Choreographer Thierry Malandain stages a spectacular triptych at the Teatro Victoria Eugenia in San Sebastián: an evening dedicated to neoclassicism, his specialty. The trilogy begins with L'après-midi d'un faune, set to the famous symphonic poem by Debussy (itself inspired by hermetic poet Stéphane Mallarmé) and interpreted with flair and sensuality by Arnaud Mahouy. The next two chapters take us further back in time toward utterly different musical styles, all bound together by Malandain's expert staging and stylistic cohesion.
In 1819, German composer Carl Maria von Weber wrote Invitation to the Dance, a piano waltz that was later orchestrated by Hector Berlioz for the Opéra de Paris and performed under the name Le spectre de la rose (The Spirit of the Rose). Miyuki Kanei and Daniel Vizcayo's performance of Malandain's new choreography is at once tender and wild, reflective of the dream depicted in the Théophile Gautier poem that is the ballet's namesake.
Romanticism then gives way to Une dernière chanson (One Last Song), a new ballet set to a series of ancient French melodies arranged by Vincent Dumestre and his extraordinary early music ensemble, Le Poème Harmonique. Revel in the elegance of the dancers' movements, the artistic sensitivity of the entire program, and the respect and ingenuinity with which such varied musical themes are treated.