Ballet

Don Quixote

by Rudolf Nureyev

Bastille Opera

from 21 March to 24 April 2024

Book
Opera

Salome

by Richard Strauss

Bastille Opera

from 09 to 28 May 2024

Book
Opera
New

Don Quichotte

by Jules Massenet

Bastille Opera

from 10 May to 11 June 2024

Book

Don’t miss

See more

Opera

Street Scenes

Excerpts from the 1948 Broadway Opera, "Street Scene"

MC93 Bobigny
from 19 to 27 April 2024
Read more

Dance - Young Audiences

Je suis tous les dieux

Marion Carriau

Amphithéâtre Olivier Messiaen
from 25 to 27 April 2024
Book

Opera

Médée

Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Palais Garnier
from 10 April to 11 May 2024
Book

News

See all the news
  • Learn more

    08 April 2024

    New

    Tous à l'Opéra ! Édition 2024

  • Learn more

    26 March 2024

    Bleuenn Battistoni nominated Danseuse Étoile de l'Opéra national de Paris

  • Learn more

    27 March 2024

    Prix de l'Arop season 2022/2023

  • Learn more

    20 March 2024

    The artistic programme 24/25 is online !

  • Learn more

    18 March 2024

    Kinoshita Group Co., Ltd. and the Paris Opera are glad to announce the signature of a major partnership

  • Learn more

    08 March 2024

    Cast change: Don Quichotte

  • Learn more

    06 March 2024

    The Exterminating Angel: cast change

  • Learn more

    24 February 2024

    Anna Ringart obituary

  • Learn more

    22 February 2024

    La Traviata: cast change

  • Learn more

    16 February 2024

    Concerts with the Paris Opera orchestra at the Philharmonie in Paris and in Aix-en-Provence

Life at the Opera

  • Podcast Médée
    Video

    Podcast Médée

  • Draw-me Don Quixote
    Video

    Draw-me Don Quixote

  • Don Quichotte from every angle
    Video

    Don Quichotte from every angle

  • Absolute revenge - Interview with David McVicar
    Video

    Absolute revenge - Interview with David McVicar

  • Draw-me Salome
    Video

    Draw-me Salome

  • A whimsical ballet: Marine Ganio et Jack Gasztowtt rehearse La Fille mal gardée
    Video

    A whimsical ballet: Marine Ganio et Jack Gasztowtt rehearse La Fille mal gardée

  • Giselle, romantic and sincere
    Video

    Giselle, romantic and sincere

  • Romantic Tutus in Giselle
    Article

    Romantic Tutus in Giselle

Podcast Médée

Listen the podcast

Dance! Sing! Tales of Opera and Ballet

Podcast Médée

By Charlotte Landru-Chandès

"Dance! Sing! 7 minutes at the Paris Opera" offers original incursions into the season thanks to broadcasts produced by France Musique and the Paris Opera.

For each opera or ballet production, Charlotte Landru-Chandès (opera) and Jean-Baptiste Urbain (dance), present the works and artists you are going to discover when you attend performances in our theatres.

Draw-me Don Quixote

Watch the video

Understand the plot in 1 minute

1:40 min

Draw-me Don Quixote

By Octave

Inspired by the choreography of Marius Petipa, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote is no less than a festival of dance that shines the limelight on the soloists and Corps de Ballet in a wide variety of ensembles and pas de deux. At the heart of the ballet, the lovers Kitri and Basilio use every ruse – from farce to fake suicide – to be united despite the resistance of Kitri’s father. It is ultimately the Man of La Mancha who triggers the happy dénouement, after battling windmills and encountering Cupid, Dulcinea and the Queen of the Dryads. The shimmering, Spanish‑influenced costumes bring additional zest to a lively and delightfully amusing production.  

© Julien Benhamou/OnP

Don Quichotte from every angle

Watch the video

Interview with Paul Marque, Suzanne Dangel and Sabrina Mallem

5:57 min

Don Quichotte from every angle

By Aliénor Courtin

For the revival of Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quichotte, Octave met up with Etoile dancer Paul Marque, Suzanne Dangel, Production Manager at the Costume Department and Sabrina Mallem, Ballet Mistress associated to the Dance Direction. Each of them sheds light on this piece set in 17th century Spain.

