|View of the Foyer of the Grand Theatre of Geneva|
Every year at this time of the year I go to Geneva for a meeting of domain name dispute resolution panellists at the head office of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN specialist agency for intellectual property. Accordingly this is when I think about ballet in Switzerland. As I wrote two years ago, there is a lot going on in Switzerland but, sadly, never when I am there for a meeting.
Geneva has a magnificent opera house a few streets from the Rhone known as the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Opened in 1876 it is said to have the largest stage in Switzerland. Dance has been staged at the theatre since the beginning of the last century. Isadora Duncan and Vaslav Nijinsky danced there as did the Ballets Russes. However, it was not until 1962, when it re-opened after substantial rebuilding works following a disastrous fire, that the theatre established its own resident ballet company. It now has over 20 dancers under artistic director Philippe Cohen. Though classically trained they can dance neo-classical and contemporary works as well as the classics. Each year they offer two new works as well as revivals from their repertoire and workshops.
Last year the company commissioned the Belgian choreographer, Jeroen Verbruggen, to create a new version of The Nutcracker and I am sure you will agree when you see this video clip that it is unlike any Nutcracker that you have ever seen in your life. I would just love to see it. The production has been revived this year and it will be performed at the Grande Théâtre between the 21 and 29 Nov 2015. The costumes look amazing! Particularly that spiky red headdress. The video Avant le lever de rideau - Casse-Noisette - Les ateliers shows how those costumes were designed and made and there are interviews with the creative team and dancers in Avant le lever de rideau - Casse-Noisette - Le Ballet.
The Geneva Ballet seem to do a lot of touring, some of it very long distance. They have just come back from Brazil and are about to go to France, Italy and China. Unfortunately, the nearest they are coming to England is Caen where they will dance Tristan and Isolde, Salue pour le monde, Lux and Glory.