Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo launches Winter Season

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in Maillot’s ‘Altro Canto1’ © Alice Blangero

Breaking off from its highly successful, and ongoing tour, to Biarritz, the German city of Ludwigshafen and Paris, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo presents the first programme of the Winter Season in Monaco, showcasing two works by Choreographer-Director Jean-Christophe Maillot.

In the first programme of the Monaco season, the Company performs Altro Canto 1 and Vers un Pays Sage, both of which were recently performed at the closing of the 30th festival of Le Temps d’aimer la Danse in Biarritz last month.

Minimalist and abstract, Altro Canto 1 choreographed by Maillot in 2006, premiered at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on 19th April that year. This work creates a mystical atmosphere, evoking the sensation experienced in a vaulted cathedral hall, or the twilight zone portrayed in some of the works of artist Georges de La Tour. Against a backdrop of light created by a floating sea of candles, the ballet is set to Claudio Monteverdi’s hauntingly beautiful Magnificat, with additional music by Biagio Marini and Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, the dancers swaying, vibrating and undulating – like fish in an ocean – in the gentle light.

The music is performed by the ensemble Akademia, under the baton of artistic director Françoise Lasserre. Costumes are by Karl Lagerfeld, scenography is by Rolf Sachs and lighting by Dominique Drillot.

By contrast, Maillot’s Vers un Pays Sage (Towards a Wise Country), is a ballet of rare physicality. It was created in 1995 as a tribute to the choreographer’s father, Jean Maillot – a painter and passionate workaholic, responsible for the creation of more than 260 designs and costumes for the opera, and who died at an early age. The ballet reflects the ebullience with which he approached his life and his work, and how this attitude hastened his early death. An ode to the excesses of Jean Maillot, the work poses the question as to whether it’s better to live one’s life cautiously or whether to attack it rashly and imprudently. Nevertheless, the ballet also pays tribute to the joy of togetherness and solidarity.

Vers un Pays Sage is set to what’s described as the “unbridled” music of San Francisco composer John Adams, giving no respite to the dancers, and presenting them with a challenge to “cross the finishing line”. It ends in a spirit of calm, against the backdrop of a painting by Jean Maillot, the colours of which serve as a reminder of the elusive shades, blends and complementary hues which characterise the work of the artist. The work premiered on 29th December, 1995, at the Salle Garnier Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Scenography is by Jean-Christophe Maillot and Dominique Drillot, costumes by Jean-Christophe Maillot and Jean-Michel Lainé, and lighting is by Dominique Drillot.

This double bill by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo will be staged at the Salle des Princes, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, from 15th to 17th October. Tickets may be reserved online.

This article first appeared in Riviera Buzz.

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