Between technical and artistic aspects, they discuss the preparation of this ballet: the work of interpreting a fiery character like Basilio, the creation of the matadors' colourful costumes and the rehearsal with the soloists and the Corps de Ballet during the Dryads' scene.

Absolute revenge - Interview with David McVicar

Watch the video

Interview with David McVicar

10:15 min

Absolute revenge - Interview with David McVicar

By Isabelle Stibbe

Médée, Marc-Antoine Charpentier's only "tragédie lyrique", returns to the Paris Opera three centuries after its creation.

To mark the occasion, director David McVicar discusses the function of myths and the fascination exerted by the character of Médée.

Draw-me Salome

Watch the video

Understand the plot in 1 minute

1:42 min

Draw-me Salome

By Matthieu Pajot

Salome, princess of Judea, the daughter‑in‑law of King Herod, finds life in her father‑in‑law’s palace dreary. Her curiosity is roused when she hears the voice of Jochanaan, a prophet held prisoner by Herod who is afraid of him. Obsessed by this enigmatic and virtuous man, Salome is ready to do anything to possess him, dead or alive. 
Drawing on Oscar Wilde’s scandalous play of the same name, in 1905 Richard Strauss produced the work that was to ensure his status as Wagner’s successor in the history of German opera. 
“Dance for me, Salome”. From Herod’s lubricious injunction to the young woman stems one of the most emblematic orchestral passages in opera: the dance of the seven veils. A hypnotic interlude in itself sufficient to capture the fatal mounting desire that suffuses this work whose orchestration is as rich as it is modern. 

A dazzling hour and forty minutes, decadent in its very essence, which, for her debut at the Paris Opera, Lydia Steier treats as a dystopia in which amorality rules.

A whimsical ballet: Marine Ganio et Jack Gasztowtt rehearse La Fille mal gardée

Watch the video

4:44 min

A whimsical ballet: Marine Ganio et Jack Gasztowtt rehearse La Fille mal gardée

By Antony Desvaux

On the occasion of the revival of La Fille mal gardée at the Paris Opera, Marine Ganio and Jack Gasztowtt discuss the solo roles of Lise and Colas, which they perform on stage.

The two dancers explain the humorous yet virtuoso nature of this ballet, created in 1789 by Jean Dauberval, remounted in 1960 by Frederick Ashton, and added to the Paris Opéra repertoire in 2002.

Marine Ganio discusses her work in the studio and the importance of not overplaying the farcical elements at the heart of the story. Jack Gasztowtt talks about rehearsing the pas de deux with an unusual prop, a long ribbon that wraps around the dancers. The two performers share what the ribbon symbolizes for them.

© Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Giselle, romantic and sincere

Watch the video

Secrets of interpretation

8:46 min

Giselle, romantic and sincere

By Aliénor Courtin

To mark the revival of Giselle after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, encounter with dancer Étoile Dorothée Gilbert, production manager Cédric Cortès and guest répétitrice Monique Loudières. This landmark production from the Paris Opera Ballet's repertoire continues to astound with its romantic-style choreography, theatrical techniques and multi-faceted interpretive skills.

© Christophe Pelé / OnP

Romantic Tutus in Giselle

Read the article

A production remembered

06 min

Romantic Tutus in Giselle

By Anne-Marie Legrand

The story is well-known: Giselle discovers that the man she loves is in reality a prince betrothed to another woman. Devastated by grief, the young peasant girl succumbs to madness and dies. She joins the Wilis, young brides to be who have died before their nuptials and who condemn men to dance themselves to death. If this ballet, first performed in 1841, has lost nothing of its fascination over the centuries, it is particularly thanks to those bewitching winged creatures, the Wilis, dressed in tulle and on points. Anne-Marie Legrand, in charge of the Soft Dressmaking Workshop at the Palais Garnier, confides the secrets of the making of the emblematic tutus from the “white act” of Giselle.

