Triumphant end to the season in Toulouse with Thierry Malandain and Maxime Pascal

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Toulouse. Grain Hall. 26-VI-2022. Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, epilogue for orchestra after Stéphane Mallarmé. Choreography: Thierry Malandain. Sets and costumes: Jorge Gallardo. Lights: Jean-Claude Asquié. Soloist: Philippe Solano

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937): Daphnis et Chloé, choreographic symphony for orchestra and choirs without words. Choreography: Thierry Malandain. Sets and costumes: Jorge Gallardo. Lights: François Menou. With: Natalia de Froberville, Chloé; Ramiro Gomez Samon, Daphnis; Alexandre De Oliveira Ferreira, Pan; Ruslan Savdenov, Dorcon; Alexandra Surodeeva, Lyceion

Capitole National Opera Ballet, direction: Kader Belarbi. Chorus of the Opéra national du Capitole, conductor: Gabriel Bourgoin. Orchester national du Capitole, conductor: Maxime Pascal

A hundred years separate the creation of Daphnis and Chloe by the Ballets Russes, in a choreography by Vaslav Nijinski, and the world premiere led by the Capitole National Opera Ballet, choreographed by Thierry Malandain. All the ingredients for a triumph are there.

Love is often depicted as a duet. It is alone, lying on an oversized box of tissues that Philippe Solano conveys all the desire of this faun, facing an intimidated nymph seen recently and who will leave him only a veil to satisfy his impulses. In movement, the almost naked body of the dancer marks with each movement, with each tense or mobile muscle, all the sexual bestiality of this unexpected encounter by a powerful and direct technique of the dancer, while registering in a surprising delicacy which could seem discordant. Eroticism thus mingles with sensuality, without an ancient parade or legendary reference initially present in the work under the gaze of Vaslav Nijinsky, nor without this “indecency” reproached by the public of 1912.

Created in 1995 on the Saint-Etienne scene, Thierry Malandin’s approach is rewarded by an Orchester national du Capitole of limpid clarity under the baton of Maxime Pascal. The elegance of the contrasts merges with the curves of the soloist’s body, the conductor remaining very attentive to the “impulses” generated on the stage.

In Daphnis and Chloe, ancient Greece is more suggested than represented, as the sober scenography by Jorge Gallardo declines a vaporous atmosphere between the purity of the space and the three columns in luminescent veils. In the background and above, just as suggestive, the Chorus of the National Opera of the Capitol marks the spirits with its homogeneity without words, giving all its spirituality to each of its interventions.

Rouslan Savdenov (Dorcon) and Alexandra Surodeeva (Lycéion) both benefit from reinforced secondary roles. Thierry Malandain indeed takes some liberties with respect to the initial argument even if it is globally respected. The choreographer gives thickness to the main characters, choreographing the god Pan through the delicate authority of Alexandre De Oliveira Ferreira.

We find respect for the principles of classical dance “and without complex” which makes the artist’s choreographies easily accessible, these are complemented by contemporary gestures of the arms and the unisex approach of the choreographer as well as the scenographer with steps always on demi-pointe shoes and costumes constructed identically for each participant, the length of the pleated skirts indicating the privileged social status of the person wearing them. Massively, Thierry Malandain’s known strengths are found in the undulating chains of the dancers, then the circles that coil and unravel. But Daphnis and Chloe brings some singularities including in particular the reference to the geometric friezes of Greek painting by subtle and well brought ports of arms. Finally, it is thanks to the fluidity of the figures and the clarity of the lines that the love between the two beings merges with that of nature.

blankIn the pit, the instrumental luxuriance of the score is carried by a shimmering direction and pleasant nuances in halftones. The Orchester national du Capitole is characterized by a subtle restraint and a careful reading that Maxime Pascal conducts with sincere commitment. The precision of his gestures connects every minute to the interactions with the set.

One might wonder why this creation by the choreographer was carried out in Toulouse and not with his company Malandin Ballet Biarritz. For Thierry Malandin, the proposal of the director of the ballet Kader Belarbi was his way out of the first confinement. Like what !

Photo credits: © David Herrero

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Toulouse. Grain Hall. 26-VI-2022. Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, epilogue for orchestra after Stéphane Mallarmé. Choreography: Thierry Malandain. Sets and costumes: Jorge Gallardo. Lights: Jean-Claude Asquié. Soloist: Philippe Solano

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937): Daphnis et Chloé, choreographic symphony for orchestra and choirs without words. Choreography: Thierry Malandain. Sets and costumes: Jorge Gallardo. Lights: François Menou. With: Natalia de Froberville, Chloé; Ramiro Gomez Samon, Daphnis; Alexandre De Oliveira Ferreira, Pan; Ruslan Savdenov, Dorcon; Alexandra Surodeeva, Lyceion

Capitole National Opera Ballet, direction: Kader Belarbi. Chorus of the Opéra national du Capitole, conductor: Gabriel Bourgoin. Orchester national du Capitole, conductor: Maxime Pascal

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Triumphant end to the season in Toulouse with Thierry Malandain and Maxime Pascal – ResMusica