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"Jewels" at the POB, february-march 2003

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The casts for the upcoming performances of "Jewels" at the Paris Opera have just been published on the POB's website:


Of course, some changes are likely to happen...

It already is a bit different from the names which had already been published on the web site (without dates). Briefly, there will be (* means "new role"):

Allegro Brillante (on the first day only): Maurin and Bart


1st pas de deux:

Pujol *-Paquette * (7)

Maurin- Romoli (6)

Averty *- Duquenne (2)

Rique *- Moreau * (2)

2nd pas de deux:

Osta *- Belarbi (6)

Daniel - Belarbi (2)

Abbagnato *- Bullion (3)

Moussin- Novis (2)

Moussin -Bridard * (2)

Daniel- Bridard (2)

Pas de trois:

Abbagnato, Daniel, Hurel, Kamionka,

Doisneau *, Muret *, Fiat, Cardinale

Moreau, Thibault, Phavorin, Carbone *,



Moussin- Legris -Gillot or Averty

Abbagnato- Legris- Averty or Gillot or Romberg

Daniel *- Thibault (Katharine, book your seat! ;)- Rique

Fiat-Courtain- Romberg

Osta *- Belingard - Averty * or Romberg

Osta -Carbone *- Rique or Averty


Letestu- Martinez

Gillot- Bart

Moussin- Moreau

Averty- Duquenne

I'm a bit skeptical about the current policy of having a lot of different casts, and some dancers dancing many roles in the same program (for example Moussin and Averty will be dancing in all three parts): probably the dancers like it, because it gives them an opportunity to have a large repertory, but it seems to me that it probably means that not much rehearsal time is spent on each role...

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It's perhaps too many rehearsals but it's the same style and it's more easy for them I presume to dance a part in each ballet.

Some time we're complaint because we don't have choice, but this time if the dancer don't injury themn we have too many cast to see. Each night you have something interesting, and too many "debuts" in different ballets. We never are happy :D

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Originally posted by Françoise

It's perhaps too many rehearsals but it's the same style and it's more easy for them I presume to dance a part in each ballet.  

Well, I take your point that we're torn between wanting novelty and wanting well-rehearsed performances, but the three ballets in Jewels are not the same style, unless you lump all Balanchine ballets together. Emeralds is lyrical, Rubies aggressive, Diamonds classical. If they are danced in the same style, it definitely means they need more rehearsal!

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Or, Emeralds is French; Rubies, American; and Jewels, Russian :) "Jewels" is often viewed as being Balanchine's tribute to the three countries with which he felt a special affinity (in addition to what Leigh wrote above, with which I agree.) There are other differences among the ballerina roles as well. When we first discussed employ on these boards, I remember that a dancer who had danced in one of these ballets and was familiar with all of them instantly "got" the idea of employ and went through the ballets, putting each dancer in the proper category.

A belated thank you for taking the time and trouble to post those casts, Estelle.

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What I want to say, it's more easy to dance three ballets from Balanchine, than alternating a leading part in a ballet from Neumeier at Bastille, a ballet from Lacotte, in same time.

Some dancer will appear too in the next program Tetsuo shebigawara, and Mats Ek. And I think it's really more difficult to jump from a Balanchine to a Mats Ek than from Emeralds to Diamonds, even Emeralds is lyric, it's classical dance, and it's the same kind of steps, it's not three different language and not from three different choreograph. I will add that Balanchine is my favourite choreograph and I know perfectly what he makes !

I perfectly know that each ballet is a tribute to the three big school of dance, the lyricism and the french style in Emeralds, the jazzy, quickly american dance (some steps seems to come from musicals especially for the leading man), in Rubies, and naturly the classicism of Russian School in Diamonds, whose pdd is evocating Swan Lake in too many attitudes !

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This evening on TV we got to see a short story about Jewels, featuring Agnes Letestu and José Martinez. The good news is you can watch it ! Go to www.france2.fr. Then click on "journal de 20 heures" (8PM news) : this is the third picture from your left.

