Magnifique! Inside Paris Opera Ballet’s 2017 Opening Season Gala


In the three years since its inception, the opening gala of the Paris Opera Ballet at the Opéra Garnier has become one of the most glamorous events of the calendar. This season, with the nomination of star dancer Aurélie Dupont as the storied institution’s director of dance, anticipation was running high. Balletomanes including Rick Owens and Michele Lamy, Clémence Poésy, Lenny Kravitz, Giambattista Valli, Alexandre Matthiussi, Pierre Hardy, Haider Ackerman, and Simon Porte Jacquemus—among others—packed into the gilded auditorium to catch the new repertoire.

And Dupont delivered: her decision to open with contemporary duos—“Faun“ by choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (with costumes by Hussein Chalayan) and „Trois Gnossiennes“ by Hans van Manen—had the fashion reaching for superlatives. Some even waxed nostalgic.

“It was beautiful and perfect,” offered Kravitz. Adding: “Not many people know this, but my career began in classical music. I sang in the Joffrey Ballet—from ages 11 to 15, I sang in the pit with the orchestra.” He also did a stint with the New York City opera and recorded with Zubin Mehta. “I love supporting dance, the opera, and the symphony—it’s all very dear to me,” the musician said as he and about 600 other dinner guests made their way upstairs to their tables.

AMI designer Matthiussi trained as a classical dancer for 10 years, and he admitted to feeling a little emotional. “Growing up in Normandy, dance was my life,” he recalled. “The sheets drying on the clothesline were my theater.” It wasn’t until age 14, when he auditioned to be a petit rat, as the youngest ballet dancers are called, that Matthiussi realized how cutthroat the world of dance can be. Dance’s loss became fashion’s gain. “I still have that moment when the curtain goes up: there are the lights, the colors, the spectacle, a moment in the spotlight,” he said. Still, one day he may return to the floor.

“I kind of miss it,” said Hardy, who started dancing (mostly contemporary) as a teenager and briefly considered it as a career before stopping at the age of 28. “This was really special,” he explained. “At this level of mastery it’s just beyond fashion, or time or modernity. It becomes almost abstract. It’s pure form. I feel almost like a child, wondering how such perfection is possible. Moments like this are precious.”

As guests filtered downstairs for the after-party, which was presented by Rolex, Dupont, wearing a draped evening dress by Alexandre Vaulthier, offered a few words on where she is hoping to take dance during her tenure. “We want to open the door to all sorts of people, culture, politics, dance and music,” she said. “My dream is to give my dancers theater—words, a voice, theater, fashion, diversity.”

On her upcoming agenda: more classics, more risk, and a few surprises.

“My hope is that anyone who thinks they don’t understand dance will realize that all you need to do is feel,” she smiled.


prev link:
createdAt:Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:57:50 +0000
displayType:Standard Article