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Concert pour la paix in Opera Garnier

Anastasia Sviridova shares her impressions after attending Concert pour la paix in the Palais Garnier:

This spring is difficult for all of us, especially for the Ukrainian people. The ballet world cannot stay away and after London, Paris had an amazing charity concert at the Opéra Garnier in Paris, which we attended last Sunday. The performance was aimed to support the victims of the conflict in Ukraine.

Dorotheé Gilbert, Katerina Kukhar (photos: Isabelle Aubert), Alice Renavand and Stéphane Bullion (photo: Sherlockedoga)

The concert, lasting almost 2.5 hours, consisted of a various program with opera arias and mini-ballets. It is difficult to talk about each of the pieces, because they all created a full-fledged canvas of a warm and blissful feeling, sad, but sublime.

The program, despite its radically different content, was very interesting: opera arias from Bellini's "Norma" and Verdi's "Nabucco", the chorus from Moussorgski’s "Khovantchina" are interspersed with modern and contemporary ballet, folk Ukrainian and Russian songs and romances. So, "Ne poy, Krasavitsa pri mne" performed by the French star Marie-Andrée Bouchard-Lesieur and accompaniment by Olga Dubinskaya became a real highlight of the first part of the concert. The penetrating music and the brilliant performance of Rachmaninov touched the very depths of the soul and fresh experiences with renewed vigor.

Mathieu Ganio (photo: Akiko KOIZUMI)

The “Clair de lune” ballet to the music by Debussy made me literally hold my breath for several minutes that it lasted. The spotlights on the recessed stage illuminated Mathieu Ganio and his solo dance in wide red clothes. His light, soaring dance, both impetuous and passionate, literally turned my head.

Marion Barbeau and Simon Le Borgne told us about the unsurpassed plasticity of the body in the contemporary ballet “Body and Soul”. Along with Chopin's music there was also a recitative. Although the piece was very short, it was like a teaser for a full-length production, and I’m interested in a more detailed watching.

Marion Barbeau and Simon Le Borgne, Katerina Kukhar and Aleksandr Stoianov

(photos: Isabelle Aubert)

After the intermezzo, the second act was opened by the passionate "Carmen Suite" performed by Katerina Kukhar and Aleksandr Stoianov. The beautiful couple of principals of the National Opera of Ukraine delighted the audience by the lightness of performance and deep feeling of each other.

Dorotheé Gilbert (photos: Isabelle Aubert)

Dorotheé Gilbert presented us with "La Mort du cygne", touching and airy. This mini-ballet has always been one of my favourites, and seeing it now performed by a French ballerina has become a great pleasure and an extension of the perception of the material.

Alice Renavand and Stéphane Bullion (photo: Akiko KOIZUMI)

My personal favourite was the piece L'abandon from the “Le Parc" by Angelin Preljocaj performed by Alice Renavand and Stéphane Bullion. This is a very sensual and subtle ballet. It is intelligent and precise. A beautiful story without words, only with movements and emotions, is louder than the brightest epithets. Love on stage to the Mozart’s score made me cry at the end of the concert program. Maybe that was the purpose?

It was very nice to see such a great performers together on stage and I would gladly go to a similar program in a different situation. Thanks to the Paris Opera for such a beautiful initiative and opportunity.

Text: Anastasia Sviridova

Photos: Isabelle Aubert, Akiko KOIZUMI, Sherlockedoga

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