Story of Roman emperor Caligula and Vivaldi's Four Seasons pack an odd punch in new ballet
In 2005, the Paris Opera ballet presented a new ballet built by dancer Nicholas Le Riche on mentally unstable Roman emperor Caligula, who was 29 when he was killed by the Pretorian Guard in 41 A.D. Le Riche says he spent five years researching Caligula's life and fashioning this ballet built on the music of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos and newly composed electro-acoustic interludes by Louis Dandrel. As the choice of music suggests, le Riche sees more than wantonness and evil in Caligula's life.
The results are debatable from a historical point of view, and the choice of music really is strange. But, in a remount captured on video last month, the Paris Opera orchestra is fantastic (led by violin soloist and concertmaster Frédéric Laroque) and the dancing is, I think, extraordinary from the corps de ballet up to Stéphane Buillion as Caligula. I found it mesmerising -- and enjoyable once I stopped thinking about the historical Caligula.
You can catch it for free on medici.tv, here.
This is a little trailer video prepared by Paris Opera: