Sunday, January 22, 2012

Paris Opera Ballet, Giselle, Esplanade Theatre, 21 Jan 2012

Tonight I caught Giselle, with the classic Paris Opera Ballet -- starring les ├ętoiles Clairemarie Osta and Mathieu Ganio.

I must say I'm so pleased with the arts scene that's wafting into Singapore. I remember a little over a year ago I was in Europe clinging to my experiences of the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi, West End, etc., and I now find they have all delightfully followed me home. I've had such a fantastic helping of performing arts this year without having to go anywhere at all, and it makes me so very glad.

And tonight I got to see the best Corps de Ballet in memory. Their calibre of dancing was exquisite, and their coordination impeccable. I never knew a corps could add quite so much to a ballet, and I ended up looking forward to their scenes more than anything else. From the angles of their head to the exact elevation of each of their jetes to the placement of their arms, every single movement was perfectly synchronized. Their dancing was powerful and prominent, instead of forming the usual moving backdrop. Watching that segment where the willis hop their fondu arabesques across the stage was incredibly surreal -- I felt like I was staring into one of those infinitely reflecting mirrors.

In fact, I swear I (and the audience) cheered louder for them than for the stars. Honestly I found Osta and Ganio to be nothing special -- technically excellent, sure, but just a tad stiff. Which, actually, may just be carryover from days in a corps so perfected. (I do remember feeling the same lack of emotional turnover when I managed to catch La Dame Aux Camelias in Palais Garnier in '10.)

I will grant them that they didn't have all that much to play with in Giselle though. It really struck me today how 2-dimensional and somewhat.. soporific of a ballet Giselle is. Your standard peasant opening scene, followed by the fleeting conflict of Giselle's madness, and then the merrymaking of the undead. I was more than a little bored.

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