Paris Opera Ballet’s Cri de cœur — a three-hour collage of nervous breakdowns

A “cry from the center” — to borrow the title of Alan Lucien Øyen’s Cri de cœur — crammed the Palais Garnier this week, and it didn’t come from the stage. Because the curtain fell on the primary half of Øyen’s endless world premiere, somebody yelled, loud sufficient for your entire viewers to listen to: “Let’s all thank Aurélie Dupont for this crappy manufacturing.”

Dupont resigned as creative director of the Paris Opera Ballet on the finish of final season and Cri de cœur is a late entry to the record of baffling commissions that outlined her six-year tenure. Within the absence of a alternative for Dupont (the recruitment course of is underneath means), there was presumably nobody to inform Øyen that his three-hour collage of nervous breakdowns required a drastic edit.

Norway’s Øyen has lengthy styled himself after Pina Bausch; in 2018, he was one of many first exterior choreographers to make an evening-length work for her Tanztheater Wuppertal. Alas, he’s no Bausch, simply because the Paris Opera is not any Tanztheater. (It’s not for lack of making an attempt: Kontakthof would be the subsequent work of Bausch’s to hitch the repertoire, in December.)

The depth of analysis and lived expertise that’s half and parcel of the perfect Tanztheater works merely isn’t there. Cri de cœur’s massive novelty is to have POB’s dancers converse onstage — making the expertise of non-French audio system pressured to depend on subtitles above the stage that rather more painful, despite the fact that the forged acquitted themselves in addition to the platitude-heavy script allowed.

The slight, fragmentary narrative is structured round Marion Barbeau, a charismatic soloist whose performing profession was lately kick-started by Cédric Klapisch’s newest movie En Corps, forged right here as a lady dying from most cancers. Round her, there’s Antonin Monié as an imaginary pal of kinds, No one; former Wuppertal star Héléna Pikon, underused as a mom determine; Laurène Levy as a pet lizard, who slithers about whereas speaking about flies; and Simon Le Borgne, Barbeau’s real-life ex-boyfriend.

We all know this, awkwardly, as a result of Øyen’s entire shtick is to blur the strains between fiction and actuality. (Do you know the 2 generally intersect? Enormous if true.) The dancers joke about POB’s hierarchy and at one level stage an AA-style assembly that will or will not be about their very own depressive episodes. There are lots such random, self-indulgent scenes, interspersed with choreography that may have labored in small doses — limbs reaching precariously into house, darting arms and deep pliés, as if the dancers have been rewinding by means of latest repertoire by Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Shechter and Mats Ek.

All of it culminates within the corps de ballet shuffling mournfully to the music of Max Richter, the coup de grâce in a mawkish, uncredited rating, as Barbeau expires finally. If this sounds interesting, catch Cri de cœur when you can, as a result of there doubtless received’t be one other alternative.

★★☆☆☆

To October 13, operadeparis.fr

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