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A preview of Ballet Nice Mediterranee's 'Marco Polo'

by Saul Marziali

Novemeber 2010

The "Ballet Nice Méditerranée" will present as opening evening program, for its second season under the new direction of Eric Vu-An, "Marco Polo", a new production staged by the italian choreographer Luciano Cannito. I had the pleasure to be invited for the "summer version" of it, given last July
at the open air stage "Théâtre de Verdure, Jardin Albert 1er" in Nice. Cannito created this ballet inspired by the novel of Italo Calvino "the invisible Cities" (published in 1972).

The work explores imagination and the imaginable through the descriptions of towns by Marco Polo the explorer. It tells also about a conversation between Polo and the busy emperor Kublai Khan, who all the time has merchants coming to describe the state of his expanding empire.

Marco Polo and Kublai Khan do not speak the same language. When Polo is explaining the various cities, he uses objects from the city to tell the story. The implication is that each character understands the other through their own interpretation of what they are saying. This leaves many options of
interpretation open to the individual spectator.

In Nice Eric Vu-An interpreted majestically the hard role of Kublai Khan, thanks to his strong presence, that kept the attention of the spectators sitting in the audience from the beginning to the end. Eric Vu-An's variations distinguished themselves for his unique ability to tell a story through mouvements of high artistical quality, nourished by his inner landscape rich of warm, deep and lived feelings.

Marco Polo, interpreted by the soloist Jean-Sébastien Colau, has been describe through a choreography, which used mostly as vocabulary the male jump and turning classical technique. A lot of virtuosism, but mastered very lightly by the tall and talented Jean-Sébastien Colau.

Others highlights of this productions were the duets between Eric Vu-An and Jean-Sébastien Colau as well as the pas de deux and the group scenes. The corps de ballet was very together and really involved in the piece, evidence of a very good work and of a very motivated company.

Marco Polo is also a colourfull, fascinating production and it is beyond question that is worthy to see the next performances the 29th, 30th and 31st of October at the main stage of the "Opéra de Nice", but this time with the full set on it!

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