Georges Bizet — Roland Petit CARMEN ⁄ L’ARLÉSIENNE

Carmen and L’Arlésienne are two ballets that the great French choreographer Roland Petit created to the music of Georges Bizet. Petit and his company Les Ballets de Paris premiered Carmen, a ballet based on Bizet’s famous opera from 1875 at the Prince’s Theatre in London in 1949 and after the »scandalous and brilliant« world opening night, it was soon on the repertoire of ballet companies around the word with more than 5,000 performances. This ballet in five scenes represents a remarkable combination of classical ballet, Spanish dances, pantomime, and newly created dramatic dance movements. The libretto was written after the novel of Prospero Mérimée from 1845 that served as a literary model for Bizet’s opera and the music from Bizet’s opera for this ballet was arranged and reorchestrated by Tommy Desserre. The costumes and sets were created by Antoni Clavé. The plot is situated in Spain, in the town of Seville and the surrounding mountains, during the bullfights around 1820. We follow the life and love troubles of the beautiful girl Carmen, through a dramatic and romantic story with hints of gritty realism about the love triangle of gypsy Carmen, soldier Don Jose and toreador Escamillo. At the world opening night Roland Petit himself danced the role of Don Joséa, while the role of Carmen was danced with plenty of energy and charisma by his future wife Zizi Jeanmaire. The visitors of the CNT in Zagreb watched ballet Carmen in the version of Rodion Schedrin (1975 and 1979 and in 1999 in the choreography of Miljenko Vikić). This time they will be able to see this ballet in its integral cult choreography by Roland Petit (a part of this ballet was performed last year at the ballet gala concert).

L’Arlésienne is a one-act ballet that Roland Petit created in 1974 after the novel and drama of Alphonse Daudet for the Ballet National de Marseille to the music score of Georges Bizet, Suite no. 1 and 2, that was originally created as stage music for Daudet’s drama that premiered in Paris at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in 1872. Frédéri, a young man inProvance at the south of France became obsessed by a woman he saw in the town of Arles and because of this his relationship with his fiancée is in crisis. His infatuation with the stranger haunts him and drives him mad.

This is the first time that a piece by Roland Petit, one of the choreographers that have marked the 20th century is staged in Zagreb.