The Paris Opera Ballet 2023-2024 season at the Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille theatres is sure to satisfy both lovers of classical ballet and those who wish to see innovative 20th and 21st century choreography.
The full-length ballets – The Nutcracker, La Fille Mal Gardée, Don Quixote, Giselle, and Swan Lake – are joined by programs dedicated to Jerome Robbins and Jiří Kylián, as well as one that features women choreographers; Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon shares the evening with world premieres by Marion Motin and Xie Xin.
Highlighting contemporary dance for the Company next season is Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21.
Paris Opera Ballet 2023-2024 Season Trailer
Paris Opera Ballet 2023-2024 Season Schedule
Opening Gala | September 21, 2023
The Seasons’ Canon by Crystal Pite
The Last Call by Marion Motin
Horizon by Xie Xin
On the stage of the Palais Garnier, the magnificent Défilé du Ballet presents the entire Company. The School’s students join the Étoiles adorned for the occasion in sumptuous tiaras and tutus designed by Chanel.
Three female choreographers are honored in this Gala with a decidedly contemporary approach. Created in 2016, Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon is already a classic in the Opera’s repertoire. Marion Motin’s The Last Call and Xie Xin’s Horizon are both first creations for the Company’s dancers.
Xie Xin / Marion Motin / Crystal Pite | September 23 – October 12, 2023
The Seasons’ Canon by Crystal Pite
The Last Call by Marion Motin
Horizon by Xie Xin
Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon, which premiered successfully in 2016 at the Paris Opera, is bathed in stormy light. Her overwhelming choreography in “canons” unleashes chain reactions and mirrored movements. Organically swarming human bodies merge with Vivaldi’s string music enhanced by Max Richter’s electronics.
In The Last Call, her first creation for the Opera Ballet, Marion Motin tells the story of a phone call that upends a man’s life. Between distortion and vitality, the choreography plunges the audience into a supernatural dimension.
Lastly, Chinese artist Xie Xin signs her first creation for the dancers of the Paris Opera. Her piece Horizon plays on illusions and mirages between natural elements.
Jerome Robbins | October 24 – November 10, 2023
En Sol by Jerome Robbins
In the Night by Jerome Robbins
The Concert by Jerome Robbins
A fellow traveller of George Balanchine and choreographer of West Side Story, Jerome Robbins is a major figure of American neo classicism. Three of his works in the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire highlight his inimitable blend of lightheartedness and wit.
Set to the jazzy tones of Maurice Ravel, En Sol is a knowing nod to Broadway musicals in a sunny beach setting.
In the lyrical setting of Chopin’s Nocturnes, In the Night places classical technique at the service of a moving narrative. Three couples embody three moments of love: discovery, blossoming and turmoil, against the backdrop of a starry night.
Subtitled ‘The Perils of Everybody’, The Concert features characters who appear to have escaped from a cartoon strip in a series of expressive and humorous sketches.
Filled with eerie images on the border of reality and dream, Jiří Kylián’s work blends oneirism and wry humour.
Set to music by John Cage and Anton Webern, Stepping Stones pays tribute to the memory and heritage of dance. On stage, Egyptian cats are the guardians of tradition.
Petite Mort poetically explores the double theme of death: the lesser one symbolizing orgasm and the greater one that brings life to a close. Pas de deux and swordplay alternate against a backdrop of Mozart concertos.
Two new pieces by Kylián enter the Ballet’s repertoire this season: Sechs Tänze extends the Mozartian universe and caricatures it in a series of dances with a quirky sense of humor, while Gods and Dogs explores the borderline between normality and madness: when dogs become gods and vice versa. In a midnight blue light, the dancers perform in front of delicate strings that recall those of a Beethoven quartet.
The Nutcracker | December 8 – January 1, 2024
The Nutcracker by Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev restaged The Nutcracker at the Paris Opera with sets and costumes emphasising the tale’s uncanny nature. Snowflakes, flowers and enchanted landscapes form the backdrop to a dazzling choreography. Guided by the wooden puppet who has become Prince Charming, the young Clara confronts her desires and anxieties in an initiatory tale.
