Best Tickets for Opera, Ballet & Concert
Best Tickets for Opera, Ballet & Concert
A leading figure of contemporary photography, Japanese visual artist Hiroshi Sugimoto sounds out a changing world and explores the passage of time. Invited for the first time to the Paris Opera, he is joining forces with the choreographer Alessio Silvestrin, a colleague of William Forsythe, for a new production with the dancers of the Company. Set to a selection of songs by the composer James Blake, Blake Works I is Forsythe’s latest piece created for the Paris Opera Ballet. His inimitable signature is omnipresent in this work which stands out for its speed and energy.
After the unanimously acclaimed premiere of The Seasons’ Canon in 2016, Crystal Pite is reuniting with the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet for a series of sixty‑minute performances divided up into as many choreographed sequences. Born in Canada and trained at the Frankfurt Ballet, the choreographer is steeped in the language of Forsythe, Kylián and Mats Ek. Infusing each of her choreographies with an exuberantly communicative emotional charge, she calls on her dancers to move beyond their limits. Her impassioned dance possesses an attention to detail that propels its performers into the frenetic cadenza of total performance.
Raymonda, which premiered in 1898 at Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre to Alexander Glazunov’s scintillating score, was Marius Petipa’s quintessential narrative ballet. A genuine medieval fantasy today regarded as an encyclopedia of classical dance forms, the work depicts the love story of the young Raymonda and the knight Jean de Brienne in the face of the covetous desires of the Saracen chief Abderam. Long unknown outside Russia, the ballet was staged several times by Rudolf Nureyev after he defected to the West. The choreographer gave it his final touch in 1983 when he became Director of the Paris Opera Ballet. Associating it with Nicholas Georgiadis’s sumptuous sets and costumes, Nureyev recreated all the Eastern charm of a romantic fresco to a backdrop of the mythicized echoes of the crusades.
Originally created for the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris in 1994, Angelin Preljoçaj’s Le Parc is a highly personal three-part meditation on the byways of lust and love. Using Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, as its model, and set to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, it looks back to the highly stylized traditions and rules for love and life in the European courts of the eighteenth century. Framed, and at times interrupted abruptly, by the electronic soundscapes created by Goran Vejvoda, Preljoçaj opens a window on a world that is both elegant and desolate whilst Thierry Leproust’s highly imaginative, quasi-industrial, set designs jar with our expectations to create a space that is cold and devoid of affection. There is, however, no doubt as to the beauty of the work. It is utterly compelling due to the thrill of the chase and the measured, almost steely, sensuality of the ballet which holds sway right up until the end.
The ultimate romantic ballet, Giselle marked the apogee of a new aesthetic that saw diaphanous tutus, white gauze, tulle and tarlatan take over the stage. The Willis bring the illusion of immateriality to this ghostly transfiguration of a tragedy. First performed at the Académie Royale de Musique on June 28, 1841, the ballet travelled to Russia, then temporarily disappeared from the repertoire before finally returning to France in 1910. Today’s version by Patrice Bart and Eugene Polyakov – which closely follows Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot’s original choreography – continues to reaffirm the ballet’s early success. Bright, earthly scenes and spectral, nocturnal visions: dance becomes the language of the soul and the ballerina’s ethereal presence seems to defy gravity.
This tribute to the art of Balanchine brings together three works of pure dance from the choreographer’s first American period. Three ensemble ballets in which bodies resonate like the instruments of an orchestra. Set to the music of Bach, Concerto Barocco crossfades a succession of forms beckoning to the gaze like the decorative components of baroque architecture. The Four Temperaments offers a visual counterpoint to Paul Hindemith’s variations. Like the moods that transfuse humans, this fluid and mercurial ballet combines consonance and dissonance in a composition at once rigorous yet unimpeded. In Serenade, Balanchine evokes the Russian heritage of Tchaikovsky, his master, and the modern bodies of the young New Yorkers he met on his arrival in the United States. A snapshot of its time, the ballet’s romantic atmosphere also evokes Les Sylphides by Fokine, another master revered by Balanchine.
First performed 150 years ago at the Paris Opera, Coppélia remains one of the romantic ballet’s most characteristic works. Based on a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the ballet features an array of highly colorful characters, from the intrepid Swanilda and her fiancé Frantz, fascinated by a mechanical doll, to a mad old scientist. A whole world overflowing with fantasy and joy comes to life in Arthur Saint Léon’s choreography swept along by the music of Léo Delibes. The work proved to be a huge success in 1870. The pupils of the Ballet School are coming to grips with the work with the same freshness and vitality as the performers of that first production. Faithfully restaging the original version, Pierre Lacotte brings new life to the rich sophistication of the French School of Ballet. It is a style taught to the pupils of the Paris Opera Ballet School and presented along with other disciplines during the annual Showcase at the Palais Garnier.
Choreographer and artist in residence at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, Alan Lucien Øyen is also a stage and video director. He trained in Bergen in the contemporary dance company Carte Blanche before establishing the Winter Guests company in 2006, where he created over a dozen pieces that toured in over sixteen countries. Combining text and movement, the choreographer follows in the footsteps of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch which commissioned a piece from him in 2018. The leader of a new Scandinavian generation, he offers works as visual as they are choreographic, building an imaginary world where illusion prevails over reality. Invited for the first time to choreograph for the Paris Opera Ballet, Alan Lucien Øyen prepares to bring to the stage of the Palais Garnier all the intense creativity that illustrates his sense of drama and theatre.
Created in 1978 for the Royal Ballet, Mayerling, along with Manon, is British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s most popular ballet. Keen to “make ballets where audiences are caught up in the fate of the characters”, the choreographer injects classical language with a powerful infusion of solemnity and authenticity. Mayerling, a three-act work, delves into the family secrets and political intrigues of the Habsburg monarchy at the time of Sissi. MacMillan’s eminently theatrical production focuses on the tragic story of the Crown Prince, Rudolph who commits suicide with his mistress Marie Vetsera in Mayerling’s hunting lodge. Set to the music of Franz Liszt, the choreography brilliantly translates the fraught emotions of these characters abused by history.
A leading light of contemporary dance and largely responsible for its emergence in Europe in the 1960s and beyond, the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) remains a crucible for new generations of choreographers seized with the same desire to experiment and explore new dance forms and techniques. More than ten years after its last appearance on the stage of the Palais Garnier, the company – which owes much of its international profile to Jiří Kylián – proposes a program bringing together the dancers of the NDT 1 and NDT 2 and presenting the latest creations of house choreographers Paul Lightfoot, Sol Léon and associate choreographers Crystal Pite and Marco Goecke. Four great names for an exceptional evening.
Play, the first piece created for the Paris Opera Ballet by the Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman, had its premiere at the Palais Garnier in December 2017. The choreographer leads the dancers and the audience into an immense playground where emotions and imagination are set free. Backed by a musical score from Mikael Karlsson, bodies are transformed into antlered silhouettes or plunged into a field of colored balls. A performance charged with communicative energy, Play challenges the audience in a festive, oft-burlesque atmosphere anything but devoid of humor or profundity.
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