It is gratifying to see how many arts organisations are giving performances in support of the people of Ukraine, and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo is no exception. This month, the Company dedicates the opening performance of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Œil pour Œil to this inspirational cause.
Created in 2001, and originally premiered at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on 14th April of that year, Œil pour Œil (which translates as An Eye for an Eye) is based on a detective story by French editor, writer and translator of Italian literature into French, Jean-Marie Laclavetine. Written especially for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Œil pour Œil is set in the dirty alleys synonymous with the detective novel, dealing with the issues commonly associated with crime fiction – revenge, corruption, the underworld, sex and predation.
It tells of three inseparable friends, Iris, Adam and Wolf – the two boys having been rescued from the slums by Iris. Unfortunately, they both fall in love with her, and the friendship is shattered when she chooses Adam. Wolf falls under the influence of the Octopus, an erotomaniac who reins over a bestiary of Chimeras and Dog-cops, and who monitors every corner of the city from surveillance screens. As time passes, Wolf is haunted by the memory of Iris and sets a trap for his rival to get rid of him. Before escaping with her, Wolf gives Iris a briefcase which he has stolen from the Octopus, and this sets in train a hunt for the two of them, which has tragic results.
Jean-Christophe Maillot has done both the choreography and staging of the ballet, and set it to music by three composers – the postmodernist Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt – the Estonian composer who created a unique musical language called tintinnabuli – and American jazz and classical pianist, composer and saxophonist Keith Jarrett. Costumes are by Jérôme Kaplan, with lighting by Dominque Drillot.
Œil pour Œil runs at the Salles des Prince, Grimaldi Forum Monaco, from 28th April to 1st May, with proceeds of the opening performance going to the Monaco Red Cross, to support the people of Ukraine. Tickets may be reserved at Monte-Carlo Ticket, and more information can be found on the Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo website.
All photographs © Alice Blangero
Information sourced from:
Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo programme notes
A version of this article first appeared on the Riviera Buzz website