| 현재 파리 오페라 발레가 호주 공연을 하고 있는걸 아는 분은 다 아실테고...|
호주 신문 the Australian에 실린 브리짓 르페브르 감독의 인터뷰 입니다.
이 사람 정년이 언제인가 했더니 2009년이라는데, 본인은 그거보다 빨리 끝낼 생각도 있는듯..
호주공연 레파토리는 그나마 고전적이군요.
새로운 이야기가 크게 나오진 않지만, 초반부 에밀리 코제트와의 대화가 재미있습니다^^;;
June 14, 2007
WHILE the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet are taking class in a studio at the Sydney Opera House, their director of dance, Brigitte Lefevre, is conducting an interview in another room. There's an interruption: one of the company's etoiles, or stars, Emilie Cozette, has a bad headache and there are tears.
Lefevre excuses herself for a few minutes.
"I told her, 'Shut up and dance'," she says, as she comes back into the room. "She said, 'Thank you for telling me that."'
To an outsider, Lefevre's order could confirm the worst suspicions about classical dance, and the Paris Opera Ballet in particular: it is harsh, brutally hierarchical, intolerant of weakness. A company that can trace its origins to Louis XIV and whose more recent history is studded with such names as Rudolf Nureyev and Sylvie Guillem didn't attain its lustre by slacking.
Something else Lefevre refers to helps explain the company's work ethic: the philosophy of the dancer. She places her hand firmly on the table and says: "Here, now, I dance." It suggests a singularity of purpose that is as much a state of mind as a state of movement.
Lefevre has short auburn hair and slightly protruding teeth, and she projects a personality larger than her petite frame. She speaks in an authoritative, low-pitched voice, laughs often, and conducts this conversation almost entirely in French through an interpreter. On a couple of occasions, though, she answers in English. I ask about her role as director of dance.
"I feel good because it is a big company and each person is very glorious," she says. "It is a very good team, and for me it is tres bien."
She has some glory herself. After a career as a dancer at Paris Opera Ballet, and as co-founder of dance company Theatre du Silence with her friend Jacques Garnier, she was invited to become the first delegate for dance in the French Ministry of Culture.
Among her other hats, she is a vice-president of the Paris Conservatoire and administrator of the Society of Radio France and the National Dance Centre.
Two weeks ago she had dinner at the Elysee Palace with the new president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
"I'm not proud, I'm not ashamed," she says coolly. "It was very informal, with different people from the arts world, just a few of us. It was an opportunity because I have known one of his advisers for a very long time.
"I think the idea, from my friend the adviser, was to have a very informal meeting with Mr Sarkozy, but I think it will be the first and the last time I meet him in this context."
The Paris Opera Ballet last night gave the first performance of its Sydney season at the Opera House, a once-only gala of highlights from its repertoire. From Saturday, it will present Swan Lake, with Nureyev's choreography, and Jewels, by George Balanchine, on the larger stage of the Capitol Theatre.
Even out of costume, in the fluorescent-lit studio at the Opera House, the dancers are astonishing, turning whip-fast fouettes and pirouettes to a piano accompaniment. If they weren't so graceful, it would hurt to watch their extreme extensions of limb and joint.
The company is famous for its etoiles, but Lefevre says its foundation is the corp de ballet: the ranks of dancers who impress with their precision and unanimity of movement.
It's more or less a closed shop: Lefevre says about 98 per cent of the company's dancers are graduates of its own school of dance. The Australian Ballet's Adam Thurlow is a rare exception: he danced with the company for three years.
"We have a very structured dance school. We have all done it," Lefevre says. "Everyone, individually, has done something different to get there. We all do the same school, but we don't necessarily think the same way."
Once in, a dancer is subjected to a merciless meritocracy, in which progress through the ranks is by contest. A panel of 10 - comprising not only ballet masters and dance-world luminaries but fellow dancers who didn't make the grade - sit in judgment of aspirants. The competition must be intense.
"Oui, they like that," Lefevre says. "I really think they like it."
Lefevre, who is in her early 60s, began at the school of dance at eight and joined the corp de ballet at 16. She left the Paris Opera Ballet in 1972 to form Theatre du Silence, before being summoned to a new life in an administrative role at the Ministry of Culture.
"Until the age of 40 or 42 I did not know what it was to sit down at a table with papers," she says. "I was always moving, dancing."
The way she describes it, though, the life of the desk is not so far removed from the life of the stage.
"How do you transform that energy when you are not dancing any more? When you're an administrator, you can transform that dancing energy through channelling to your dancers. And on top of this, when we're teaching dance we're learning all the time. And when I'm doing administration, I'm also learning lots of new things. I think my energy has allowed for many things to happen."
In 1992, former culture minister Jack Lang appointed her the administrator-general of the Opera Garnier, the Paris Opera Ballet's principal home. Two years ago she moved into her present role as director of dance.
The Paris Opera Ballet is the resident ballet company of the Paris Opera, but it is also a performing troupe in its own right. Lefevre is adamant about the ballet's independence.
"I have always said that Paris Opera Ballet is an entity within an entity," she says. "On an artistic level, it's very important. It is not the director who tells me, 'You do this and this and this.' It's impossible, I'm too wild! If there is a director who tells me what to do, I say goodbye."
Not wanting to sound implacable, she modifies her last remark. "I listen, I listen a lot. We have a program that we share with the Paris Opera, and we share two stages, the Opera Bastille and Garnier, we share an orchestra and technical facilities ... There are many people with great qualities."
Such resources have allowed her to commission such elaborate new works as Romeo et Juliette, with choreography by Sasha Waltz, for the 2007-08 season. It is set to the score by Hector Berlioz, with Valery Gergiev conducting the Paris Opera orchestra and choirs. Past collaborations have involved the baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants, for example.
"That's thanks to the co-operation I have with Gerard Mortier," Lefevre says, referring to the Paris Opera's general director.
But change is coming. Mortier, formerly artistic director of the Salzburg Festival, has been appointed general manager of the New York City Opera from 2009. His position at the Paris Opera will be taken by Nicolas Joel from Theatre du Capitole in Toulouse: Lefevre says she knows him, and he has indicated that he wants to work with her.
How French cultural life will be affected by the country's tough-talking new president remains to be seen. Lefevre says that, at the dinner, Sarkozy was "very open, and conscious that art is important".
"I want to be confident," she says. "The French are always - and maybe not just the French - circumspect about politicians. I think we should be vigilant."
Lefevre is wary of stagnation, of endless productions of Giselle and Swan Lake. It is vital for the company to present contemporary chorography, and even the classics must be performed as if new each time. She has in mind new challenges for herself, too.
"I am not going to die on stage or in my office," she says, when asked whether the Paris Opera Ballet will be her job for life.
"I will leave. I talk about the philosophy of the dancer, with respect to their difficult situation. After a little while, I would like to work with television and dance, but I want something new, to give to the public."
Paris Opera Ballet presents Swan Lake, June 16-24, and Jewels, June 27-30, at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney.