On the Passing of Mr. Roland Petit
On July 10, Mr. Roland Petit passed away in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 87. He enjoyed worldwide acclaim as one of the twentieth century's leading choreographers, loved by his many Japanese fans for his charming personality and chic, sophisticated style of his works.
Mr. Petit's creative collaborations with major art world figures such as Yves Saint-Laurent, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Cocteau constantly challenged the boundaries of the era's taste, while his choreography for Hollywood's Fred Astaire and music hall revues breathed fresh life into the art of ballet by embodying an irrepressibly contemporary spirit that appealed to a broader public.
The New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT) staged a new production of one of Mr. Petit's best-known works, La Chauve-souris, in 2002, an occasion which inspired the National Ballet of Japan to extend its expressive range and achieve new heights. La Chauve-souris has since become a popular part of the repertoire, and the Grand Café scene has been a highlight of our New Year Gala, enchanting opera-lovers and ballet fans alike with a glamour befitting the festive season. In 2006, the National Ballet of Japan presented Coppélia. Staged and choreographed with the master's characteristic audacity, this production set the pathos of old Dr. Coppélius against a background of Parisian stylishness, and it left us deeply moved.
With the Tokyo public eagerly awaiting a return season of La Chauve-souris in February 2012, the sad news of Mr. Petit's passing comes all too soon.
On behalf of the NNTT, we would like to express our most sincere condolences. We pray that Mr. Roland Petit will rest in eternal peace.
New National Theatre, Tokyo
July 15, 2011