After nearly one and a half month of rehearsals, a part of the Paris Opera Ballet moved to Opera Bastille to perform Raymonda. It is one of Marius Petipa’s classical ballets, certainly not as popular as his other Tchaikovsky ballets (I.e. Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker……etc). Glazunov’s music for Raymonda clearly do not meet Tchaikovsky’s level. It’s one of the classics that Nureyev brought to the Paris Opera Ballet when he was the artistic director.
Like the other Nureyev productions for the Paris Opera, the sets and costumes are absolutely stunning. The details and the designs are just incredible. We could also easily recognize Nureyev’s choreography by its complexity and difficulty, both for the principals’ variations and the corps de ballet parts.
It is probably the longest performance in which I’ve ever participated, we start at 7:30pm and finish not earlier than 11:00pm! The dancers would all agree that Raymonda is one of the most difficult classical ballets. So long and hard that the last time the Paris Opera programmed it was 11 years ago.
For me, it had been a long time since I last performed in Bastille. The last time was probably in Nureyev’s Don Quichotte two years ago.
So tomorrow we will start this long series of 24 performances of Raymonda throughout the entire month of December. However, France is expecting a major national strike starting on 5th December, which will shut down the public transports. We don’t know yet how long this social movement against the new retirement scheme reform will last. It is very likely that some of the performances will be cancelled.
Otherwise I will be performing every time in Act 2, occasionally in Act 1 and 3, and most of the time with a moustache!