NY Premieres from Paris Opera & Ballet: “Samson et Dalila” and “Millepied/Robbins/Balanchine” at FIAF

This spring, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, and the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet are thrilled to announce a new series presenting HD screenings of opera and ballet performances from the Paris Opera & Ballet for the first time in New York City.

New Yorkers will have a rare opportunity to experience the company’s outstanding productions, filmed live in HD. The program launches with two acclaimed recent performances from the Paris Opera & Ballet repertoire: Millepied/Robbins/Balanchine on Sunday, May 20, and Samson et Dalila on Sunday, June 24, both at 1pm in FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall.

Millepied/Robbins/Balanchine by the renowned Paris Opera Ballet features beloved works by two of the 20th century’s great American choreographers and the premiere of a new creation by Benjamin Millepied with music by composer Nico Muhly.

Samson et Dalila, Camille Saint-Saëns’ lushly romantic re-telling of the biblical tale, will be presented in a new production conducted by lauded Paris Opera music director Philippe Jordan and staged by Damiano Michieletto.

Millepied/Robbins/Balanchine

Sunday, May 20 at 1pm

Introduced by Susan Gluck Pappajohn, Balanchine Trust

“Fireworks! Sets packed with energy and magnificent duos!”—Le Figaro

“Paris Opera Shows off Its Brilliance! … A dazzling display of formal craft!”—The New York Times 

“Benjamin Millepied shines in the footsteps of his masters…”—Le Monde

Benjamin Millepied pays tribute to George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, two extraordinary choreographers, both of Russian origin, who helped to redefine dance in Europe and the US in the 20th century.

In time to celebrate the Jerome Robbins centennial this year, the HD screening will feature the Paris Opera Ballet’s introduction of Robbins beloved 1979 Opus19/The Dreamer to its repertoire, which will be paired with the company’s revival of George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The centerpiece of the program is the premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s acclaimed new ballet, Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward, featuring new music by composer Nico Muhly, which was created during Millepied’s tenure as director of dance at the Paris Opera.

Screening will be introduced by Susan Gluck Pappajohn, a former soloist and principal ballerina with the New York City Ballet and a current trustee of the Balanchine Trust.

Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward

Music: Nico Muhly

Choreography: Benjamin Millepied

Scenography: United Visual Artists

Lighting design: Lucy Carter

Opus 19/The Dreamer

Music:Sergei Prokofiev

(Concerto for violin n°1 in D major)

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Violon: Frédéric Laroque

Theme and Variations

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: George Balanchine

Étoiles, Premiers Danseurs and Corps de Ballet

Conductor: Maxime Pascal

Paris Opera Orchestra

Film director: Vincent Bataillon

140 minutes, with intermission

Cinéma Distribution: FRA Cinéma

Complimentary herbal tea and madeleines will be available during intermission, courtesy of Kusmi Tea and St Michel.

Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila

Sunday, June 24 at 1pm

“From the marvelous opening of solo winds scattered across the night, one realizes that Philippe Jordan has set the bar high…masterful direction that brilliantly revives the flesh and breath of this too often forgotten music.” Le Monde

Based on the biblical tale of Samson and Delilah from the Book of Judges in the Old Testament, the opera is one of the most popular and often performed in the French repertoire. The seductress Dalila is one of the great opera roles for a mezzo-soprano and includes the well-known arias “Printemps qui commence” (“Spring begins”) and “Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix” (“My heart opens to your voice”).

The new, 2016 production of Samson et Dalila, staged by Damiano Michieletto, returned the work to the Paris Opera after a 25-year absence. Anita Rachvelishvili, “an exceptional mezzo-soprano of seamless quality” (Opera News) plays the femme fatale and murderous priestess, and Aleksandrs Antonenko, “who tore into Samson’s music with a genuine heroic tenor” (Opera News) is the conflicted, tragic hero.

Samson et Dalila

Opera in three acts and four scenes (1877)

Music by Camille Saint-Saëns

Libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire

Conductor: Philippe Jordan

Director: Damiano Michieletto

Set designs: Paolo Fantin

Costume designs: Carla Teti

Lighting design: Alessandro Carletti

Chorus master: José Luis Basso

Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Dalila, Anita Rachvelishvili

Samson, Aleksandrs Antonenko

The High Priest of Dagon, Egils Silins

Abimélech, Nicolas Testé

An Old Hebrew, Nicolas Cavallier

Philistine Messenger, John Bernard

First Philistine, Luca Sannaï

Second Philistine, Jian-Hong Zhao

Screening in French with English subtitles.

Film Director: François-René Martin

Cinéma Distribution: FRA Cinéma

In French with English subtitles

205 minutes with two intermissions

Complimentary herbal tea and madeleines will be available during intermission, courtesy of Kusmi Tea and St Michel.

About American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet

The purpose of the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet is to share the many treasures of the Paris Opera directly with the American public and to foster artistic cooperation between the Opera National de Paris and the creative community in the United States.

Based in New York, the organization was incorporated in 1984 in response to a request by Rudolf Nureyev, then the Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, to tour the company in the United States. Recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt foundation in 1985, the group has helped underwrite numerous U.S. tours of the Paris Opera, Paris Opera Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet School, traveling exhibitions from the Paris Opera Museum and appearances of guest artists from the Paris Opera Ballet, as well as many productions at the Paris Opera that prominently feature the participation of American artists, such as Jerome Robbins, Trisha Brown, William Christie, Peter Sellars and Robert Wilson.www.afpob.org

About the Paris Opera & Ballet

Recently announcing what The New York Times called a “boldly ambitious 2018–2019 season,” the Paris Opera & Ballet is a world cultural treasure with a rich history that underpins an innovative, vital present. The Paris Opera traces its beginnings to King Louis XIV of France, who established a formal academy of music and dance at court in 1669. Over the centuries, the company has undergone many transformations as a public institution. Today the 430-member company of musicians and dancers, led by general director Stéphane Lissner, ballet director Aurelie Dupont, and music director Philippe Jordan, collaborates with acclaimed directors, choreographers, and singers, and enjoys a position as one of the leading opera and ballet institutions in the world.  In 2019, it will celebrate its 350th anniversary, and the 30th anniversary of the opening of the larger of its two theaters, the Opéra Bastille. www.operadeparis.fr

FIAF

The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York’s premiere French cultural and language center. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. www.fiaf.org

Merci!

Tea courtesy of Kusmi Tea. Madeleines courtesy of St Michel.

Program Sponsors: Air France and Delta Air Lines, Cordier Enjoy la Vie, Engie, French American Cultural Exchange (FACE), Florence Gould Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jacadi, JCDecaux, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY State Council on the Arts, and Office de Tourisme de Boulogne-Billancourt.

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