Featured Artists
 

July 2017 - AFPOB Scholarship Recipients Join Corps de Ballet of Paris Opera Ballet Company

Congratulations to our scholarship recipients, Milo Aveque and Samuel Bray, on their acceptance to the Paris Opera Ballet company! The pair will join the Corps de Ballet as Quadrilles this fall for the 2017/2018 season. Both are entering the company after years of training with the Paris Opera Ballet School, and are among the first French students to ever receive AFPOB scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School summer intensives. Milo and Samuel participated in both our 2016 and 2017 programs, and we have been immeasurably proud to contribute to their development as artists! We look forward to seeing them on the stage soon and wish them the best of luck in their new home!

 

May 2017 - Bass Baritone Davone Tines talks about "only the sound remains" 

Davóne Tines was born in 1986 in rural Virginia —  “horse country,” he describes it — and grew up largely in Orlean,  an unincorporated village small enough to be uncounted in the 2010 census. He was discovered by Peter Sellars at the Juilliard School  where “He sang a spiritual that I will never forget! It went on for 15 minutes. It was truly overwhelming.”

Before he turned 30, Davone Tines had three new major operas with parts being written for him in the space of two years and was deemed a "... singer of immense power and fervor ..." by The Los Angeles Times and a "... charismatic, full-voiced bass-baritone ..." by The New York Times — 

On April 21, a small group of Trustees of the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet got a chance to spend an intimate dinner with him. Davone spoke to them at length about the new production to be presented at the Paris Opera in January 2018, "Only the sound remains," by Kaija Saariaho (L'amour de Loin) and Peter Sellars before performing two beautiful extracts by Kaija Saariaho and Handel. After a delicious four-course dinner Davone and his artist friends improvised a last piece for the delight of all assembled.

 

March 2017 - Hugo Marchand named Etoile by Aurelie Dupont

The New York audience had a chance to witness Mr. Marchand's talent in April 2016, but it is in front of his Japanese fans that Mr. Marchand was named the 20th “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet on March 3 after his performance in Pierre Lacotte's "Sylphide", where he interpreted the role of James.

A well deserve nomination for this beautiful advocate of crosscultural exchange who vowed in 2015 to "make the Paris Opera shine beyond the borders of France".

 

   

December 2016 - Germain Louvet, First Male Etoile named by Aurelie Dupont

On December 28, 2016, Germain Louvet was named “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet after his performance in Nureyev's "Swan Lake", where he interpreted the role of the Prince Sigfried.

The 23-year-old dancer started his training at 4 in his home town of Chalon-sur-Saone. He entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 2005, before joining the Company in 2011 and earning his first award in 2013 with "Le Prix Carpeaux". Within a record time of just 3 years, he then rised to the level of Coryphee, Sujet and Premier Danseur, becoming last week one of the youngest Etoiles of the Compagnie.

   

 

December 2016 - Eleonore Baulac, First Female Etoile named by Aurelie Dupont

On December 31, 2016, Eleonore Baulac was named “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet at the closing performance of the Swan Lake, where she interpreted the role of Odile / Odette. The 26-year-old ballerina was promoted to the top rank by the director of the Paris Opera Stephane Lissner, upon suggestion by the director of Danse Aurelie Dupont, after being promoted Premiere Danseuse the same year.

An inspiring young talen to many choreographers, in 2015 and 2016, she had been selected to perform in several new creations at the Paris Opera: "Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward" (Benjamin Millepied), "Polyphonia" (Christopher Wheeldon), "Alea Sands" (Wayne McGregor), "La Nuit S'acheve" (Benjamin Millepied), "Blake Works" (William Forsythe)

   

April 2016 - Hannah O'Neil at Youth America Grand Prix Gala

Just nominated as première danseuse in 2015, Hannah O’Neil, alumni of Youth America Grand Prix, will appear in the gala, “stars of tomorrow meet the stars of today” late April 2016.

Born to Japanese mother and New Zealander rugby player father, she started her dance training in Japan. At 8, she moved back to New Zealand and continued her training with the Australian Ballet School. She won Le Prix de Lausanne in 2009 and the first prize in the senior section at the Youth American Grand Prix in 2010. One of the young dancers featured by Benjamin Millepied in his late creation “Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward”,  she also stars in the short-film “Ascension” on la 3ème scène.

 
 

April 2016 - Hugo Marchand at Youth America Grand Prix Gala

Just nominated as premier danseur in 2015, Hugo Marchand will dance in the gala, “stars of tomorrow meet the stars of today” with Hannah O’Neil in April 2016. He started his dance training at age of 9 in Le Conservatoire de Nantes. He then entered the School of the Paris Opera Ballet in 2007 and joined the company in 2011 at the age of 17. After earning the Bronze Prize at the Varna Competition in 2014, he was rapidly promoted to premier danseur, dancing important roles in creations of contemporary choreographers, as well as starring in classical pieces.

