NNTT Ballet’s 2009/2010 season will close with “La Dame aux Camélias”, the latest full length ballet by Maki Asami, the artistic director of NNTT ballet company, and this is also a final programme of Maki’s 9-year-period of directorship in the company.
Maki was appointed to the artistic director in 1999. Shimada Hiroshi, the former and the first artistic director of the company piled up the Russian classics in company’s repertories, but Maki has greatly devoted to lead the company set off for the wider variety of repertories from 2oth Century’s classics and the contemporary masterpieces by Ashton, Balanchine, MacMillan, Petit, Eifman, Duato, Tharp. The company, in parallel, kept its firm background of Russian Classics and its techniques as the backbone.
“La Dame aux Camélias” was first performed by NNTT Ballet as an opening production of 2008/2009 season, celebrating 10th anniversary of the company. The ballet was set to the compositions of Hector Berlioz and each piece of music was arranged and set neatly in right places by Ermanno Florio. With the success of the production, Maki was awarded the Asahi Butai Geijutsu Award, one of the most prestigious awards for performing arts in Japan. There followed the invitation from Bolshoi State Academic Theatre in Moscow to perform “La Dame aux Camélias” at their venue.
Through all these periods, even after earning high reputations with all sold out shows in Moscow, Maki kept coming back to studio with dancers, putting the alterations over the ballet, polishing and lifting the ballet as high as it could reach. Every time the audiences see the production, they find something always revised and improved in more sophisticated ways.
The ballet is based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. Through the ballet, Maki focuses on the tragic love and its loss of Marguerite Gautier.
In the last scene, her room filled with blue lights where the sense of death falling over, Marguerite gave forgiveness to her true love Armand Duval and his farther. The series of single weak notes of the oboe arise from orchestra pit like a dying spirit and then all fall into silence, leaving the whole audience there breathless just as Armand Duval on stage in grief for his loss.
Several guest stars will appear in the production. Bolshoi Ballet principal Svetlana Zakharova for whom Maki created the principal role, Denys Matviyenko the principal dancer of Mariinsky Ballet, and Robert Tewsley who danced the leading role and also very important character as Le Comte. Ilgiz Galimullin dances the role of Gaston and Le Comte.
Ermanno Florio will take his stand on the podium again to conduct Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
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Photos by Seto Hidemi