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Subject: "Raymonda in Milan" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #948
Reading Topic #948

22-09-00, 08:54 AM (GMT)
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"Raymonda in Milan"
   For a ballet addict POB's Raymonda is the same as for a child a visit to Eurodisney. 50 dancers on stage at the same time, displaying all the variety of styles from pure academy to character and folk dance, and a ballerina who has 6 variations and 3 pdds to tackle. POB brought its fabulous production to Milan from the 20th of September for 5 performances and I've seen the first and the second ones.
The last time POB danced on the stage of Teatro alla Scala was in 1951, nearly half a century ago. Since then only some étoiles guested with La Scala Ballet. Nevertheless the media ignored the event, there were no posters outside the theatre and for once tickets could be bought only at the box office. I wasn't surprised to see many empty boxes. The opening performance was attended by a couple of critics and the brightest stars of La Scala Ballet: Alessandra Ferri and Roberto Bolle. There was also Noella Pontois and I could exchange a few words with her at the end of the ballet. She was particularly pleased by the performance given by the corps de ballet, the first one after only 15 days in studio following long holidays. Moreover she pointed out what a difference was dancing Raymonda on a rather sloping stage after the flat one of Bastille.
From her first entrance Agnès Letestu showed us a great command of the title role. Not only she tackled the technical demands with great smoothness, holding every balance as long as the music allowed it. She was glowing in her prince's arms during the duet in the first act and disgusted by Abderam's persistent courtship. José Martinez didn't miss the chance to show the qualities of his dancing, the concentration and the lightness, the extension and the legato. But the outstanding feature of his performance was the partnership with Letestu, whose beautiful lines could be put in the best evidence by those of Martinez.
Seeing Hilaire giving the dangerous edge to the choreography of Abderam one can wonder how Raymonda cannot be seduced by a dancing which combines the flight of the hawking with the power of the panther.
Muriel Hallé and Eleonora Abbagnato were Henriette e Clémence, Gil Isoart and Stéphane Phavorin were Béranger and Bernard, Fanny Fiat and Hervé Courtain were the Sarrasins and Karine Villagrassa and Christophe Duquenne were the Espagnols. All the soloists were brilliant and polished, particularly the male ones.
The following evening the role of Raymonda was danced by Aurélie Dupont. She had some weaknesses in her first variation but soon she recovered and her performance became better and better. Even her rendering of the character was much deeper than in July in Paris. The only passage she must still polish is, from my point of view, ther movement of her arms in the third variation (the one with the scarf) and I wonder if they would ever be better than Letestu's.
The audience was even thinner than the previous evening but quite more cheerful, especially since the arrival of Jean-Guillaume Bart on scene. He is Jean de Brienne at hundred per cent, a prince to dream for. His performance showed no stress at all in the terrible technical features but in the landings of double tours en l'air and I wonder what the problem was.
Wilfried Romoli was Abderam. His performance was a very good one but on a lesser scale than the one given by Hilaire (that's the difference between premier danseur and étoile).
The complete distribution of the soloist was better than the one on the opening performance. I must praise Laetitia Pujol as Henriette and Clairemarie Osta as Clémence: IMO the best ones that I've seen in these roles in all the performances I attended in Paris and in Milan. Gil Isoart and Christophe Duquenne were Béranger and Bernard, Cécile Sciaux and Stéphane Elizabé were the Sarrasins, Laurence Laffon and Stéphane Phavorin were the Espagnols.
The orchestra was conducted by Vello Pahn and fared well.

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