Then click on the day : 8/02/03 and the video of the 8 PM news will be played. This story is the last one; the previous one is about a movie with Leonardo Dicaprio. I hope it will help you to find it, so you won't have to watch the whole emission:D

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Thanks cygneblanc!

There also was something about it in yesterday's 1 PM news, with some short interviews of Agnès Letestu, José Martinez, Clairemarie Osta and Mathilde Froustey (one of the youngest members of the corps de ballet). The quality of the video is quite good. It is at the end (it starts around the 41st minute).

How to access it (well, their site is quite a mess and it's not easy to find the direct URLs!):

go to


and then click on "journal de 13h" (the photo in the middle), and it will open a smaller window,

then it s the line "lundi 10/02" (you can save it or see it directly).

Or to see it directly with realplayer: try to paste this in your realplayer plugin:


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I saw two performances of that program: the season premiere, on Feb 8th, and the first performance of the second cast, on Feb 12th.

The first performance included the Défilé, a rare treat these days, and also "Allegro Brillante"- unfortunately, the only performance of that ballet this season.

Our seats were very high and we couldn't see one part of the stage (and also the back of the stage with the Foyer and the mirrors during the défilé), so the défilé was a bit less impressive that usually, but it nonetheless was a wonderful event. It started with the female students of the POB school, from the youngest to the oldest, and then the female company dancers, all of them in white tutus: the quadrilles and the coryphées surrounding the premières danseuses (Hurel, Romberg, Daniel, Abbagnato, Gillot, Moussin, Riqué, Averty), then the sujets aroung the female étoiles (the most recently promoted first: Osta, Pujol (their first défilé), Letestu, and Maurin (perhaps her last défilé- she was welcomed with much enthusiasm by the audience). Unfortunately, Aurélie Dupont, who has been absent because of an injury since the beginning of the season, was absent. Then all the men: the POB school first, then the quadrilles and coryphées surrounding the premiers danseurs (Moreau, Paquette, Carbone, Bélingard, Romoli, Delanoë- infortunately Pech and Bridard both were injured), and then the male étoiles (Bart, Martinez, Le Riche, Belarbi, Legris and Hilaire).

I regretted that it was the only opportunity of the season to see "Allegro Brillante", as it is a fascinating work which has rarely been danced in France (it had entered the POB's repertory in 1996 and had not been danced since then except on tour) and would require more viewings to be fully appreciated- also to me the music is less immediately suited to dance than, say, that of "Serenade", it's not so easy to get used to it... I had last seen it danced by a group of young students two or three years ago during the summer festival "Paris quartier d'été", and while the students were quite good they looked a bit too tense and ill at ease so some of the "flowing" of the ballet was missing. Here the main roles were danced by Elisabeth Maurin, very graceful and musical, and Jean-Guillaume Bart, supremely elegant and an attentive partner, and the corps de ballet (Melles Doisneau, Fiat, Muret and Wiart, MM Belem, Duquenne, Gaudion and Thibault) was in top shape.

In "Jewels", I especially appreciated the two performances of Clairemarie Osta, on the 7th in the "sicilienne" role of "Emeralds" and on the 12th in the ballerina role of "Rubies": she was wonderful in both roles, extremely musical, very poetic in "Emeralds" and daring, witty and playful in "Rubies" (one of the very best performances of her that I've seen). In the first solo, Laetitia Pujol was good but not as poetic as Elisabeth Maurin, and as their respective partners Karl Paquette looked quite absent, while Wilfried Romoli was far more interesting. Kader Belarbi danced the second role both times (by the way, what a pity to see him to rarely on stage now), with elegance and stage presence, partnering Osta the first time and Daniel (a bit less impressive than Osta, but interesting too) the second time. The new premier danseurs Hervé Moreau danced the pas de trois both times, once with Eleonora Abbagnato and Nolwenn Daniel, and once with Mélanie Hurel and Myriam Kamionka.

