Paris! Opera! Ballet! Is! Coming! To! Singapore! I couldn’t be more excited, which explains all the exclamation points (!!!!!). It’s been 8 long years since they last graced our shores, and as I type that, I feel like the old lady in Titanic. Because 8 years is too long between Paris Opera Ballet performances, and I don’t say that lightly – when I watched their performance of Giselle I cried, and I’ve been haunted ever since (I’ll never let go!). But unlike Jack and Rose, ours has a happy ending as Singapore once again reunites with PoB at the Esplanade theatre, this June 21 – 23.
“But they’re not doing a classical full-length!” Some people have sighed to me. I know. I know! But that doesn’t make me any less excited to watch them. They’re bringing their cream of the crop, from acclaimed étoiles Dorothée Gilbert, Léonore Baulaca nd Germain Louvet to rising new stars Sae Eun Park, and performing a triple bill of truly iconic works. This program is stacked, you guys. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. And if you need further persuasion, I’ve listed down 5 reasons why you should be getting your ticket to watch them tout de suite.
YOU LIKE BALLET
Described by the New York Times as Forsythe’s ‘love letter to ballet’, Blake Works I is a homage to classical ballet that draws on different classical works, from Sleeping Beauty to Serenade, incorporating choreography, port de bras and shapes from various ballets throughout history – see if you’re a ballet lover, see if you can spot all the references!
William Forsythe’s Blakework I, Dancer: Ludmila Pagliero
Blake Works I is a piece that shifts between complex, quick choreography and those romantic, lovely sweeping waltzes in ballet, all of it set to the music of acclaimed English producer/musician James Blake. Critics have called it everything from ‘sheer joy’ to ‘fantastic’. It’s a treat.
Or if you’re yearning for classical story ballets, Jerome Robbins’ In The Night is practically a mini story ballet. It has all the things we love about classical ballet: sumptuous tulle costumes, classical music (Chopin!), and a love story or 3.
Paris Opera Ballet, In The Night
In The Night takes you through the relationships of 3 couples at different stages of their relationships, from the flushes of youthful, ecstatic romance, to the tempestuous, passionate and complex dynamics of more mature couples. It’s a rumination on love that challenges the dancers not just artistically but physically, with difficult lifts disguised most elegantly, and is one of ballet’s most iconic neoclassical works.
YOU LIKE CONTEMPORARY DANCE
Choreographer Crystal Pite is emerging as a tour de force in the dance world, with her evocative, dramatic yet highly accessible pieces.
Season’s Canon, a modern piece she created for the POB premiered to a standing ovation among the notoriously hard to please, classically inclined Parisian audiences. Pite draws on the great masters of modern dance like Mats Ek and Jiri Kylian to create a thrilling, emotional work of dance that is distinctly her own.
Paris Opera Ballet, The Season’s Canon
Futuristic choreography is set to a Vivaldi inspired score, with dancers execute complicating steps as they move as one living, breathing organism, forming patterns and shapes onstage in an evocative, transcendental piece of dance that draws on themes of light and dark, and death and life.
YOU WANT TO WATCH POB IN THEIR ELEMENT
Blake Works I and Season’s Canon were pieces choreographed specifically for Paris Opera Ballet by Forythe and Pite.
From costumes evoking the petite rats of Paris Opera Ballet school to intricate and complicated footwork that draws on the POB style, Blake Works I is a work tailored specifically to show off the strengths and abilities of the Paris Opera Ballet. You won’t see a company perform this work better than the Paris Opera Ballet.
William Forsythe’s Blake Works I, Dancer: Ludmila Pagliero
Crystal Pite’s work, on the other hand, draws on POB’s reputation as the company with arguably the best corps de ballet in the world. Season’s Canon harnesses the unity of the corps as they move as one across the stage in undulating, rippling, complex formations.
YOU LIKE REALLY, REALLY
RIDICULOUSLY GOOD-LOOKING PEOPLE
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Paris Opera Ballet is stacked ull of ridiculously attractive people. From Dorothée Gilbert and Hannah O’Neill to Germain Louvet and Hugo Merchand, Paris Opera Ballet has a knack for choosing dancers who aren’t just supremely gifted, but supermodel-worthy as well. Don’t take my word for it – POB dancers have graced the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week, appeared the glossy pages of Vogue magazine and tapped to be brand ambassadors of renowned houses like Chloe.
The really really ridiculously good-looking Germain Louvet and Dorothee Gilbert
Photographer: James Bort
If you appreciate not just the artistic or technical aspects of ballet, but also the – ahem – physical aesthetics of the performers, head over to the Esplanade to watch some beautiful people turn out some beautiful dancing.
YOU CAN’T AFFORD A TRIP TO PARIS
Tickets to watch the Paris Opera Ballet in Singapore range from $45 – $180 – that’s much cheaper than maxing out your credit card on flights and accommodation to Paris. Instead, get a ticket to watch Paris Opera here, take an MRT ride to the Esplanade and experience joie de vivre the French way right here.
To maximise your Francophilic experience, buy a box of macarons from one of the patisseries in Raffles City, park yourself at one of the outdoor bars in the Esplanade with an aperitif before the show, and you can pretend you’re dining en plein air on a balmy evening in Paris.