Marie-Antoinette, Ballet by Thierry Malandain
Choreographer Thierry Malandain takes on the daunting task of putting Queen Marie-Antoinette of France’s rise and fall into dance. The ballet Marie-Antoinette does not fail to deliver on the beauty, romance, and drama in the French royal’s life and untimely, violent death. Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice welcomes the Malandain Ballet Biarritz for an exciting production of Marie-Antoinette where the choreographer’s vision and dance mastery combine with the music of Franz Joseph Haydn and Christoph Willibald Gluck to form an incendiary amalgam of storytelling. Thanks to this potent formula, the ballet raises audiences up to the luxury and debauchery of the French court with the same ease, with which is plunges them down into the desperation and bloodshed of the looming French Revolution.
The ballet Marie-Antoinette takes on a major challenge. Thierry Malandain’s choreography is the main narrative device, with which the world views, achievements, hopes, dreams, and missteps of the universally known French queen reach audiences and transport them into the late 18th century. A time of stark contrasts, the years leading up to the French Revolution find their representation in the microcosm of Versailles. Malandain Ballet Biarritz’s talented dancers start off by recreating the lavish atmosphere of the royal court where obscenely rich and careless aristocrats play out their fantasies and wild desires. In this environment the versatile and deep ego of Marie-Antoinette can flourish. Malandain makes sure to put in dance and movement the flirtatiousness, frivolity, imagination, and unfortunate tactlessness of the Austrian-born wife to Luis XVI, France’s last king.
It may seem like a tall order to present the complex and varied life and times of Marie-Antoinette in ballet form, but Thierry Malandain rises to the challenge splendidly. By focusing his artistic eye on life behind the walls of Versailles, the choreographer gets to use visually stunning backdrops and dance sequences in order to transport the audience a few centuries back and quite a few social strata up. The result is an impressive, evocative, and emotional trip that will leave audiences at Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice impressed and touched.