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LYON OPERA BALLET

YORGOS LOUKOS, Dance Director

The Lyon Opera Ballet is special in that although a classical formation it is oriented towards contemporary dance; given the wide range of dance styles proposed, the artists acquire many different techniques.

Over a period of nearly twenty years the company has built up an impressive repertoire (70 works including 35 world creations) bringing in choreographers favouring and developing language, inventing environments and settings : the post-modern Americans (Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Bill T. Jones, Ralph Lemon, Stephen Petronio and Susan Marshall), the writers of movement (Jiří Kylián, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato) and the explorers of new
territories combining body language and images (Frédéric Flamand, Philippe Decouflé, and more recently, Mathilde Monnier).

A step towards the future, embracing other paths to dramatic excellence, along with stimulating reinterpetations of classic works (Cinderella as seen by Maguy Marin, Romeo and Juliet by Angelin Preljocaj and The Nutcracker by Dominique Boivin). It can truly said that the Lyon Opera Ballet reflects today's multifaceted world of dance.
YORGOS LOUKOS

 

©Michel Cavalca

BALLET DE L'OPERA DE LYON

Programs

GISELE

Premiere 1982 Cullberg Ballet
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory March 2009


Choreography : Mats Ek
Music : Adolphe Adam
Set and costumes : Marie-Louise Ekman
Lighying design : Jörgen Jansson
Length : 1h50 with the intermission

Piece for 16 dancers

Whilst keeping Theophile Gautier's original "screenplay" along with Adolphe Adam's score, Mats Ek's rereading of romantic ballet's masterpiece Giselle underlines the tragedy of the situation, transforming Giselle into a village innocent, abused by a passing Don Juan. Losing her sanity she ends up in a mental institution where the veils and gossamer tutus of the legendary spectral Wilis are replaced by nurses'uniforms and straightjackets. A visionary transposition, whose violence and contemporary expressionism are profoundly moving.

DUO

Premiere 1996 Frankfurt Ballett
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory september 2003


Choreography, staging, costumes and lighting design : William Forsythe
Music : Thom Willems
Length : 13 minutes

Piece for 2 female dancers

A sort of clock set in motion by two dancers makes passing time visible : the dancers spin with time, drawing it out, unwinding it in spirals, matching each other mirror-like or interlinking twin-like. The performers borrow, lend and continually redistribute their "material" (a dance phrase).

SECOND DETAIL

Premiere 1991 National Ballet of Canada
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory november 1995


Choreography, lighting design and staging : William Forsythe
Music : Thom Willems
Costumes : William Forsythe / Issey Miyake
Length : 26 minutes

For 14 dancers

In a vast grey-white space, bathed in soft light, cog by cog, a human "dancing machine" seems to be set into motion: in a flood of energy released with virtuosity, then halting, the performers form lines and then break up just as quickly.

ONE FLAT THING, REPRODUCED

MIXED BILL

Premiere 2000 Frankfurt Ballett
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory September 2004


Choreography, staging and lighting design : William Forsythe
Music : Thom Willems
Length : 17 minutes

Piece for 14 dancers

A wild course between large tables, rather like rafts, living spaces in mid-air, the dance begins to take form and develops in the passages between, below and above these platforms whose very arrangement organizes our perception : bodies seen whole, in halves or truncated. A torrent of unusual constructions in vision and sound.

LIMB'S THEOREM

Premiere 1990 Frankfurt Ballett
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory September 2005


Choreography and costumes : William Forsythe
Music : Thom Willems
Staging : Michael Simon (parts 1 and 2), William Forsythe (part 2)
Lighying design : William Forsythe, Michael Simon
Length : 85 minutes

Piece for 27 dancers

On sharp points or in socks the dancers loom out of the night like wandering souls for a "three-rounds" confrontation with a universe of threatening obstacles that at times conceals them from our view. Appearances and disappearances, giddy accelerations and deceptive moments of respite, silhouettes deformed by their own shadows, obsessive and explosive sounds combine to undermine the spectators' perceptions.

BELLA FIGURA

Première 1995, Nederlands Theater

New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory February 27th 2007

 

Choreography, staging and lighting design : Jiri Kylian

Music : extracts from Lukas Foss, Pergolese, Marcello, Vivaldi, Torelli

Costumes : Joke Visser

Length : 30 minutes

Piece for 9 dancers

When the world is going wrong the spectacle seems to continue to "put up a good show". The magic of theatrical illusion mixes up make-believe and truth. Surrealistic scenes are brought to life by flesh and blood creatures linked in intense, polished duos. Furtive embraces express love for live.

PETITE MORT

Première 1991, Nederlands Dans Theater

New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory March 9th 1997

 

Choreography and staging : Jiri Kylian

Music : Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Costumes : Joke Visser

Lighting design : Joop Caboort

Length : 18 minutes

Piece for 12 dancers

Six men, six women. Six foils extend the mens' arms and six hooped dresses cover the womens' bodies like symbolic objects of desire and seduction. In beautiful pas de deux, a seemingly inexhaustible treasure-trove of movements, the two sexes defy each other, with musicality and voluptuousness, reaching the heights of ecstasy suggested by the title.

