Directors, ballet masters, stage directors, choreographers, architects, ... Octave discovers the personalities that have marked the history of the Opera which continues to attract the great names of music and dance.
Brigitte Lefèvre entered the Paris Opera Ballet School at the age of eight and joined the Corps de Ballet at the age of 16. During her years at the Opera, she perfected her skills under the guidance of Yvette Chauviré, Serge Peretti and Raymond Franchetti and danced the ballets of George Balanchine, Roland Petit, and Maurice Béjart, as well as the great classical works. Developing an early interest for different dance techniques, she studied jazz with Gene Robinson and took part in numerous training sessions with Alwin Nikolaïs, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor. In 1970, she choreographed her first ballet entitled Mikrocosmos (set to music by Bartók) for Jacques Garnier, Michaël Denard and herself, which was performed in the Cour d'Honneur at the Avignon Festival. In 1972, she left the Opera and created the Théâtre du Silence with Jacques Garnier and from 1974 to 1985 moved with it to La Rochelle. In addition to the choreographies of Jacques Garnier and Brigitte Lefèvre, works by Maurice Béjart, Merce Cunningham, David Gordon, Robert Kovitch, and Lar Lubovitch also enriched the repertoire of the company which also embarked on several highly-acclaimed world tours. In 1985, she was appointed Chief Inspector of Dance (in the Department of Music and Dance at the French Ministry of Culture) and in 1987 she was made Inspector General and Chief Director of Dance. In September 1992, she became General Administrator of the Paris Opera’s Palais Garnier, then in February 1994, she took over as Deputy Director in charge of Dance. On July 1st, 1995, she was appointed Dance Director of the Paris Opera. During that time, Brigitte Lefèvre set about building a vast repertoire, with a special emphasis on the great classical ballets—particularly the productions of Rudolf Nureyev. At the same time, she regularly scheduled ballets which had marked the 20th century and she made a point of inviting contemporary choreographers. Throughout her tenure until she stepped down in 2014, numerous works were added to the repertoire, including Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring (1997) her Orpheus and Eurydice (2005), Trisha Brown’s Glacial Decoy (2003), Maurice Béjart’s Variation pour une porte et un soupir, William Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata and Artifact Suite (2006), Roland Petit’s Proust ou les intermittences du cœur (2007), and John Neumeier’s Third Symphony ofGustav Mahler, Jiří Kylián’s Kaguyahime and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Rain. In addition, numerous choreographers have created works for the Company (specifically, Maurice Béjart, Trisha Brown, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Jiří Kylián, Blanca Li, Benjamin Millepied, José Montalvo, John Neumeier, Robyn Orlin, Roland Petit, Alexei Ratmansky, Angelin Preljocaj, Saburo Teshigawara and Sasha Waltz).