The 350-year-old Paris Opera Ballet will return to the stage at the Grand Théâtre de Shanghai, 14 years after its phenomenal debut in the city.
The troupe will present two works this time. One is the classical ballet “Swan Lake” performed by Rudolf Nureyev, and the other is the modern ballet titled “Forsythe | Robbin | Pite”, consisting of selected works choreographed by William Forsythe, Jerome Robbins and Crystal Pite .
Shanghai is the only stopover in China.
“The two works we are presenting this time are the representative works of the Paris Opera Ballet. They reflect our specialty, that is to say that our dancers can practice both classical and modern ballets”, declared Flavien Moglia, administrative director of the troupe.
According to Moglia, this version of “Swan Lake” was choreographed by Nureyev in 1984 for the company. Widely regarded as the greatest male ballet dancer of his generation, Nureyev served as director of the Paris Opera Ballet from 1983 to 1989. In his version of “Swan Lake”, the male roles receive much more choreography.
In addition, Nureyev’s classical ballet introduces a new role – an evil character, which is an ambiguous figure symbolizing the dark side of Prince Siegfried. The prince’s image is said to have originally been inspired by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. Nureyev’s interpretation of ‘Swan Lake’ captures the soul of the character historical.
“The traditional version of ‘Swan Lake’ with a simple script could focus on the beauty of the dance. Nureyev’s version provides rich psychological content through the ballet. He paid a lot of attention to the story behind the dance,” said Jean-Guillaume Bart, ballet master and former Etoile, or principal dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet.
The ballet troupe aims to present the works with deep meanings rather than just visual enjoyment.
Two stars of the troupe, Léonore Baulac and Germain Louvet, will be the stars of “Swan Lake”.
Another famous principal dancer, Dorothee Gilbert, will perform in the dance “In the Night” as part of the performance “Forsythe | Robin | Pite”, on view July 4 and 5. Choreographed by Robbins as a tribute to Frédéric Chopin, the work features three elegant duets.
Created in 2016, Forsythe’s “Blake Works I” is a tribute to the elegance and splendor of the French school of dance. He set the work to the songs of British composer James Blake.
Another modern ballet “Le canon des saisons” presented this time to the local public was also created in 2016 by Pite. The music is inspired by Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. The work showcases the corps de ballet with stunning ensembles.
The Paris Opera Ballet is an integral part of the Paris Opera, founded in 1669. Directed by Aurélie Dupont, the company is made up of 154 dancers. Most of them are graduates of the Paris Opera School of Dance, created in 1713.
“For us, legacy is important,” Moglia said.
Besides performance, there are a series of related activities, such as lectures, workshops and exhibitions, allowing people to have a better understanding of the art of ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet.
Date: June 29-July 1, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: 160-1,280 yuan
Forsythe | Robin | Pity
Date: July 4 and 5, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: 160-1,080 yuan
Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater
Address: 300 People’s Avenue