DIE GROSSE FUGE

Premiere 2001 Maguy Marin Company
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory february 2006


Choreography : Maguy Marin
Music : Ludwig van Beethoven (Die Grosse Guge)
Costumes : Chantal Cloupet
Lighting design : François Renard
Length : 18 minutes

Piece for 8 dancers

Four women in red - blood and passion - surrender to the vibrations of Beethoven's string quartet. Bodies become music that, rising and swelling, is suddenly and violently rent apart by the instrumentalists' bow strokes as it recounts aspiration and disillusionment. Unbridled dance swallows up space in an electric atmosphere. Frantic, breathless pursuits until the dancers drop underline the absolute necessity to live every instant as if it were our last.

BOLERO

Première by the Lyon Opera Ballet December 26th 1998

 

Staging and choreography : Meryl Tankard

Music : Maurice Ravel

Set and lighting design : Régis Lansac

Costumes : Sylie Skinasi

Length : 15 minutes

Piece for 12 dancers

On screen-like curtains, resembling magic filters hanging between the audience and the dancers, silhouettes of Spanish women in cut-out paper dresses and hybrid creatures, both minuscule and exaggeratedly large, are projected in time to the obsessional rhythm of Ravel's score : images that bloom in crescendo, propolled by dance in an ever-mounting Dionysian frenzy.

GROOSLAND

Premiere 1989 Het Nationale Ballet 1995
New to the Lyon Opera Ballet repertory january 1995


Choreography : Maguy Marin
Music : Jean-Sebastien Bach
Costumes : Monserrat Casanova
Lighting design : Jan Hofstra, Denis Mariotte
Length : 30 minutes

Piece for 20 dancers

Odd groups of portly little men and equally plump little women waddle to Bach's cheerful score. And yet their podgy, padded forms, at first sight so unprepossessing, convey an infinitely tender sense of agility and poetry. Vive la difference!

CINDERELLA

Created on November 29, 1985, by the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon at the Opéra de Lyon


 

Choreography : Maguy Marin

Music : Cinderella by Serge Prokofiev


Additional musical sequences: Jean Schwartz

Sets : Montserrat Casanova

Costumes : Montserrat Casanova

Masks : Monique Luyton

Lighting : John Spradbery

Length: 90 minutes

Piece for 27 dancers

 

Life is hard for Cinderella, at the mercy of her abusive stepmother and two stepsisters. Cinderella shows tenderness for a strange being surrounded by strange animals. Cinderella gets a dancing lesson; the strange being becomes a fairy, and the animals become musicians. Cinderella, transformed, leaves for the ball as a stunning stranger; she enraptures the prince and makes jealous tongues wag in the Court. The stranger disappears - but one of her tiny, tiny slippers has fallen; the prince goes in search of the one woman who can wear it. In vain, two exotic beauties try to seduce him; in vain, the two stepsisters try to fit the slipper on; in vain, the stepmother tries to conceal Cinderella: the fairy reveals Cinderella with her dainty foot to the prince, and a new couple is formed.

 

The fairy tale - a necessity

However one chooses to interpret or justify it, be it Perrault
("tiresome stories for old women and children") or Bettelheim
("from the psychoanalytic point of view, it is crucial to tell children
fairy tales"), it generally tells a tale in its fantastic colors - but what
human experience is it also responsible for blurring and yet
communicating ? "Essentially, the tale describes a passage - a
necessary, difficult passage, hindered by countless obstacles,
preceded by apparently insurmountable tests, which is happily
achieved at the end in spite of everything. Through the most
implausible fabrications is thrust a very real fact: the individual's
need to pass from one state to another, from one age to another,
and to shape herself through painful metamorphoses which are
not finished until she reaches real maturity. (...) The tale is
profoundly ambiguous, and while the simplicity of its design is
pleasing, what draws one in is the palpable truth in it, even as one would not attempt to interpret that truth. As masked as it is by symbols and imagery, it still speaks in a plainer tongue than myth or fables, and children know this instinctively, and "believe" in it because they find in it that which interests them more than anything: an identifiable image of themselves, their family, and their relatives." (Marthe Robert)

 

The idea of Cinderella in a "cardboard theater," the very strong conviction that dance, even more than theater, is an art of self-representation - a need to know oneself - and that the mask keeps one from being known by others - Maguy Marin hears their echo in both texts, not without echoes in her own approach: "On today's navel-gazing stage, where actors, writers, directors and audiences love to see themselves, one might think that the infinite metamorphoses permitted by the mask - narcissistic pleasure or doorway to myth - lie or revelation - would have gone out of style once and for all. (...) The mask holds back time in a world of illusion that lies outside memory." / Fabienne Pascaud. (Article on Werner Strub and Doboujinksy, mask makers).

 

"Cinderella, the piece created by French choreographer Maguy Marin for the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon, is an unexpectedly original and magical work. (...) The entire production is set in a dreamlike atmosphere, a vision of lost childhood that tells of the pursuit of happiness that is now out of reach. Despite the disenchantment, there is a strong feeling that at the very least, one must try to believe in the promise of the happy ending of every fairy tale." The NY Times, A. Kisselgoff

 

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