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 Post subject: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2000 11:53 pm 
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A good preview of the Paris Opera Ballet visit to Salford built around an interview with Brigitte Lefèvre. the current Director. Amongst the various interesting points is the fact that the Paris Opera (i'm assuming the whole shebang) gets a grant of £90m pa as opposed to the ROH's £20m. It would be interesting to know how the two countries compare as a percentage of the total national subsidy for dance. In addition, POB would like to do some Ashton, but it looks as though the price has been pitched too high to be acceptable for them.<P> <A HREF="http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000148269364269&rtmo=Qxm30aLR&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/4/26/btisme26.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000148269364269&rtmo=Qxm30aLR<BR>&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/4/26/btisme26.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 26, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2000 5:18 pm 
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Yes it's almost all true.<BR>Having been intimately involved with POB for the last 5 years, I have no hesitation to say it is the best company in the world at this time. And going on the young talent, which I have been priveleged to work with, the stage is set for that to last for some time(see Dance Europe April for a series of interviews I did with the rising talent).<BR>There was one incorrect statement in Browns interview, Lefevre did not form a company (Le Theatre du Silence)it was formed by the choreographer Jacques Garnier, she assisted him. One of the strengths built into the POB system is that now it doesn't really matter who is at the head, the entire repertoire is based on existing and long term policies created before the present director was installed - basically the place runs itself.<BR>If you have any questions concerning POB, feel free to ask. <P>[This message has been edited by Michael Montgomery (edited April 26, 2000).]<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Montgomery (edited April 27, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2000 5:22 pm 
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PS<BR>Ashton was introduced into the repertoire 2 years ago with Rhapsody (apparently they ordered the wrong ballet)!!!<BR>And don't worry about the price sweetie, it's probably more a French/English thing - yes it still exists.<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Montgomery (edited April 26, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2000 10:21 pm 
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There are certainly a lot of people in the UK who rate the POB very highly. I suppose that the general view here is that the Kirov is still te foremost Company. I'm not in a position to comment as my experience of the Kirov is limited and I have only seen POB on the Diaghalev video, which is certainly splendid.<P>In terms of bold commissioning, POB is impressive with new work from Forsythe and a full-length work from Preljocaj in recent times.<P>There appear to be a number of distinctive features of the POB:<BR>- the high level of subsidy<BR>- the large number of dancers compared with other Western companies. Do these two factors mean that the key area of rehearsal time is greater than for comparable companies?<BR>- the annual competition system for promotion, which I have to say does seem a litle odd. <P>Michael, what are your thoughts about the underlying reasons for the great current success of POB? <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 27, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2000 4:52 am 
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Hi Stuart,<BR>I think if you put the 2 companies in class together you would see the difference, particularly concerning the overall standard as opposed to individual dancers. Although there are many contributing reasons for this, a lions share of the credit must go to Claude Bessy and the work she has done with the school over the last 25 years.<BR>Concerning the policy on commisions, yes it is exceptional, not always good though, but choreographers; established and not, are thrown buckets of money and allowed to try whatever they want. The next biggie is a new creation by Mats Ek premiering in May (is it true he is not at all represented in the RB rep?).<BR>Regarding rehearsal time, I would say there is no difference, with the exception that this immense company is usually split in two groups working on different programmes at the same time.<BR>I think Le Concours (annual competion for promotion) is one of the things which set the company apart and contributes alot to the high standard. Where we often come up short is that we have a nasty habit of developing "classroom" dancers who can execute excercises beautifully, but can often be weak when it comes to the real thing.<BR>I think making dancers prove themselves on stage in principal variations, as well as taking into consideration their classwork more intelligent and effective. <BR>Here is some further background info - <BR>The only company in the world to operate under this system, begun in 1860 by Marie Taglioni, to gain promotion within the company you must compete in the annual concours and be judged on stage. A panel of 10 judges the dancers. 5 from the direction and 5 elected by the dancers. The dancers in each rank must perform 1 set variation and one of their own choice, from the repertoire of the company. Dancers are marked on a 30 point system, a score out of 20 awarded by the jury on the day and a score out of 10 given by the Régie de la danse, based on the classwork of the preceding year. The ballot is secret.<BR>Competition is healthy!<BR>Also more democratic (I hear a sharp intake of breath from artistic directors around the world, yes, if your favorite doesn't perform well on the day - they won't get promoted and there's nothing you can do about it).<BR>I think Marie Taglioni was a very smart woman.