Sadeh21 | February 7 – March 2, 2024
Sadeh21 by Ohad Naharin
Crossing the breadth of the stage one by one and then together, the dancers develop Ohad Naharin’s fascinating body language in a streamlined set. From an initial abstract grey to the evocation of a sandy beach, the monochrome decor changes color over the course of 21 studies in movement.
In Hebrew, “sadeh” means “field”, in the sense of field of study or field of action. Here and there, a narrative thread accompanies the audience through a labyrinth of virtuoso motions. Sadeh21‘s movements – elastic, swift and unpredictable – create powerful and moving images.
In this piece created in 2011 and now entering the Paris Opera Ballet’s repertoire, Ohad Naharin continues to explore his body language, Gaga, in magnetic and surprising episodes where bodies first collide before dancing together to soaring music.
La Fille Mal Gardée | March 15 – April 1, 2024
La Fille Mal Gardée by Frederick Ashton
In 1960, the English choreographer Frederick Ashton’s virtuoso and humoros version of La Fille Mal Gardée set roosters, old ladies and umbrellas dancing. A gallery of irresistible characters perform to the sound of popular songs and opera buffa arias.
A fine example of the “ballet d’action” theorised in 1760 by Jean-Georges Noverre, a choreographic genre that emphasizes expressiveness, La Fille Mal Gardée dazzles and entertains thanks to its sheer freshness. Bet it in the farmyard or the cornfield, the hearts of Lise and Colas search for and eventually find each other. In the manner of a musical, the original script, reworked by Ashton, carries us away with its whimsy and smiles.
Don Quixote | March 21 – April 24, 2024
Don Quixote by Rudolf Nureyev
Inspired by Marius Petipa’s choreography, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote is a true celebration of dance with a Spanish flavor. The soloists and the corps de ballet are carried away in ensembles and pas de deux to the strains of a spirited score.
Written in the 17th century, Cervantes’ novel recounts the adventures of Don Quixote, an idealist and bookworm who one day decides to ride across Spain with the naive Sancho Panza. In Nureyev’s ballet they meet Kitri and Basilio. The two lovers use every trick in the book – from a puppet performance to a fake suicide – to be reunited, despite Kitri’s father’s resistance.
In the end it is Don Quixote who delivers the happy ending after battling windmills and crossing paths with Cupid, Dulcinea and the Queen of the Dryads. The costumes and colorful sets sublimate a vivacious and entertaining work.
Giselle | May 2 – June 1, 2024
Giselle by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
Diaphanous tutus, pointe shoes, white gauze, tulle: Giselle marks the pinnacle of romanticism. In a bucolic landscape, a young girl dies of love and is transformed into a spirit that haunts the forest.
Taken in by the Wilis, she enters an ethereal world where dance is the language of the soul. Her lover Albrecht, distraught, pursues this ghost at the risk of his life. The ballerinas, with their aerial presence, defy him just as they do gravity. The mist-shrouded set reveals spectral visions enhanced by Adolphe Adam’s bewitching score.
Swan Lake | June 21 – July 14, 2024
Swan Lake by Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev brought his own interpretation of Swan Lake to the Paris Opera in 1984. The encounter between a dreamy prince and a bird-woman continues to fascinate with its elegant choreography and poetic story.
Rudolf Nureyev’s striking psychological insight magnifies the love story between Siegfried and Odette, the white swan bullied by the sorcerer Rothbart and Odile, the black swan. Ezio Frigerio designed the set as an enclosed space, a mental space in which the prince gives free rein to his fantasies.
Bluebeard | June 22 – July 14, 2024
Bluebeard by Pina Baush
Created in 1977, Pina Bausch’s Bluebeard, which enters the Company’s repertoire this season, transforms Bartók’s opera into a wild and intense ritual: that of a man confronting his thirst for power, his desires and his fantasies.
Perrault’s original fairy tale is the inspiration for this major Tanztheater piece. Men and women dive headlong into a choreography that exposes the violence and absurdity of human relationships. The compulsive nature of desire becomes a principle of writing: locked in a series of gestures repeated to the point of exhaustion or explosion, Pina Bausch’s tragic characters draw us into a breathless world where seduction and domination converge.