Auguste Vestris


Mad Dog, Anyone?

Opéra Garnier

Proust, ou Les Intermittences du Coeur/'Choreography' by Roland Petit

March 2007

Heavenstibetsie - Our Clement has gnawed on a bleedin' chunk of Mad Dog.

Where was Animal Quarantine when we needed it?

The author of these lines has laboured under the impression that one of the tasks of the Opera was to encourage FRENCH choreography.

As it happens, Uncle Roland is no longer a Frenchman, or at least, he most definitely does not appear to be a French tax resident.

Following the Interesting and very Public Events of 1997 or so, when he decamped lock-stock-and-barrel to Lausanne or Geneva, virtually overnight - in response to a published report by the Cour des Comptes of the Bouches du Rhône on the Ballet de Marseille - it is the Swiss, and not the French, Tax Man, who has (unless I be sadly mistaken) enjoyed the fruits of Uncle Roland's 'labour'.

'Lock-stock-and-barrel' means that Uncle Roland withdrew from the Marseilles troupe all right to use his ballets, although they had been heavily subsidised for over twenty years by the French tax payer.

Lest anyone go ballistic (ballsistic?), one hastens to add that everything above is in the public domain.

How, or why, is Uncle Roland so swiftly returned to his Paris haunts? wreathed in smiles and laurels, and back toying with the dolls in his favourite dollhouse, viz., having people prance about the stage in the altogether, and simulating acts that twelve year-olds now get up to in the school playground.

Whether the artists do actually care to so prance about, is a moot point. In strictly legal terms, one finds one's thoughts wandering to the equitable doctrine of 'undue influence'...

Why do people go to watch this ? Apart from the babes-in-the-wood, who haven't the faintest of what is about to transpire, others go because they KNOW what they will see. They enjoy seeing in public, things that are PRIVATE. It gives a certain class of spectator the thrill of wielding power over the artists, whom they see as being humiliated.

And the press will, as usual, pour the honey-pot over what is, at best, a chunk of Mad Dog, gone badly off in the sun.