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2000 5:56 am 
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Michael, many thanks for taking the time to give us your views on POB and the various aspects that make it a great Company.<P>You are right that The Royal has a very restricted rep of recent Continental European choreography - three pieces by Forsythe, but not created on them, and....from memory, that's it. No Kylian (with whom they had a row 20 years ago), no Ek, no Duato (except for an extract used at a gala), no von Manen and no recent French choreographers. However, there are signs that the programming may be getting more adventurous. At least we'll see 'Les Biches' this year. <P>There seems to be a view that new commissions are not given much resource. Siobhan Davies, the contemporary/modern choreographer, had 4 weeks to create a 30 minute work with dancers who were not always available and many of whom were not used to her manner of working, which involves more dancer participation in the creation process than they are used to. Thus there was little opportunity to abandon or re-work a seesion's activity. Davies is on record as saying that she wouldn't rush to repeat the experience. <P>The situation is not helped by the conservatism of UK audiences and their dislike of triple bills, for which there are nearly always tickets left on the day. Try getting one for 'Coppelia' or 'The Nutcracker'! <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2000 6:37 am 
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Dear Stuart, That's just a taster - I could write a book!<BR>Well there is certainly scope for Stretton to expand the rep. I can't believe a row 20 years ago would stop one of the greatest living choreographers of this century from being represented - how infantile, stupid and short sighted. His creation for POB last year, Doux Mensonges, was one of the best works I've ever seen and his next work for the company will be in March next year. It is an exclusively Kylian programme with a reprise of Doux Mensonges, the introduction of Stepping Stones, as well as the new Creation.<BR>It seems the POB has conquered the triple bill syndrome by making them more thematic and fashionable, as well as doing a thorough PR job well before the premiere. In short, successfully stimulating the publics interest.<BR>Is it the introduction of Les Biches, or a revival?<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Montgomery (edited April 27, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2000 4:32 pm 
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So you're on!<BR>Thanks for your offer, but I hope I know what I'm doing, I have no doubt though that I'll be able to keep ahead of the jones's.<BR>Why not Ek for RB, POB took the plunge and also with Pina; which I think has changed the company forever, for the best.<BR>I absolutely agree with you concerning the frame of reference, but the opinion still stands.<BR>The time allocated to Davies is an insult, it makes me wonder.<BR>I also wonder why it's taken 15 years for the POB to perform in the UK and then in Manchester (no offence meant to Mancunians). Seeing as they're so close, why not an annual exchange programme. If you look at the budget it would be cheaper than N.Y. which I've heard the idea of floated. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2000 3:55 am 
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I would rather watch Nicolas Le Riche and Marie-Claude Pietragalla dance his Giselle anyday. The POB's production of Ek's Giselle was anything but mediocre, superior is the word I'd use, having seen both companies live.<BR>This could stir something up - It is possible for ballet dancers to achieve a better level than contemporary dancers in a contemporary work.


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2000 5:26 am 
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*SALFORD UPDATE*<P>Due to injury in the Etoile ranks, Elisabeth Platel, who retired at the end of last season, will be dancing the Saturday 6th matinee of Bayadere and retire again. She will be partnered by Nicolas Le Riche, who was not previously scheduled to perform in Manchester(as he is in rehearsal with Mats Ek in Paris for the new creation).<P>Lucky Manchester!<P>In case you didn't know or have never visited - <A HREF="http://www.opera-de-paris.fr" TARGET=_blank>http://www.opera-de-paris.fr</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2000 7:06 pm 
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For a direct link to the newly announced 2000/2001 Season page - <A HREF="http://www.opera-de-paris.fr/saison00.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.opera-de-paris.fr/saison00.html</A> <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Michael Montgomery (edited April 29, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2000 10:26 pm 
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Debra Craine in The Times previews the POB visit to Salford with a number of interviews with key dancers. Believe it or not, we also have the Kirov in the UK this week, but up in Edinburgh.<P><BR> <A HREF="http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/00/05/02/timartdan01001.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/00/05/02/timartdan01001.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2000 4:03 am 
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Thanks Stuart,<BR>Please keep us posted (God this site is excellent for this - can't wait to read the morning reviews in the privacy of my own home).<P>Are you going?


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2000 1:42 pm 
Michael, are you based in Paris or London? And did you see the POB in Nureyev's Cinderella last month? I very much enjoyed it despite the injury of Hilaire. I wrote a review in Ballet.co. <A HREF="http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_00/may00/kn_rev_pob_0400.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_00/may00/kn_rev_pob_0400.htm</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Paris Opera Ballet, Salford
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2000 3:14 pm 
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Dear Kevin,<BR>Based in Paris, yes, We actually met at a performance of Raymonda, one New Years Eve at Opéra Bastille about 3 years ago. With Pietragalla as Raymonda and Marie-Agnes Gillot danced Henriette.<BR>I think you also enquired through Dance Europe to buy an article I wrote on dance styles, for an Asian publication - whatever happened about that?<BR>I managed to see 2 casts of Cinderella, Pietragalla with Nicolas Le Riche were fabulous and so too was Agnés Letestu at another performance. You really missed something in José Martinez's Stepmother - sur pointe, his triple pirouettes en dehor were amazing and he was very funny.<BR>It is a wonderful production, certainly one of the most entertaining and best Cinders around.<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Montgomery (edited May 02, 2000).]


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