The Soft Dressmaking Workshop (in French Atelier Flou, “flou” meaning blurred or indistinct) is dedicated to the conception of the female costumes, unlike the Tailoring Workshop, which makes the male costumes. Why these names? I couldn’t give you the exact reason. To my mind, when you look at a male costume made by the Tailoring Workshop, you notice that it has a more structured look, with fabric cut on a flat surface. For the female costumes, however, a large part of the work is done on the tailor's dummy because a pattern is not enough to work from. The fabrics are all-important and each one requires a particular approach. We have to be very reactive in our work, moulding and sculpting the fabric, particularly for the drapes. I think that’s where the term “flou” comes from, because we sculpt diaphanous fabric for women whose curves can be infinitely varied and subtle.

As head of the Soft Dressmaking Workshop, I prepare the models of the costumes. The decorators arrive at the workshops with designs that I make up in three dimensions. The designs are more or less flexible, depending on the decorators. I have to reconcile the vision of the artistic team with what we can do and especially with the constraints and particularities of dance costumes, which is our speciality. We make suggestions to the decorator and eventually the design is finalised. Then, I create a pattern which I pass on to my two workshop assistants who do the cutting out. Then they pass on the job to the nine dressmakers. We also use temporary staff when the workload is really heavy. At the moment, we’re working on a revival of the ballet Giselle as well as on two new productions so there are twenty-seven of us in the workshop!   

Hannah O’Neill dans le rôle de Myrtha (Giselle, 2016)
Hannah O’Neill dans le rôle de Myrtha (Giselle, 2016) © Svetlana Loboff / OnP

The costumes for Giselle are redone regularly for several reasons. Firstly, because it’s a ballet that occupies an important place in the company’s repertoire and which is often performed, in particular on foreign tours. The costumes get a lot of wear and are stocked in containers: the dancers barely have time to take them off before they are packed away, sometimes still slightly damp. Silk yellows very quickly so we have no choice but to renew the costumes.

Once the skirts and bodices have been cut out, the dressmakers get them ready for fitting. There are always two fitting sessions. At the first, the costume is not finished. Between the first and second fitting it takes five days' work to carry out the considerable job of pleating the organdy silk used for the Wilis. After the second fitting, we make the final adjustments to the bodice before we assemble it with the skirt. It is painstaking work, all done by hand, in order to fit it perfectly to the dancer's body.

There are various sorts of skirts and tutus. The type used in Giselle is what we call a “romantic tutu”. At the end of the 18th century, with grand ballets like La Sylphide, the long skirt with several underskirts became the emblematic costume of the ballerinas. It is also known as the “Degas tutu” in reference to the painter Edgar Degas, who often took dancers as a subject for his paintings. But at the dawn of the 20th century, the tutu was shortened, became rigid and began to be worn above the hips: the pancake tutu or English tutu was now the order of the day. This is the tutu used in Swan Lake, for example, and therefore the emblematic ballerina’s costume in the collective unconscious today.

Making the bodice and the tutu requires a considerable amount of work. One single tutu in Giselle takes 23 metres of tulle, cut into seven layers placed one on top of another. We use different types of tulle with different characteristics for each layer: first comes a stiffer tulle to structure the skirt then come layers of increasingly fine, supple tulle. The layers are gathered, pinned and stitched by hand, one by one, onto a yoke. Then we do what we call “points de bagage” : large, loose stitches that keep the layers together during performance. To make a complete costume, it takes at least sixty hours.

In the second act of Giselle, the dancers all wear romantic tutus and points, which is why it is called the “white act”. It’s the most enchanting and it’s when the plot moves into the realms of the supernatural. We are in the kingdom of the Wilis, ghosts of young women who died before their weddings. I think the tutus make an essential contribution to this unearthly atmosphere. Their whiteness seems to reflect the light of the moon, - it’s extremely beautiful. And the “unreal dance” with which they ensnare men would really lose something of its hypnotic power without the effects created by the fabric. The diaphanous quality of the tutu gives the Wilis' movements an ethereal and floating quality. In spite of the twenty metres of fabric, on stage it appears infinitely light. The romantic tutu has become an integral part of the ballet Giselle.


interviewed by Milena Mc Closkey

The Opera in streaming

POP - Paris Opera Play

Watch our greatest performances wherever you are with POP, the Paris Opera's streaming platform.

Discover

Free trial 7 days

Immerse in the Paris Opera universe

Follow us

Back to top