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Paris Opéra Ballet’s premiere appearance in Chicago


18 mayo, 2012
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PARIS OPÉRA BALLET MAKES FIRST EVER CHICAGO APPEARANCE, LAUNCHES 2012 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR AT HARRIS THEATER FOR MUSIC AND DANCE
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World’s finest company makes first American appearance in more than a decade. The June 26 – July 1, 2012 engagement launches the company’s 2012 North American Tour, with their first American performances in more than a decade.

The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is honored to present the first ever Chicago and Midwest appearances of the Paris Opéra Ballet, considered ―one of the world’s greatest companies (Ballet News UK). The June 26 – July 1, 2012 engagement launches the company’s 2012 North American Tour, with their first American performances in more than a decade. The full 154-member company will perform two diverse programs which they have never previously presented in the United States—Giselle, and a program of mixed repertoire to include Suite en blanc by Serge Lifar, Roland Petit’s L’Arlésienne, and Le Boléro by Maurice Béjart—accompanied by the Grant Park Orchestra in a first-ever collaboration with the Harris Theater.

There is only one Paris Opéra Ballet,‖ said Michael Tiknis, President and Managing Director of the Harris Theater. ―This engagement offers the opportunity of a lifetime to see the world’s finest company perform Giselle—a trademark of their repertoire since 1841—in their first American performance in more than a decade. Without question, this will be the highlight of Chicago’s dance season.‖ Tiknis continued, ―We are so pleased to have the opportunity to present this iconic company’s first appearance in Chicago, providing not only the city, but the entire Midwest its first opportunity to experience this world-class ensemble here at home, and are grateful to our hometown airline, United Airlines for making a large portion of this tour possible.

internacional  Paris Opéra Ballet’s premiere appearance in Chicago

"For the first time in more than a decade, the Paris Opéra Ballet will return to America and has chosen to open its 2012 tour at Chicago's magnificent Harris Theater,‖ said Brigitte Lefèvre, Company Director of the Paris Opéra Ballet. ―The Theater's intimate feel and outstanding sightlines provide the ideal canvas to stage some of our most beloved and iconic works. We eagerly anticipate our Chicago debut performances and the opportunity to meet the city's extraordinary arts patrons."

This engagement is also a momentous occasion for the city of Chicago. ―It’s wonderful that the Paris Opéra Ballet has chosen the City of Chicago as the first appearance of their North American tour,‖ said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. ―I am committed to making Chicago a worldwide destination for dance and with the Harris Theater as its host, accompanied by our very own Grant Park Orchestra, this will be a unique opportunity for Chicago’s world class arts community to collaborate with the world-famous Paris Opéra Ballet.

Abby McCormick O’Neil, Chairman of the Harris Theater Board of Trustees concurred, stating, ―The Paris Opéra Ballet’s decision to launch their 2012 American Tour with its first-ever appearance in Chicago secures the city’s stature as one of the nation’s preeminent destinations for dance and also underscores the Harris Theater’s role as the city’s premier venue to experience groundbreaking dance in an intimate setting.‖ She continued, ―This weeklong engagement by one of the world’s oldest and most renowned dance companies highlights the Harris Theater’s mission and its continuing commitment both to present world-renowned artists and innovative programming that otherwise would not be seen in Chicago, and to simultaneously reach out to new audiences and build support for the thirty-five emerging and mid-size organizations that call the Harris Theater home.

United Airlines continues as the Official and Exclusive airline of the Harris Theater, and is making a large portion of the Paris Opéra Ballet’s 2012 North American Tour possible. The Harris Theater gratefully acknowledges UBS, the 2011-2012 Season Sponsor; the Irving Harris Foundation for its leadership support of the Presenting Fund; Presenting Sponsors Caryn & King Harris, Harris Family Foundation and Alexandra & John Nichols; Gala Presenting Sponsor GRAFF; Engagement Sponsor, the Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation; Mixed Repertoire Program Sponsor Northern Trust; and Hyatt Regency Chicago, Official Hotel Partner.


