Marie-Antoinette Malandain / Haydn

Referred to as the French kingdom’s evil genius and held responsible for all its misfortunes, before her corpse was carted off in a wheelbarrow, with her severed head between her legs... Without her frivolity, without her reluctance with regard to her position as Queen, without the Trianon, without her favourites, her flirtatiousness, her diamonds, without the Court’s description exaggerated by pamphlets and caricatures, without the French Revolution and the belief that the blood spilled contributed to progress, Marie-Antoinette would have certainly continued her frivolous existence and wouldn’t have died tortured. How did a Queen so adored by an entire population lose their affection before she died due to their hatred? How did this woman who embodied the symbol of royalty help to precipitate its fall? A ballet cannot answer these complex questions, and quite frankly, transcribing the story of the unfortunate Austrian woman into movements is a perilous exercise in addition to the ordinary constraints of music, sets and costumes, and the number of dancers. But, since André Gide, we know that “art is born from constraint”. However, freeing oneself from it sometimes requires taking a restrictive path. This is why, due to the material impossibility of retracing Marie-Antoinette’s path from beginning to end, we have chosen to limit the action and horizon of ballet in Versailles. In other words, from one evening to the next, from her first appearance on the stage of the Royal Opera House until her removal from a comedy in which she had become “the star of misfortune”.

Music Joseph Haydn & Christoph Willibald Gluck
Choreography Thierry Malandain
Set and costume design Jorge Gallardo
Lighting François Menou
Costume maker Véronique Murat asisted by Charlotte Margnoux
Sound engineer Nicolas Dupéroir
Set builder Frédéric Vadé
Accessories Annie Onchalo
Hair stylist Charlotte Margnoux

Royal Opera House of the Château de Versailles, March 29, 30 & 31, 2019 with the Basque National Orchestra directed by Mélanie Levy-Thiébaut


Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Orchestre Symphonique d'Euskadi de Donostia / San Sebastián, Donostia Kultura - Victoria Eugenia Antzokia de Donostia / San Sebastián - Ballet T, Music Hall Antwerpen, Opéra de Saint-Etienne, Opéra de Reims, CCN Malandain Ballet Biarritz

Escenario Clece / Teatros del Canal - Madrid (Espagne), Teatro de la Maestranza y salas del Arenal de Séville (Espagne), Théâtre de Cusset - Scène conventionnée Arts du Cirque et Danse / Opéra de Vichy

Ballet for 22 dancers

80 minutes

“The director of the Ballet Biarritz has given us a very subtle performance, first of all thanks to the superb costumes by Jorge Gallardo, which, while respecting the models of the era, are astonishingly modern. The whole is very stylized, and served by high-level dancing. Finally, the Basque National Orchestra from Donostia-San Sebastian plays Haydn and Gluck to perfection.”

Le Figaro, François Delétraz, March 30, 2019

"In a few chapters, the choreographer paints a portrait of an Austrian woman who became Queen of France. (…) Malandain has the good sense not to overload the stage, playing with settings handled by the dancers and slightly offbeat costumes. (…) On the set, the twenty or so performers inhabit each role - even the most discreet - with intelligence. Faithful to his writing of the movement mixing neoclassical and modern, Thierry Malandain sometimes dares to take a step aside that is almost baroque."

Les Echos, Philippe Noisette, March 29, 2019

"Everything seems to flow naturally. And Malandain’s style for his excellent Ballet Biarritz dancers remains conventional, in accordance with the lines and reduced gestures of the Baroque period, which suits the basket dresses and doublets in which they perform."

Le Figaro, Ariane Bavelier, March 29, 2019

"Malandain unfolds a film of baroque gestures - you can feel the breath of Noverre, the master at the time, of more modern and fierce impulses, of delicate flights, without being judgmental. (…) The beautiful dancers of Ballet Biarritz seem to be immersed in a permanent carnival and frolic in a state of exhilaration around their king – the excellent and touching Michael Conte - and especially their queen, the so precious, so haughty, so sovereign Claire Longchampt whose physique and style contrast radically with those of the company. And that's good, since her bearing immediately makes her stand out. Thus, we fully enjoy this terrible tale, conducted with tenderness and distance. This is called elegance."

Concert Classic, Jacqueline Thuilleux, April, 1 2019