 

 

February 2016 - Aurélie Dupont. Next Director of the Paris Opera Ballet 

On February 4 2016, Aurélie Dupont, Etoile, was appointed Director of Dance at the Paris Opera by Stephane Lissner, director of the Opera National de Paris. She will succeed Benjamin Millepied on August 1, 2016.

Ms. Dupont entered the School of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1983 and joined the company in 1989. In 1992, she earned the Gold Medal at the Varna Competition. She performed major roles in all the classical and contemporary repertories of Paris Opera Ballet, as sujet (1992) and soloist (1996).  She was nominated Etoile in 1998 by Brigitte Lefèvre, for her performance in “Don Quixote”. She received the Prize of “Best Female Interpreter in Le Prix de Benois 2001, and was made Chevalier of both the Legion of Honor and of National Order of Merit. She retired from the stage in May 2015, with her last performance of “Manon” by Kenneth MacMillan at the Opera Garnier.

 

 

 

 

March 2015 - Laura Hecquet, First Etoile named by Benjamin Millepied and Stephane Lissner

On March 23, 2015, Laura Hecquet was named “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet at the closing performance of the Swan Lake, where she interpreted the role of Odile / Odette. The 31-year-old ballerina was promoted to the top rank by the director of the Paris Opera Stephane Lissner, upon suggestion by the director of Danse Benjamin Millepied, who said that the nomination was "self-evident".

A dancer with a preference for classic ballet,Hecquet trained in Dunkerque, before entering the Conservatoire National Regional de Paris (CNR) in 1994 and joining the Paris Opera Ballet in 2002. 


 

 

February 2014 - Diana Damrau and Nicolas Teste, honoring Stephane Lissner

On February 19, 2015 the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet hosted a dinner at the French Consulate in New York in honor of  the new director of the Paris Opera, Stephane Lissner.

For this very special night, and Mr. Lisner's first introduction to the American patrons in his new position, Diana Damrau and Nicolas Teste made us the honor of a memorable private performance.

A native of Günzburg an der Donau/Germany, Diana Damrau made her professional operatic debut at Würzburg’s Mainfrankentheater in 1995. She is the “leading coloratura soprano in the world” (New York Sun), and continues to amaze audiences with her unique voice and arresting stage presence. A regular guest at the most renowned opera companies and concert halls, she was awarded the title Bayerische Kammersängerin in 2007 and named “Best Female Singer” at the 2014International Opera Awards". She last was on the Paris Opera stage for La traviata in June 2014. She also performed the role in the season-opening new production at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala under Mr. Lissner tenure. She will perform in a recital iat the Palais Garnier in March 2016 .

Nicolas Teste is a French bass-baritone.  He first studied piano, bassoon and music history in his home town Paris before embarking on a career as a singer. He studied in the educational program of the Opéra National de Paris and Centre de Formation Lyrique and participated in the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. He performed alongside his wife  in La traviata at the Paris Opera in June 2014.

They are both performing in Manon at the Metropolitan Opera in March 2015.

 
 
 

 

August 2014 - Katherine Higgins, at the Paris Opera Ballet

Katherine Higgins, alumna of the first Summer Intensive Program at the Paris Opera Ballet School (2013) and recipient of the AFPOB scholarship, has been offered a position with the Paris Opera Ballet from August 2014 to December 2014.

Higgins graduated from the Royal Balletschool of Antwerp in Belgium in 2013 and had been offered a full-time contract as one of the newest young dancers of the Bolshoi that fell through because of a visa issue. At 18, she already won several awards including Youngest Finalist in Prix de Lausanne 2012, Bronze Medal in Helsinki International Ballet Competition 2012, Special Prize for Youngest Finalist in Varna International Ballet Competition 2012, Grand Prix in Youth America Grand Prix Europe 2013, Bronze Medal in Youth America Grand Prix New York City Finals 2013, Bronze Medal in Moscow International Ballet Competition 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

April 2014 - Mathias Heymann,  at Youth America Grand Prix Gala

Mathias Heyman, Etoile at the Paris Opera Ballet, and alumni of YAGPG had chosen a beautiful excerpt from Rudolf Nureyev’ "Manfred" for his appearance of at the gala "stars of today meet the stars of tomorrow".

Heyman is the son of math teacher and oriental dancer and grew up between Marocco, Senegal and Djibouti dancing with his mother and imitating the impressive jumps by the Masai.

