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Manuel Legris, director of the Wiener Staatsballett

January 23rd 2017 : Manuel Legris on tour in Japan [in English]

It’s still a long time before the curtain goes up for the Legris Gala in Japan coming in August 2017. Dansomanie en Japonais has been given a chance to interview Manuel Legris by email. He kindly answered my questions and, though it is in English and it is for Japanese audiences, I would like to share it with you here. 

Manuel Legris

This gala has a subtitle "un destin... 'La Danse'." Is this the theme of this gala?

It's more than this. It's what I
clearly wanted to say to the audience. My destiny was to become a dancer and I'm still there today to give my passion to this art and to share one more time a moment together.

How did you choose the cast? Not all the Viennese dancers are the same than last year in Okinawa, aren't they?

I chose the people with whom I have a special feeling and relationship. Unfortunately, there are no dancers from the Paris Opera this time because they were touring with another producer before. All of the dancers who stand on my side are precious to me and I will be happy to share these performances with them.

Vadim Muntagirov
Vadim Muntagirov

Is it the first time you work with Vadim Muntagirov and Olga Smirnova?

No, I've already invited Vadim Muntagirov in Vienna to dance my Corsaire and he performed also the opening night of the same ballet last week in Madrid with my company. Olga Smirnova will come also this season with Semyon Chudin for Swan Lake in Vienna. Marianela Nuñez will complete this quartet of stars with Semyon Chudin. When I watch all of them dancing, I really know and understand why I love ballet.

I think you are still developing the concept for the program. Could we get some informations about the works that will be on the playbill?

It's too early to talk about this, but I will do my best to present a program including both works the audience expects to see and new pieces too.

How many pieces you will be dancing yourself? I hope I can see you dancing works we haven't seen in recent years!

I haven’t decided yet how many of pieces I will perform myself, but I can tell you already that I will dance with Isabelle Guérin as a partner.

Davide Dato

Davide Dato as Abderam in Raymonda

About Nureyev's Raymonda, scheduled from 22nd December onwards at the Wiener Staatsoper, it is a huge and intricated production and I'm wondering why you decided to stage it. It has been in the repertoire of the Staatsoper, but it requires a high technical and artistic level from all the dancers. You believe this was the right time now to bring Raymonda back to the Vienna State Opera?

Raymondabelonged to the Viennese repertory, but had not been performed at least for the past fifteen years in the complete version. The company has a complete legitimacy to perform this ballet, as they are really strong and ready for this kind of work. I have been working with these dancers for seven years now. I wanted to show the abilities of my soloists, as well as those of all the other dancers of the company. It was an important challenge to stage this ballet myself with my ballet masters and to have a chance to invite Jean Guizerix to teach the role of Abderam. He was the creator of this role in Paris.

The company is undoubtlessly a solid one. In less than fifteen days, they were able to perform Raymonda in Vienna, Le Corsaire in Madrid five times, as well as the revival of La Fille mal gardée in Vienna again. All these performances were at a high artistic level and proved to be successful among the audience.

Jakob Feyferlik and Nina Polakova

Could you please introduce Jakob Feyferlik to our readers, as he will dance the role of Jean de Brienne on the first night with Nina Poláková?

Jakob Feyferlik is a very young and talented dancer. He is only twenty years old and has a great potential. He is an Austrian, I took him from our school and he jumped directly from the Corps de ballet to Soloist at the end of the last season. The Japanese will like him enormously, I have no doubt about this. Alongside some other dancers, he makes up the future of the company. I am proud to have raised a new generation of dancers in Vienna. Besides Nina Polakova, Denis Cherevychko and Davide Dato, who are first soloists, you will discover my other new soloists, Natascha Mair, Nikisha Fogo and Nina Tonoli.

Last question : is a Japan Tour with Wiener Staasoper Ballet planned in the coming years? We are so much expecting to see your company, hopefully presenting your production of le Corsaire.

I really hope to have the opportunity to present my company soon in Japan and why not in Le Corsaire.

Manuel Legris - Interview by Mizuko Hirokawa

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Nina Tonoli
Nina Tonoli in Raymonda

Interview made in English on January 23rd 2017 - Manuel Legris © Dansomanie
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