Paris Opera Ballet Dances Nutcracker Without Costumes (Thanks to Strike)

Classic Arts News   Paris Opera Ballet Dances Nutcracker Without Costumes (Thanks to Strike)
With last week's partial lifting of the November strikes at the Op_ra National de Paris, the company was able to present its current production of Tosca in a semi-staged format, with costumes but without stage lighting or scenery. The Paris Opera Ballet, however, had rejected that option for its lavish holiday Nutcracker, in a version choreographed for the company by Rudolf Nureyev. A work like that without scenery and stage effects — what would be the point?

As the walkout has continued, the Op_ra seems to have reconsidered. A notice released late today said that this evening's performance of the Tchaikovsky ballet would go ahead — without costumes and with a single set. Exactly what the dancers would wear (practice tights or some sort of makeshift costumes) was unclear.

Most of the unions representing technical staff at the Op_ra withdrew their strike threats last week; only SUD, a minority union which represents many of the scenery and lighting workers at the Op_ra-Bastille (the newer of the company's two houses), is continuing its strike until the end of this month.

The Op_ra has offered ticketholders who don't want to see the reduced Nutcracker the choice of a refund or an exchange for tickets to a program of dances by Nureyev, Balanchine and William Forsythe in April and May.

The strikes at the opera house are part of the waves of walkouts that have crippled the transportation, hospital, education and other sectors of the French economy over the past two months. National unions are protesting President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to reform the entire complicated (and expensive) regime of pension schemes that various national trade unions have negotiated for their professions over the years.

This fall's labor actions are estimated to have cost the Paris Opera at least €2.5 million so far.

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