Roland Petit’s Carmen at the London Coliseum
21-24 July, London Coliseum
English National Ballet Summer season at the London Coliseum offers audiences a rare opportunity to see Roland Petit’s extraordinary work in London.
“What Petit has done over the past six decades is a marvel of dance-making, of sustained imaginative resource and elegance, of adventurousness, always moving onwards, of unforced theatrical magic” Financial Times
France’s most famous choreographer, Roland Petit, revolutionised ballet with his work for Hollywood films and his provocative, poetic theatricality. Petit epitomises the Left Bank creative expressionism of Paris, from owning and operating the Casino de Paris to marrying France’s most glamorous and seductive dancer, Zizi Jeanmaire.
English National Ballet’s programme features three of Roland Petit’s greatest works, L’Arlésienne, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort and Carmen.
Inspired by Daudet’s short story, L’Arlésienne is about Federi’s thwarted love for Vivette, the young girl from Arles, set to music composed by Bizet for the story. Roland Petit’s drama of primordial power unfolds against the frame of the corps de ballet and a landscape by Van Gogh.
Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, famously performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov in the opening sequence of the movie White Nights (1985), encapsulates the existentialist anguish of post-War Paris. This dancedrama was invented by Jean Cocteau for Roland Petit, and sees a faithless woman tormenting her young lover in his cluttered Parisian garret, driving him to despair.
Carmen exploded into the decorous world of British ballet at its premiere in 1949, with ballet lovers shocked by the sexually voracious choreography and music lovers by the daring rearrangement of Bizet’s electrifying score. Created especially by Petit for Renée (Zizi) Jeanmaire, Carmen is a vivid and emotionally charged story of seduction, intrigue and betrayal which remains Petit’s most popular work.
Dancing the title role in Carmen will be Fernanda Oliveira, Daria Klimentová, Anais Chalendard and Begoña Cao. Performing Jenue Homme et la Mort, will be Dmitri Gruzdyev, Esteban Berlanga and Laurent Liotardo; with Begoña Cao, Anais Chalendard and Jia Zhang. L’Arlésienne will feature Elena Glurdjidze, Erina Takahashi, Ksenia Ovsyanick with Vadim Muntagirov and Esteban Berlanga.
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