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Roland Petit Le jeune homme et la mort & Carmen








Marie-Agnès Gillot
Clairemarie Osta
Nicolas Le Riche
Orchestre Colonne
Paul Conelly, conductor
Roland Petit, choreographer
Recorded at the Opéra national de Paris, Palais Garnier, 2005

TT: 67 mins

Two historic French ballets. The Young Man and Death (1946) inaugurated a new generation of choreography in liberated Paris, becoming 'the trademark of existentialist ballet'.

Set in a down-at-heel garret overlooking a night-time panorama across the roofs of Paris, it conveys 'an expressionistic naturalism that leaves nothing to the imagination in its erotic significance'.

The dancing of Nicolas Le Riche is compelling in the athleticism of the doomed young man. Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor supports the memorable imagery.

We were less persuaded by Petit's version of Carmen, premiered in London, 1949, to a somewhat anonymous sounding arrangement of music from the opera by G T Desserre. Its main interest may be for those interested in historical ballet of the period.

The Petit ballet does not evoke the opera and is not a patch on the Mats Ek version, which should not be missed.

Peter Grahame Woolf