He started is ballet career at age of 10 in Marseilles, and won a scholarship with YAGP in the 2001 competition, the same year he entered the Paris Opera Ballet School. Integrated in the company in 2004, he was named Etoile in 2009 at only 21 years old.

A leg injury prevented him from dancing for 18 months between 2011 and 2013 and he returned on stage at the occasion of the gala in honor of Rudolf Nureyev of March 6, 2013 at the Palais Garnier.

 

 

 

March 2014 - Gerard Mortier, Opera Visionary

Gerard Mortier, opera visionary at the helm of the Paris Opera and Ballet from 2004-2009 died  on March 8, 2013 of pancreatic cancer at just 70.

Gerard Alfons August Mortier was born on Nov. 25, 1943, in Ghent, Belgium, where his parents owned a bakery in a working-class neighborhood. His mother and grandmother took him to the opera as a child, and at home he would stage Mozart’s “Magic Flute” in a puppet theater. He said he had acquired his taste for controversy at a boarding school run by the Jesuits, who had him and his classmates read iconoclastic writers like Marx, Nietzsche, Ibsen and Sartre.

After a degree in law and communication, he started his operatic career at the Festival of Flanders, obtaining his first major appointment, in 1981, at the Théâtre de la Monnaie. In 1990 he succeeded to Herbert von Karajan as the director of the Salzburg Festival, leaving in 2001 amid a rightward turn in Austrian politics, and helped found the RuhrTriennale arts festival in a formerly I industrial corner of Germany. In 2004 he took over at the Paris Opera. There he brought back St. François d’Assise, introduced Robert Wilson’s production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande; and the complete version of Mr. Sellars’s and Bill Viola’s video-dominated version of Wagner’s Tristan et Isolde. After a hiatus with New York City Opera, he was named the artistic director of the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2009 where he held position until the announcement last year that he was treated for cancer.

On May 31, 2014 in Graz (Austria), he will be named the first recipient of the “Mortier Award”, celebrating innovating and risk-ting opera professionals.

The Paris Opera will dedicate the revival of Tristan et Isolde at the Opera Bastille in April to his memory.

   

March 2014 - Amandine Albisson, New Etoile

On March 5, 2014, Amandine Albisson was named “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet at the closing performance of John Cranko’s Oneguine, where she was interpreting Tatiana. The 24-year-old ballerina was promoted to the top rank by the director of the company, Brigitte Lefèvre, and Nicolas Joel, director of the Opéra National de Paris just 3 months after her nomination to the position of soloist.

Albisson started her dance training at 4 in Marseilles before entering l'Ecole de danse de l'Opéra in 1999 to join the corps de ballet in 1997, and become soloist in 2014.

She will perform the lead role in Benjamin Millepied’s new creation for the Paris Opera Ballet Daphnis et Chloe in May, 2014

   

December 2013 - Alice Renevand, New Etoile

On December 20, 2013, Alice Renevand was named “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet. She was performing, for the first time, the lead woman role in Angelin Preljocaj Le Parc. The 33-year-old ballerina was promoted to the top rank by the director of the company, Brigitte Lefèvre, and Nicolas Joel, director of the Opéra National de Paris.

Often labelled as the most contemporary dancers of the company, she has one of the longest list of creations with the Paris Opera Ballet, including Variations pour une porte et un soupir (Béjart, 2006), White Darkness (Duato, 2006), L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (Orlyn, 2007), Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler (Neumeier, 2009), Siddharta – dancing Yasodhara (Preljocaj, 2010), L’Anatomie de la sensation (McGregor, 2011), Sous Apparence (Gillot, 2012), Boléro (Cherkaoui-Jalet, 2013).

Renevand she entered l'Ecole de danse de l'Opéra in 1990 at 9 years old to join the corps de ballet in 1997, and become soloist in 2012. 

   

March 2013 - Eleonora Abbagnato, New Etoile

On March 27, 2013, Eleonora Abbagnato was named “étoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet. The 34-year-old ballerina was promoted to the top rank after a performance of Roland Petit’s “Carmen” by the director of the company, Brigitte Lefèvre, and Nicolas Joel, director of the Opéra National de Paris. Abbagnato began her dance training in 1990 at the Formation à l'Académie Princesse Grâce in Monaco and then at the Centre Rosella Hightower in Cannes. In 1992 she entered l'Ecole de danse de l'Opéra to join the corps de ballet in 1996, and become soloist in 2001. It was Petit who first spotted her talent when she was just eleven, and Claude Bessy – then director of the ballet school - convinced her to leave Italy for Paris when she was 12.