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  • Writer's pictureJulia Sumzina

Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris: A Midsummer fairy tale by George Balanchine

It's Midsummer period centered upon the summer solstice, traditionally celebrated around the Europe and some more countries around the World and I want to continue the series of reviews on the shows by Paris Opera Ballet with gorgeous A Midsummer Night's Dream (Le songe d'une nuit d'été) by George Balanchine. The performance filmed in March 2017 was on the screens again last month thanks to and I finally want to tell you a little about this amazingly beautiful ballet.

George Balanchine (Georgy Melitonovich Balanchivadze) was a dancer, choreographer, actor and director of Georgian origin born in Saint Petersburg. He started his career as choreographer in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and after 1933 choreographer lived and worked in the USA, where he created the most famous his works including A Midsummer Night's Dream (1962).

A Midsummer Night's Dream is Balanchine's first original full-size ballet, not very typical for him: it has the plot, characters, not just dancers as in the most of his ballets, with magnificent costumes and scenery. It is based on the comedy by William Shakespeare written in 1595 – 1596. The play consists of four interconnecting plots, connected by the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta and a parallel plot line of Oberon, king of the fairies, and Titania, his queen. Here the magic creatures and humans trying to resolve their love relationships with the help of Puck (mythical forest spirit, a northern analogue of ancient Greek Pan), but step by step they are even more confused in the vicissitudes of love.

The version by Paris Opera Ballet is magically beautiful with its colourful elegant costumes and amazing decorations by Christian Lacroix, with the atmosphere made by dancers and orchestra.

The performers including six “etoiles” Eleonora Abbagnato, Laetitia Pujol, Alice Renavand, Hugo Marchand, Stéphane Bullion, Karl Paquette and other very bright dancers like Florian Magenet, Emmanuel Thibauld, Alessio Carbone, Fanny Gorse, Audric Bezard, Sae Eun Park and others were the magic creatures themselves, dancing this fascinating fairy tale on the highest level.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is very popular among the ballet companies nowadays and I can say the version by Paris Opera Ballet is one of the best ones. All we love magic and this is the magic in reality, performed on the stage.

Photos: Agathe Poupeney, OnP

Video: Opéra national de Paris

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