PARIS - Founded in 1713, the Paris Opera Ballet is about to celebrate 300 years of innovations, while continuing to transmit its classical repertoire.
This festive season, as always, the Ballet is a huge success. Whether it is for its 26 performances of the classic "Don Quixote" at the Bastille Opera; the 21 nights dedicated to William Forsythe and Trisha Brown, two contemporary choreographers at the Opera Garnier, or even the six presentation shows by the Paris Opera Ballet School – the performances are fully booked, with a total of 110,000 spectators. This is without taking into account those who saw the Dec. 18 live performance of "Don Quixote" relayed in the 76 movie theatres around France.
"Every time the numbers outmatch our expectations. But we can’t rely only on old recipes; we have to be constantly innovating. We need to create, but also to make people watch and watch again – from another point of view," says Brigitte Lefevre, the Ballet’s director.
The troupe is composed of 154 dancers, 19 of which are "etoile" ("star" in French) leading dancers. It remains a perpetual fountain of live art, alternating classic and contemporary creations. Home to some of the best choreographers, it is considered – with London’s Royal Ballet and Moscow’s Bolshoï – as the most prestigious in the world. Its repertoire is rich, from romantic pieces to classic and contemporary pieces, including special performances by invited artists.
Each production requires an investment between 150,000 and one million euros, which is much cheaper than an opera but the tickets are twice as cheap too. In 2012, the ballet generated 18.6 million euros in benefits and enthralled 350,000 French spectators during 166 performances. Most of the dancers are graduates from the Paris Opera Ballet School and their median age is 25. They earn 2.655 euros a month at their debuts, to finally reach around 7000 euros as an etoile. This does not come close to a renowned opera singer’s salary.
Founded in 1713 under King Louis XIV as a dance school for artists to perfect their talents, the Paris Opera Ballet is the cradle of classical dance in France. This innovative structure gave French dancers international fame. Moved to the Palais Garnier opera from 1876 to 1987, it now resides in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre, in a place where French tradition is transmitted to budding artists.
The legendary Opéra Garnier Theater in Paris (Peter Rivera)
Despite its flattering reputation and its international influence – the Ballet only toured twice in 2012, in the U.S. and Japan – Brigitte Lefevre is disappointed with "the lack of time and space allocated to ballet in France."
Stephane Lissner, the future head of the Paris Opera, has expressed his wish to see the troupe perform each year in a different French city for a few days. For the moment, very few French cities outside Paris are actively promoting dance: Bordeaux and Toulouse have their own troupes and opera houses and Nice’s ballet is drawing more attention every day… As of the other 19 existing national choreographic centers, they have rooms for rehearsals but no stages.
Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.
[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.
• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.
• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.
• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.
• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.
• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.
• Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good
Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.
⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials
.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.
✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."
— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.
📈💥 IN OTHER NEWS
Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians
The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:
⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.
☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.
🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.
Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
- An Old War Is Rekindled On The Myanmar-Thailand Border ... ›
- The World's Social Media Alternatives To Facebook And Twitter ... ›
- For Facebook Moderators, The Soul-Crushing Job Must Go On ... ›
- Debt Trap: Why South Korean Economics Explains Squid Game ... ›
- Where Are The Doses? How U.S. And Europe Vaccine Pledges ... ›
- Hong Kong's International Food Scene Gets Political - Worldcrunch ›
- Reading Rumi In Kabul: A Persian Poet's Lesson For Radical Islam ... ›
- Art For All? You Can Now Own Micro-Parts Of Basquiat Or Banksy ... ›