About the Programs

Paris Opéra Ballet Opening Night Benefit Gala
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

In celebration of the Paris Opéra Ballet’s premiere appearance in Chicago, the Harris Theater for Music & Dance hosts an opening night benefit gala featuring and honoring the world’s nonpareil Ballet company. The full 154-member company makes its first American performance in more than a decade, opening its 2012 Tour with the iconic Giselle, a cornerstone of the company’s repertoire since the work’s premiere in 1841, accompanied by the Grant Park Orchestra. Following the performance, guests will enjoy cocktails, an elegant three-course dinner catered by Blue Plate, and dancing in a magnificent tent located in Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade. Proceeds from this event benefit Harris Theater programs.

Caryn & King Harris, Harris Family Foundation and Alexandra & John Nichols are the Presenting Sponsors of the weeklong Paris Opéra Ballet engagement, and Co-Chairs for the Opening Night Benefit Gala, which is sponsored by GRAFF. Mayor Rahm Emanuel will serve as the Honorary Chair of the Gala evening; and Gala Vice Chairs include Francie Comer; Stephanie and John Harris; Mellody Hobson and George Lucas; Lindy and Michael Keiser; Anne and J. Christopher Reyes; Linda Johnson Rice; and Shirley and Patrick Ryan. The Harris also recognizes Paris Opéra Ballet Engagement Sponsors, the Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation and The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; Mixed Repertoire Program Sponsor Northern Trust; United, Official & Exclusive Airline; and Hyatt Regency Chicago, Official Hotel Partner.

Program A: Giselle

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Giselle, the archetypal masterpiece of the ―ballet blanc,‖ was first performed on the stage of the Royal Academy of Music (the Paris Opéra’s original name) on June 28, 1841. The work marked the apogee of Romantic aesthetics which shook up the intellectual and artistic world from the beginning of the 19th century. The current production of Giselle was updated in 1991 by Patrice Bart and Eugene Polyakov, who adapted the original choreography of Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa to the Breton-inspired sets of Loic Le Groumellec. Their adaptation combines the English and Russian traditions of Giselle, thanks to Bart’s choreographic heritage acquired from Mary Skeaping and Eugene Polyakov’s experience as a former student of the Bolshoi. Since 1998, the production has been performed using the sets and costumes of Alexandre Benois – painter for the Ballets Russes – completed in 1924 for the revival of Giselle at the Paris Opéra.

Conceived in only two months, the ballet was the joint creation of numerous artists: Theophile Gautier, writer, art critic and chronicler of ballet; Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, the dramatist renowned for his vaudeville; Adolphe Adam, composer of ballet music and Opéra; choreographer Jean Coralli, assisted in the wings by Jules Perrot; set designer Pierre Ciceri, a specialist in fantasy forests; and costume designer Paul Lormier. Exceptional performers Carlotta Grisi and Lucien Petipa brought the production to life.

The ballet was a major success from its first performance, which in turn ensured its popularity beyond the Parisian stage. In 1842, it was staged in London by Jules Perrot and in St. Petersburg by Antoine Titus. In 1843, Antonio Cortesi staged it in Milan and the work even crossed the Atlantic. Giselle remained a staple at the Paris Opéra until 1868. After that, it would probably have fallen into oblivion had it not been revived and enriched by Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg during the 1880s. In 1910, a guest appearance by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes at the Palais Garnier brought the work back to the French stage. Since then, it has figured in the repertoire of the great international companies, offering possibilities for reinterpretation to the most contemporary of modern choreographers.

During the 18th century, ballet master Jean Georges Noverre’s dream of enabling ballet to recount a story through dance alone was finally realised in this work. It is perhaps because of this that the work has endured so long and retained its contemporary aura. Giselle undeniably helped to assert the artistic autonomy of the ―ballet blanc,‖ endowing it with its own imaginary world and choreographic identity.

Presenting Sponsors: Caryn & King Harris, Harris Family Foundation and Alexandra & John Nichols Engagement Sponsor: Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation Engagement Sponsor: The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust
Official & Exclusive Airline: United
Official Hotel Partner: Hyatt Regency Chicago

Program B: Mixed Repertoire Lifar’s Suite en blanc / Petit’s L’Arlésienne / Béjart’s Le Boléro
Sponsored by Northern Trust

  • Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.

