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Subject: "Manuel Legris & MaggioDanza in Petit's "Proust"" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1766
Reading Topic #1766

15-06-01, 11:10 AM (GMT)
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"Manuel Legris & MaggioDanza in Petit's "Proust""
   MaggioDanza is the small home company of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Its dancers have basically classical training, even if from 1996 to 1998 its AD was Karole Armitage. At present the AD is Elisabetta Terabust, the great Italian ballerina who made an international career dancing extensively abroad, with the London Festival Ballet and later with the Ballet de Marseille. When she stopped dancing she became AD of the Opera Ballet School in Rome and of La Scala Ballet, showing her ability in picking up young talents and helping them in their artistic development, a quite remarkable feature when the goal is to keep ballet alive for the future generations. Her ideas gave way to another unforgettable evening of ballet yesterday in Florence. Her proposal was one of the most successful among Roland Petit's creations, "Proust ou les intermittences du coeur".
First given on the 24th of August 1974 on the small stage of the Salle Garnier in Montecarlo, it is divided in 2 acts and 13 scenes. The choreography is concentrated on a bunch of characters from Proust's "Recherche", leaving very small fragments to the corps de ballet. The list of names who created the roles is impressive: Araujo, Bryans, Ganio, Duquenoy, Kain, Denard! Not less great are the dancers who were filmed in it some time later. Yesterday Terabust assigned her dancers nearly all the soloist roles, inviting three guests from outside: Eva Lopez from Duato's company as Albertine, Massimo Murru from La Scala Ballet (one of the artists she pushed while she was its AD) as Proust and, brilliant choice, Manuel Legris from POB as Morel.
In the elegant settings and costumes by Luisa Spinatelli, with recorded music by Fauré, Franck, Debussy, Saint-Saens, Beethoven and Wagner, the characters were presented in solos and pas de deux whose mood and choreographic style is amazingly varied. Silvia Cuomo and Denis Bragatto danced lyrically a neo-classical pas de deux, while Antonella Cerreto and Marco Di Giulio were Odette and Swann swept in a sensual encounter. The atmosphere became more and more ambiguous with the arrival of Albertine, fascinating Proust, desiring Andrée, raising Proust's jealousy and becoming his prisoner. This is probably the most famous part of the ballet as it's often performed by itself in galas.
After the intermission, the scene is stolen by Morel. His first solo starts innocently. The steps are quick and technically demanding: petite batterie, tours à la seconde, double tours en l'air and a magnificent diagonal of sissonnes one highest than the other until the last very huge one that transformed Legris in a flying angel. The audience, who was already warm and had clapped at the end of each previous scene, became hot and started screaming at such a perfect display of bravura and polishness. But this was just the beginning of a transformation: Morel's true nature is unveiled in the following scene as soon as he strips and lies naked on a velvet sofa in a brothel. Secret rites and forbidden pleasures led to the last pas de deux between Morel and Saint-Loup. The handsome blond hero was danced by Umberto De Luca, the best of the MaggioDanza male dancers. It was not easy for him to perform the mirror-like choreography facing a superb Legris but he coped. In the final scene Sabrina Vitangeli as Duchesse de Guermantes, a role particularly suiting her beauty and allure, reminded me of an Odile on high red heel: in the past the character was performed also by Maia Plisetskaya, a ballerina whose image is forever connected with the swan.
There are three more scheduled performances at the Teatro alla Pergola, with changes in the cast. A suite of the ballet will be danced on the 29th at the gala in Santa Croce Square. My only hope is that Legris will be given in future more chances to dance Morel so that others will be able to see and enjoy his performance whose quality makes me think he's the perfect interpreter of this role.

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