile in 2006. That night was the last time I saw him in a classical ballet and this run of Bayadère (March 2006) was indeed the last time he danced a classical role in Paris!!! If he is not cast in Onegin (where he was quite good indeed), it is because he can’t simply perform and in fact, it would have been reasonable for him and honest to the company, to resign years ago, as Jean-Guillaume Bart did.
 

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@Gnossie

Perhaps a more important reason than using a different score was that, in order to reproduce Filippo Taglioni's choreography, Bournonville would have needed to secure a permission to do that, in which case the production would bear the name of Taglioni, not of Bournonville (I am leaving aside how much this would have cost Bournonville). There is after all a reason why Bournonville's "Sylphide" is called this way. On the other hand, there are known precedents at that time of a ballet having the musical score changed while retaining the name of the choreographer.

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I wholeheartedly agree on Gnossie's Opinion on Herve Moreau, he was the finest dancer dancing Onegin in his generation, even better than the dancers from Stuttgart. It is unfortunate that he was injured so much that he rarely was on stage these recent years, but he had appeared in some galas in Japan and did show his excellent artistry. Also Mathieu Ganio has been maturing as an artist while representing the French tradition and becoming a fine actor. 

I enjoyed reading Gnossie's opinion on POB dancers, and of course we all have our own preferences and tastes but I think they are a very good view and agreed on many of them (not all), so it is a pity that many of them were deleted. 

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We all have personal taste and me too I think Hervé Moreau was really good in Onegin but this is not enough to qualify him as the artist of the company! He has cancelled so many times, so often at the last minute putting his colleagues (partners and substitutes) in difficult situations with side effects on the audience too! Someone who has shown up so little on stage in so few ballets can of cause keep an aura but, to my opinion, he doesn’t deserve it.

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20 hours ago, Gnossie said:

Yes,  silvermash, you shouldn't comment on my taste, I already know it's exquisite.

:lol:

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I suspect whoever responsible to casting in POB has some misunderstanding on the story and its spirit. 

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8 hours ago, Rosalie said:

I suspect whoever responsible to casting in POB has some misunderstanding on the story and its spirit. 

Dupont is doing the casting but Reid Anderson came last November to check the dancers

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On 1/14/2018 at 7:46 PM, Gnossie said:

 

Among the women:

In the technical department: Charline Giezendanner.

In the Acting department: Eve Grinsztajn.

In the Allure department: Myriam Ould- Braham. 

In the Diva department: La Gillot.

Thank you for an exciting discussion. I know very little about the POB and the French style and it is exciting to be getting into it, so watching lots of videos and trying to remember the precious few performances of Paris dancers that I had been fortunate enough to see.

For now, out of the active ladies really enjoying Gillot and Pagliero, the others don't care about as much for some reason, but will keep watching.

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Does Gillot dance much classical ballet anymore? I don't remember her being cast in anything recently.

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15 minutes ago, ballet_n00b said:

Does Gillot dance much classical ballet anymore? I don't remember her being cast in anything recently.

No, but it's a moot point as she's on the verge of retiring from the company.

Edited by miliosr

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 3:57 PM, Rosalie said:

I suspect whoever responsible to casting in POB has some misunderstanding on the story and its spirit. 

The casting has been consistently erratic under Dupont's rule of the company. By now this is a common knowledge. Cranko's Onéguine however is not exactly Pouchkine or Russian in spirit, and the casting to me seems much less controversial than for the last remnants of classics in the repertoire.

Great artists, like Pagliero, can be compelling in almost any role, including the ones for which they were not amply equipped by nature. I, for once, find Marchand, the current favourite of la directrice , to be a perfect choice for Onéguine, whose principal feature after all is that he was a young dandy, and Marchand is the dandy of the company. I am much less convinced that Bullion, who projects depth and sensitivity quite uncharacteristic of a dandy is cast as Onéguine too. Likewise for an unlikely Tatiana, Gilbert. We may be treated to surprises though, and I would certainly want to see Bullion in a major role again. On the other hand, Albisson and, yes, Park, seem to me to be well cast. I am much more inclined to see Albisson acting than dancing classics. Park may on the other hand project well naïve faith in love.

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9 hours ago, ballet_n00b said:

Does Gillot dance much classical ballet anymore? I don't remember her being cast in anything recently.

But there are videos of her classical ballet performances on YouTube.

I  must say, I thought I would see the superstars of POB in Emeralds in New York last summer, must cannot say that I was overly impressed. Rechecking the cast, the performances featured Pujol, Ould-Braham, O'Neill, Eun Park, Colasante, Baulac and Gilbert. Apart from remembering that I thought that Heymann and Marchand were two EXTREMELY good looking men, there is not much I can say about those performances, they left me largely disinterested. I am even surprised to see that Ganio was actually also among the performers I saw then, he did not  leave much of an impression with me, so I have forgotten he was even there. Although I had seen him at other times and found him to be outstanding.