Undeniably, the three ballets in this program underline the diversity of the paths followed by 20th century neoclassicism and the wealth of the dialogue they weave at the heart of the Paris Opéra Ballet’s repertoire. Having been performed by several generations of dancers at the Paris Opéra, these ballets continue to bring forth new talent and stand out for their singular modernity.

Opening the program is Serge Lifar’s Suite en blanc (1943), choreographed to Suite en blanc by Edouard Lalo. Created in 1943 at the height of his fame, Serge Lifar had already long been observing the evolution of academic technique in choreographic creation. Seeking to sum up his own research started in 1929, his ballet was conceived as a work of ―pure dance,‖ its ambition being ―to present the innovations of our times.‖ Composed of a series of variations d’école, pas de trois, pas de cinq, adages and ensembles, it is a synthesis of the choreographer’s neoclassical art. As one of his rare abstract ballets, Suite en blanc was an immediate and long-lived success, performed for the 300th time as early as 1961, and more than 400 times today.

The second featured work is Roland Petit’s L’Arlésienne, choreographed to Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne. A grand master of narrative with a deft hand at creating pictorial and literary atmospheres, Roland Petit fills his ballets with contemporary force and pace, offering the dancers the opportunity to also showcase their acting talents in perfectly tailored roles. His lively and polished writing, supported by the melodic flow of Bizet’s score, captures the dramatic tension of Daudet’s tale and reproduces in Fauvist-tinted images the tragic passion of the handsome ―Frederi‖ for his unfaithful ―Arlésienne.

The second featured work is Roland Petit’s L’Arlésienne, choreographed to Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne. A grand master of narrative with a deft hand at creating pictorial and literary atmospheres, Roland Petit fills his ballets with contemporary force and pace, offering the dancers the opportunity to also showcase their acting talents in perfectly tailored roles. His lively and polished writing, supported by the melodic flow of Bizet’s score, captures the dramatic tension of Daudet’s tale and reproduces in Fauvist-tinted images the tragic passion of the handsome ―Frederi‖ for his unfaithful ―Arlésienne.

First set to dance in Bronislava Nijinska’s choreography in 1928, Boléro, Maurice Ravel’s powerful and haunting score, has caught the imagination of the world’s finest choreographers, including Harald Lander, Michel Fokine, Serge Lifar, Aurel Milloss, and also, more recently, Odile Duboc and Roland Petit. In Maurice Béjart’s version of Boléro –the first work created for the Ballet du XXe siècle founded in 1961–the choreographer returns to the initial idea of a work danced on a large table and symbolising an erotic rite. However, he refines its Spanish style and concentrates on a single soloist surrounded by a group whose respective movements perfectly interpret the music. Danced in turn by a woman surrounded by men, a man surrounded by women or simply by men, his Boléro takes on mystic and sensual colours.

Presenting Sponsors: Caryn & King Harris, Harris Family Foundation and Alexandra & John Nichols Engagement Sponsor: Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation Engagement Sponsor: The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust
Mixed Repertoire Program Sponsor: Northern Trust Official & Exclusive Airline: United
Official Hotel Partner: Hyatt Regency Chicago

Paris Opéra Ballet
The Paris Opéra Ballet was the birthplace of classical dance. It was here that the fundamental principles of ballet technique, imported from Italy by Catherine de Medici in the 16th century, were painstakingly developed and perfected by the court ballets in a process that continued under the reign of Louis XIV. The Sun King, who wished to transform noble style into a genuine stage art, founded the Royal Academy of Dance in 1661. It would be the first French institution responsible for fixing the rules of dance and for it teaching. In 1669, he inaugurated the Royal Academy of Music (the Paris Opéra’s original name) which became home to Europe’s first professional dance troupe. When, in 1713, he gave orders for the creation of the Dance School, the essential foundations were laid to ensure the future development of a professional company.

Since then the Paris Opéra Ballet has, without interruption, pursued its dual vocation as both a repository for the repertoire and a centre for creation. From as early on as the 18th century, French dancers and choreographers would perform all over Europe and return to Paris with foreign influences. Among the illustrious initiators of these exchanges were Jean-Georges Noverre (in Germany, London and Vienna); August Bournonville (in Denmark); Charles-Louis Didelot, Jules Perrot, Arthur Saint-Léon and Marius Petipa (in Russia); and the Vigano and Taglioni families (in Italy). This process reached a pinnacle in the 19th century with the creation of La Sylphide by Philippe Taglioni (1832), the first ballet to be danced in white tutus, and Giselle by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot (1841), which marked the peak of the romantic period. Making use of techniques that were avant-garde for the times (pointes, vols suspendus), these choreographies were soon to become the hallmarks of the magical universe of the ―ballet blanc‖ and the ballerina’s vocabulary.