In "Rubies", I wasn't very satisfied, as was already the case two seasons ago, with Christian Lacroix's costumes: the red of the women's costumes isn't the same as that of the men's and in general they look less satisfying to me that those of the previous production ("Rubies" used to be the only part of "Jewels" in the POB's repertory until 1996), the female costumes are not very flattering for the dancers. Both performances were excellent, once with Delphine Moussin, Manuel Legris (one of his best roles in my opinion) and Marie-Agnès Gillot, and the second time with Clairemarie Osta, Jérémie Bélingard (whose dancing was not as precise as that of Legris) and Karin Averty.

In "Diamonds", Agnès Letestu and José Martinez were very elegant but a bit cold as usual, while Delphine Moussin and Jean-Guillaume Bart were perhaps a bit more moving. Actually it's a part of the work that I appreciate more and more, and especially the corps de ballet parts, with the references to "Swan Lake", and sometimes even a little bit of "Petrouchka" (or at least Russian folk dances)...

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I have just seen Jewels twice, last saturday, the 15th, and tonight, the 22nd.

On the 15th, I only saw part of Rubies and Diamonds since there was a problem on the RER and I got there an hour after the show started. I was really frustrated since last time I was meant to see it (15th december 2000) I didn't see it because the Opera was on strike.

Anyway, Emeralds was danced tonight by Laetitia Pujol with Karl Paquette and Nolwenn Daniel with Kader Belarbi and the Pas de trois was danced by Emmanuel Thibault with Laure Muret and Myriam Kamionka. Emmanuel Thibault as usual danced very well, high jumps and lots of turns as well. They all globally danced well, but I didn't like Nolwenn Daniel too much in the second variation. Belarbi had a lot of elegance and Paquette a bit less, but quite elegat too.

In Rubies, I saw Clairemarie Osta and Jérémie Bélingard with Stéphanie Romberg on the 15th and tonight it was Eleonora Abbagnato, Jérémie Bélingard and Emilie Cozette. Osta was very good, and Abbagnato too (she is so flexible!). They both seemed playful, but in different ways, Abbagnato in a more mysterious way probably, while Osta seemed to just enjoy herself. Bélingard also really seemed to enjoy himself. Cozette danced well, but she seemed very big (not fat, but tall and wide) on stage compared to the others. She seemed better in Diamonds. Maybe it's the costumes, I don't know. I prefered Romberg, although Cozette was very impressive too.

Diamonds was danced the first time by Delphine Moussin and Jean-Guillaume Bart and tonight Bart and Letestu. Bart danced very well and the manege was fantastic. Letestu seemed more elegant than Moussin, but a bit too elegant probably, which made her a bit distant, not really in it.

One thing I didn't like too much (but that's not the dancers' fault), was in one of the pas de deux, I think the second one, they have staccato movements which don't go well with the music and the atmosphere in my opinion. But apart from that, I spent a wonderful evening and enjoyed being at last able to see Jewels in its integrality.

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It's normal that the soloist of Rubies appeared "big" or "tall". It's wanted by Balanchine he creates the leading part for Patricia McBride small dancer and soloist part for Patricia Neary, big and wide shoulder. It's always a big one soloist who makes this part. Look it's Marie-Agnès Gillot or Stéphanie Romberg or Emilie Cozette or Karin Averty.

Agaisnt when I saw Karin Averty besides of Delphine Moussin, they don't have enough of difference of size, Marie-Agnès was a better choice to oppose to Delphine !

Agnes Letestu some years ago was the big soloist !

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I don't find Karin Averty big at all. I mean I agree that Gillot and Letestu are quite tall and strong, but Averty! And you can't get much thinner than Moussin, so if you say there isn't that much difference between them, Averty can't be big (well at least not what I would call big, maybe the Opera finds her big?). But it's funny, because the difference in size between Cozette and the others didn't really show in Diamonds. Would it be the tutus giving this effect?

