Leo Schofield makes no bones about it – he considers the Paris Opera Ballet the Rolls Royce of ballet companies worldwide.
He is not alone in this assessment: the Paris Opera Ballet is universally regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ballet company in the world.
And they’re coming to Sydney for an exclusive season of 13 performances of Giselle at the Capitol Theatre from January 29 to February 9.
“The Paris Opera Ballet is not only the oldest national ballet company in the world but also the most revered, cherishing its classical traditions while embracing the latest choreographic invention,” Schofield said.
“Giselle is an imperishable classic, the quintessential expression of early 19th century French Romanticism. It first saw the light of day in Paris in 1841 and has been a cornerstone of the repertoire ever since. Understandably perhaps, the company’s version is regarded as near as possible to definitive.”
The quintessential romantic ballet, Giselle tells the tale of an innocent country girl who, deceived by her noble lover, dies and joins the ranks of other young betrayed maidens in a spirit world. Here she manages to save the life of her lover through the sheer strength of her love.
Two stars of the Paris Opera Ballet, Mathias Heymann and Eve Grinsztajn, attended the launch on June 5 last year. Heymann won the 20th Annual Benois de la Danse Award for best performance by a Male Dancer, one of the highest awards for dance in the world.
Both said they were looking forward to their Australian tour, presented by Leo Schofield and Ian McRae.
Schofield first brought the company out in 2007 for a very successful season that comprised a Gala at the Sydney Opera House followed by a fortnight of Swan Lake and Jewels at the Capitol Theatre. Two years later they brought La Bayadère to Brisbane.
The Paris Opera Ballet was founded in 1661 by Louis XIV as the Academie Royale de la Danse. It has an unbroken tradition of 250 years at the forefront of this art form, producing great works, legendary dancers and exceptional choreographers.
In addition to being the oldest company, The Paris Opera Ballet is also the youngest, its ranks comprising étoiles or stars, premier danseurs, sujets or soloists, corps de ballet and junior dancers with an average age of 25.
Most of the dancers have come through the company school, with many starting their training in the unique French technique at the age of eight.
Giselle opens at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on January 29. More information at www.parisoperaballet.com.au