In the 20th century, the Company explored new realms of dance under the guidance of several great ballet masters and choreographers, in particular Serge Lifar and Rudolf Nureyev, who would considerably extend the repertoire. Famous dancers such as Albert Aveline, Carlotta Zambelli, Lycette Darsonval and Yvette Chauviré would also contribute to the company’s excellence by making available their savoir-faire through the Ballet School.

Today, the Ballet, whose future development is carefully watched over by Brigitte Lefèvre, remains a vital centre for the living arts alternating revivals and new works and playing host to the greatest contemporary choreographers and numerous foreign dance companies. The Company has a vast repertoire including references both romantic (Joseph Mazilier, Philippe Taglioni) and classical (Marius Petipa); works from Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; modern choreographies (Martha Graham, José Limon); neoclassical ballets (George Balanchine, Roland Petit, Jerome Robbins, John Neumeier and John Cranko); contemporary works (Alvin Ailey, Pina Bausch, Maurice Béjart, Carolyn Carlson, Merce Cunningham, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Alwin Nikolaïs); and newly-commissioned works by guest choreographers (Jérôme Bel, Davide Bombana, Trisha Brown, Odile Duboc, Jean-Claude Gallotta, Emanuel Gat, Michel Kelemenis, Abou Lagraa, Blanca Li, Susanne Linke, Édouard Lock, Thierry Malandain, Wayne McGregor, Benjamin Millepied, José Montalvo, Michèle Noiret, Robin Orlyn, Angelin Preljocaj, Laura Scozzi, Saburo Teshigawara, Sasha Waltz) and by artists from the Company (Patrice Bart, Kader Belarbi, Nicolas Le Riche, José Martinez and Nicolas Paul).

The Paris Opéra Ballet is composed of 154 dancers, drawn, for the most part, from the Paris Opéra Ballet School directed by Elisabeth Platel. The average age is around twenty-five, making this one of the most youthful of today’s companies.

The Paris Opera Ballet's U.S. tour is underwritten by The Annenberg Foundation/GRoW, The Florence Gould Foundation and Vacheron Constantin and sponsored by Safran and United Airlines in association with the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet and l'AROP. Additional generous support provided by Institut français, NYSE Euronext, The Pershing Square Foundation and The Jerome Robbins Foundation.

Grant Park Orchestra
In 1943, the Chicago Park District assembled a single resident orchestra, the Grant Park Orchestra, under the direction of Principal Conductor Nicolai Malko. Since then, other prestigious conductors have held the position, including Irwin Hoffman, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, Zdnek Macal and Hugh Wolff. In 2000, Carlos Kalmar was named the Festival’s Principal Conductor. The Grant Park Orchestra was nominated for a Grammy award in 2004 for its CD entitled Robert Kurka: Symphonic Works. The Grant Park Orchestra draws its musicians from different orchestras and musical institutions based throughout the United States. Each summer, all of the orchestra members gather in Millennium Park for a 10 week long season consisting of intensive rehearsals and performances. During the year, the musicians can be found across the country performing with major orchestras, teaching at numerous universities and appearing frequently in concert stages across the country. Some organizations represented by Grant Park Orchestra musicians include the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, as well as the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Colorado, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Milwaukee, New Mexico, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Richmond, San Antonio, Seattle and Utah Symphonies.

All programs, prices and dates are subject to change * * *

The Harris Theater is pleased to announce that UBS is serving as the 2011-2012 Season Sponsor.
United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of the Harris Theater.
The Harris Theater gratefully acknowledges the Irving Harris Foundation for its leadership support of the Presenting Fund.
The Harris Theater is partially supported by the CityArts Program 4 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

internacional  Paris Opéra Ballet’s premiere appearance in Chicago

 © 2012 Danza Ballet

 

 

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