Perhaps, Balanchine's choreography is wanting in terms of showcasing the considerable talents of the POB artists. But if Gillot no longer dances, I am afraid Pagliero is probably the only dancer at the POB I would specifically go to see live right now.

Edited by Fleurdelis

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It's been long since Marie-Agnès Gillot has danced a classial ballet , in Paris at least... I think it was in Cinderella in 2011. She has danced Myrtha in Giselle though in the 2012 US Tour and 2013 Australian Tour

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I think the company could have really used someone like Mathilde Froustey to headline its female ranks right now. I saw her a long time ago as Giselle and was awe-stricken.

And what I see right now, at least on videos which may be a very poor way to judge things, are dancers going through the motions, some better, some worse, but without any feeling, whether internal or outwardly expressed, I just don't see personalities. It is true that no personality can be above a company, but a company also needs personalities to maintain identity. Her departure for SF feels like it was a lose-lose for her and the POB.

Edited by Fleurdelis

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Looks like the promotions game at the POB is also complicated

Edited by Fleurdelis

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14 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

I  must say, I thought I would see the superstars of POB in Emeralds in New York last summer, (...)

Perhaps, Balanchine's choreography is wanting in terms of showcasing the considerable talents of the POB artists. But if Gillot no longer dances, I am afraid Pagliero is probably the only dancer at the POB I would specifically go to see live right now.

There are no "superstars" in Paris left, if we talk about female dancers. Pagliero is not a superstar, she is a great artist. The only one in the company. Before, there was Ciaravola who, when she was retiring, was the only true, not paper, étoile. Currently, O'Neill is, I think, the strongest. Unfortunately, she is afflicted with an exceptional even for today's standards, lack of understanding of great classics. In her Odette (the only representation she was allowed by Dupont, by the way), she made an impression of somebody watching Swan Lake, just once, and long ago, in childhood perhaps, and later completely forgetting what was it about, to the point of even bursting onto the stage too early and after realizing her mistake quickly running back into the wings. Her "La Sylphide" would be more aptly named "La Courtisane". In 19-th century it would be proper to show it at one of the "boulevard theatres", not at l'Opéra. I don't recall of ever feeling so disappointed. She at least has strong technique, the vast majority of others lack. I know most of younger girls in the company and I don't see anyone who could develop. The best trained dancers, like Guérineau, are getting older, not better, and their opportunities for artistic fulfilment under Dupont became extremely limited; Giezendanner, I think, already gave up, a wasted talent.

I attend all public performances of l'École de danse, and the situation with females, especially when compared to the Vaganova, is simply depressing.

Froustey left because she was approaching that age when you simply can't wait for the success to come. I saw her Giselles. They were good, I wasn't awe struck. For me Giselle must radiate some kind of inner innocence or at least inner tenderness. Bereft of either, she felt like somebody capable to be in love only with herself.

What we are facing now in Paris is the total decline of the "ballerina". Courtesy of the combined efforts of Lefèvre and Dupont. Apparently, Aurélie Dupont wants to go in history as the last French ballerina...

Edited by Laurent
corrected spelling

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4 hours ago, Laurent said:

Froustey left because she was approaching that age when you simply can't wait for the success to come. I saw her Giselles. They were good, I wasn't awe struck. For me Giselle must radiate some kind of inner innocence or at least inner tenderness. Bereft of either, she felt like somebody capable to be in love only with herself.

There are different ways of approaching this. Froustey's interpretation of Giselle in the wilis act was that of an otherworldly ghost. And, unless I am missing something, supernatural female spirits who roam the forest at night looking to kill those who had done them wrong could be pretty dark and scary. Tenderness and innocence may have been Giselle's qualities while she was still alive, but now she was only a ghost, perhaps an illusion. Which is why her saving Albrecht is so remarkable, because he is essentially rescued by this ominous forest spirit who, incredibly, preserves the ability to love and to forgive. 

Maybe there was no tenderness in the first act, I didn't see it, but her wilis was incredible.

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I would've thought Marchand being in his 20s would be a good quality for playing Onegin, no? Since this is the character's age. I can't speak for his acting ability since I've never seen him. I like Ould-Braham, she's a doll (very mimi indeed!) and reminds me a bit of Kaptsova because of this quality. I haven't decided which casts I'm going to see yet, definitely Pagliero, who I see in everything, but I've started to take an interest in seeing multiple casts. I might see whichever has Marion Barbeau's Olga since I follow her too. I actually know nothing of this ballet, but Pushkin's novel is my absolute favourite and Tchaikovsky's opera too (which I saw Netrebko sing at Bastille last year). I've never actually seen Gillot dance, because I don't like contemporary dance. 

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The Le Figaro article is being discussed here:

 

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