The world-famous Paris Opera Ballet was the birthplace of classical dance, with origins tracing back over more than 300 years. Since then, the company has never ceased to pursue excellence, establishing itself as a repertory company, remaining faithful to its dual vocation of ensuring the continuity of the repertoire and offering an open door towards creation. The company rarely tours to the region and in June 2019, Singapore audiences will be treated to the works of three renowned choreographers in one programme.
Blake Works I by William Forsythe
Created in 2016, this work is said to be a moment as important as the premiere of Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1987. What Forsythe did then was radical: he moved ballet into new, utterly contemporary terrain. Almost 30 years later, he has taken a long and loving look at ballet’s past, and once again moved it into the future—some have called it Forsythe’s love letter to ballet.
Created for Paris Opera Ballet, Blake Works I is performed to seven songs by the English musician James Blake, who writes delicate ballads over electronic keyboard and syncopated percussion. The choice of music, with its allegiance to popular culture and its narrative implications, is poetic, joyous, hopeful—a celebration of the youth, talent and collective knowledge of a new generation of Paris Opera dancers.
In the Night by Jerome Robbins
Premiered by the New York City Ballet in 1970 and included in Paris Opera Ballet’s repertory since 1989, this work presents three elegant duets, each choreographed to a different nocturne by Chopin, featuring vastly contrasting sets of lovers, from innocent to impetuous, who meet beneath a midnight sky.
The first couple take to the stage in violet costumes and perform a flowing duet of tender expressiveness. They are followed by a couple wearing gold and rust colours, who dance a pas de deux of restraint and elegance. The final duet provides a tumultuous counterpoint: the ballerina, dressed in a dark dress, swings between explosive anger and desperate entreaty, as she and her partner are caught in a pattern of dispute and reconciliation. The finale brings all six dancers to the stage, concluding this beautiful and complex portrait of love’s twists and turns.
The Seasons’ Canon by Crystal Pite
Created in 2016 for Paris Opera Ballet, this is a spectacular large ensemble work featuring 54 dancers performing to the avant-garde update of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, recomposed by Max Richter, a score that the Canadian choreographer had long ago fallen in love with. Drawing inspiration from the meticulous observation of natural phenomena, Pite imagined a series of succeeding, interlinking tableaux with highly structured formations more intricate than the next as the men and women soar in unison in pulsing, breathing masses.