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For Karin it's what I would to say, she is not enough tall for Moussin, she has the same size and I prefer when Delphine is with Marie-Agnès, because the difference of size is more important, and it's what needs the ballet.

I think Romberg, Gillot and Cozette are wide shoulder also, it's for that they should seem more important, and I think the dress are not really beautiful for this party of ballet. I prefer the older costum of Karinska.

In diamonds, they take four dancer who are tall, Aubin, Ciaravola, Laffon are tall, and Cozette has the same size, but they are all together and with a tall dancer Rubies soloist and corps are composed of "small" ballerina, against in Diamonds, principal and corps are all tall dancer.

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Yes, I have to agree that the older costumes, the ones they used for it on its own as Capriccio, were nicer. But I don't see Isabelle Ciaravola as tall, I mean, she isn't tall compared to Marie-Agnes Gillot or even Vanessy Legassy. I think she's probably only 1m60 or so. In fact, I have just checked, it was Aubin, Laffon and Legassy dancing with Cozette in Diamonds as the four soloists, and Romberg didn't dance it since she is now Premiere danseuse. They were the same except it was Karine Villagrassa was doing the fourth one.

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I don't see him again in Rubies soloist part, his first performance should be next week and I should go to, I will give you my impression about it. Against I saw him in Emeralds pas de trois, it's a good soloist but nothing more, it's a good sujet. Emmanuel is also cast in the corps of Rubies and is as the other (Elizabé, Gaudion, and Belem), not better.

I find more interesting Christophe Duquenne whose nobody talk but who is a dancer as only POB is able to have with the handsome, the style, a complete artist. If an artist should be promoted premier danseur, it was him who has a wide repertory and is a good partner, he must aslo dance Diamonds part with Karin Averty, he danced also Emeralds first soloist really fine. He knows what means Balanchine style.

Isabelle should be 1m65 high, she is tall and she has long legs. But it's one of these dancer of Pob who dance with the "little" or the "tall" when she began to dance she was cast in purple soloist in Bayadere pas d'action, now she is in "green soloist" who are the "big" girl. It's the same thing for Duquenne who is 1m80 high and was cast in Allegro brillante with the "little" and with the tall in diamonds (other are Bullion, new sujet, Meyzindi and Hoff).

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POB has a lot of valuable sujets (male and female), I think.

And this is not surprising : the ranks above are the top of the pyramid ! Past months, I was lucky to see more of Carbone, Saiz and very recently I discovered Thibault ! What I saw of him was enough to make me travel to Paris again next week :)

I promise to look out for Duquenne too, Francoise !

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Personally, I wouldn't say I prefer Duquenne to Thibault, but I wouldn't say either I prefer Thibault to Duquenne. I mean they both dance very well, Thibault is certainly more talked about, they both have a brilliant technique, but maybe Duquenne's is a bit less remarquable in the sense that when you see him dancing, you tnd to focus more on his style rather than on his technique, because this is what appears immediately. Then you realise he also has an excellent technique. I would probably say the opposite about Thibault, that his technique is more apparent than his style. Anyway, I said they were both among my favourite corps de ballet dancers in another post. About Isabelle Ciaravola, yes, she has wonderfully long legs, it's one of the first things I noticed about her, but it was even more obvious when she was 14. It gives her an awesome line!

I agree with Viviane that the opera has a lot of valuable sujets. I am very fond of most (nearly all) of them!


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You're right Su Lian about the difference between Duquenne and Thibault,

For me style is more important than technic, and we tend to lose this style in French dance ;). I think when you see Duquenne as Romeo, you know that he is a complete artist able to dance the Nureyev version without technical fault, and with good partnering, and well acting, for me it's what must be a dancer !

I agree too that POB is full of wonderful sujet my favourite female sujet are Fanny Fiat, Muriel Zusperreguy and I love too Isabelle Ciaravola :o !

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