Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Roland Petit Le Jeune Homme et la Mort - Carmen Opera National De Paris|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A nice dvd release, although why was L'Arlesienne excluded?
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 11/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In an age when many ballet companies think that releasing videos will reduce ticket sales, Paris Opera Ballet continues to release wonderful dvd's, including their lavish production of Balanchine's Jewels. This is their latest release, a double-bill of two of Roland Petit's most famous works, Jeune Homme et la Mort and Carmen. As always, the production values are great, the dancing is stylish, and I have few complaints about the videotaping.
Jeune Homme, made in 1946, is a strange ballet. Set to Bach's Passion, it's an intense, macabre ballet. To be blunt, it's somewhat creepy. After a fight with a cold and sinister mistress, a man hangs himself, and the mistress literally turns out to be the Grim Reaper. It stars Nicholas LeRiche and Marie Agnes Gillot. Gillot is an unusual dancer -- extremely tall and wide-boned, with strikingly beautiful features, she dances with bolder strokes than the usually elegant and refined POB etoiles. This makes her perfect for the role as the Mistress. LeRiche is also slightly bigger-boned and more broad-stroked than the POB danseurs, but I would like to see someone else essay this role, as LeRiche has had a virtual lock on all the Petit male roles in videos.
The other Petit offering is the more famous Carmen, which is extremely popular in dance galas. Again, Don Jose is Nicholas LeRiche, but he dances with his real-life wife, the lovely, doe-eyed, petite Clairemarie Osta. As much as I love watching Osta in anything, I feel she's slightly miscast as Carmen. She's kittenish and sexy, but not much of a femme fatale. This Carmen would never be callous enough to drive a man to murder. Nevertheless, the husband and wife team have wonderful chemistry, and, as I said, I'd pay to watch Osta in the chicken dance.
Something irks me: a friend of mine in Europe told me L'Arlessienne was also videotaped and part of a telecast. So why isn't it released on dvd?"
The Paris Opera Ballet honours Roland Petit
Marc Haegeman | Gent, Belgium | 02/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This new release documents the programme dedicated to the French choreographer Roland Petit (1924-) by the Paris Opera Ballet in July 2005. For some obscure reason, though, the DVD only lists two of the three Petit classics shown during that run, "Le jeune homme et la mort" and "Carmen", while "L'Arlésienne" has been inexplicably left out. Curiously enough, Paris dance director Brigitte Lefèvre talks about all three ballets in the short interview which features as a bonus on the disc.
Both "Jeune homme" and "Carmen" are carried to a large extent by an outstanding Nicolas Le Riche (who danced indeed both on the same evening). "Le jeune homme et la mort" was created in 1946 by the 22-year old choreographer in a very different era, but its emotional power has largely stood the test of time. Since it entered the Paris Opera's repertory in 1990 (with "Carmen") it found magnificent new interpreters. The cast featured here is without doubt one of the strongest. Le Riche has the full measure of the tricky role of the youth, boasting an undeniable theatrical intensity and an awesome virtuosity, and finding a very contemporary expression of the mal de vivre. In Marie-Agnès Gillot as Death he has an ideal match. With her striking plastique and equally dominating dramatic presence - mysterious, sensual, provocative, and tough as nails - Gillot complements Le Riche's vacillating and impulsive youth to perfection. Respighi's Hollywoodian orchestration of the Bach's Passacaile in C minor may now sound overblown, but the set design by Georges Wakhevitch (although the final scene, overlooking the roofs of Paris, has been changed) still looks superbly apt.
The same match isn't achieved in "Carmen", Petit's 1949 ballet that also appears now a lot more dated than "Jeune homme" - more by the music-hall penchants of the choreographer and his fixation on chairs than by the gaudy Antoni Clavé sets and costumes. Le Riche is a dashing and passionate don José, dancing his solos with precision and vigour. Yet Clairemarie Osta - in spite of having been selected by Petit - is a rather one-dimensional Carmen: feminine, coquettish, but far too meek, too proper and lacking strength of character, consequently unbalancing the dramatic denouement significantly. Dorothée Gilbert sparkles as one of the smugglers.
Directed for TV and video by Denis Caïozzi, image and sound quality are excellent throughout. Paul Connelly conducts a not always precise Orchestre Colonne. Short interviews with Brigitte Lefèvre, Roland Petit and Nicolas Le Riche feature as bonus. With only 92 minutes running time the DVD is not overly generous and the inclusion of "L'Arlésienne" would have added considerably to the overall value of this release.
Madhu Avasarala | Bangalore, India | 04/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The reviewers before me have done a splendid job so I will add what I think will maybe additionally helpful:
First of all do buy this DVD as it features dances that are fairly rare and also superbly produced (POB after all).
The Le Jeuene Homme is what I would call a likable modern ballet: The setting is modern but the dancing is classical and so is the music. Note that the theme itself is macabre, featuring suicide. However just like a Dostoevsky work the execution is still finally a celebration of proper human values even if the theme is dark. The virtuosity of Nicholas is extraordinary. There is a moment when he is horizontal in mid air which is a consummation of ballet technique to show sheer spirit through sheer material human effort. This ballet is short and the end is disturbing but nevertheless a treasure to be repeatedly enjoyed.
I know of only 2 productions of Carmen: The one with Baryshnikov (ABT?) and this one. This one is much better - better dancing, better production. Interestingly the interpretation is similar.
All classical ballet lovers should also like this dance.
ONE TREMENDOUS HIT and one acceptable
James A. Rosenfield | 06/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent presentation, although I am far more impressed with LE JEUNE HOMME than CARMEN, which takes up most of the latter two thirds.
The ballet language is very much the same, but it is much more suited for the contemporary (even though done in 1946) existential story of LE JEUNE HOMME. Also, the marvelous Nicolas le Riche is far better used in LE JEUNE. Here the combination of classical technique and pure athleticism is exciting viewing. The first is thrilling; CARMEN drags. Even so, I think this is a valuable item for a dance lover's collection"