La Source – “Le public n’a pas de fesses”

I went to see the ballet La Source recently at the Garnier Opera house, one of my favorite places in Paris as many of you know! And I was once again dazzled and amazed by the beauty of the production they put on.

The phrase “Le public n’a pas de fesses” means literally that the audience doesn’t have a rear end (meaning, the public is so enthralled in the show that they do not feel how uncomfortable their rear end is in those seats!) That’s how I felt about this beautiful show. I didn’t feel my rear!

La Source, Opera De Paris

I was thrilled to discover Allister Madin in the role of Zaël, and elf of the water spirit Naïla, who was herself danced by Charline Giezendanner. Both of these two powerhouse dancers not only showed incredible technique and physical talent but they also had an acute sensibility for the characters they were portraying. Zaël is both zealous and secretive, “malin” as we would say in French. He carries the show on his green clad shoulders so well. And received thunderous applause as he took his bows. Miss Giezendanner was as graceful as a dewdrop and a fairy with the most delicate gestures that reached to the ends of her limbs.

Discover Allister Madin in this video :

Set in mythical Persia, the story involves a hunter, Djémil; The water spirit Naïla; her elf Zaël; Khan the emporer; and Nouredda who is to be promised to Khan by her brother Mozdock. It is a love story full of betrayals and hesitation, ruse and sacrifice. This ballet was first created in 1866 and has been revived by the one of the Opera house’s star dancers, Jean-Guillaume Bart. Eric Ruf created the magical set and Christian LaCroix designed the breathtaking costumes. See in the artists speak about their creations following video (in French).

Eric Ruf’s décor for this piece was captivating to me because he managed to create a magical fairy-like set that gives us the idea of water falls and foliage, simply by using typical things you would find in a theater : rope and red velvet. It seemed so fitting to use such elements, but they are so far removed from what they were meant to represent. Yet, it worked theatrical wonders on the imagination. It seems so natural coming from him though as he is based in theater, being from the Comédie Française theater. His décor oozes the stage theatrical inspiration. I fell in love with the work as the curtain rose. It was perfect.

La source

La source

(Sorry for the photo quality, I only had my phone camera on me. Find some better pictures at brieuc75 blog)

The costumes were just as stunning (if not more so) than the decor and the dancing. GORGEOUS creations by LaCroix that sparkled so much I thought I might need sunglasses! Crystals sewn into the silk and organza fabrics, shined under the theater lights like the sparkling sunlight on the sea or the twinkling Eiffel tower at midnight. Sumptuous and stunning, these creations are pure works of art. And the color! Oh my the color! LaCroix really does do color better than most designers. As he says in the video inserted above, he was fulfilling a childhood dream with these creations for the Opera de Paris.

Well he’s got me dreaming!
I left the Opera house in a ballerina la-la fairy land state-of-mind…

4 thoughts on “La Source – “Le public n’a pas de fesses”

  1. A beautifully eloquent post Melissa and I love the expression about not having backsides. Quite makes me want to go to the ballet – I don’t think I’ve ever been…

  2. Pingback: Pretty Paris Pictures : Opera House Details |

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