Jean Grand-Maître choreographs for the Calgary Opera

 Jean Grand-Maître works with Alberta Ballet dancers and students for the Calgary Opera’s production of Gounod’s classic romance Roméo & Juliette

Jean Grand-Maître works with Alberta Ballet dancers and students for the Calgary Opera’s production of Gounod’s classic romance Roméo & Juliette

Catch Jean Grand-Maître at the opera!

This November, Jean Grand-Maître is directing the Calgary Opera’s production of Gounod’s classic romance Roméo & Juliette. As a bonus for dance lovers, he is also choreographing new ballet segments that will be performed by Alberta Ballet dancers and students to accompany the stunning vocal performances.

Jean calls Shakespeare’s love story ‘a constant teacher’: “Every time I inhabit this profoundly moving story I see it completely anew.” To date, he’s staged the timeless tale five different ways: two contrasting ballets (one performed in Alberta Ballet’s 15.16 season), a French-language musical and two diverse opera productions using Gounod’s extraordinary score.

For the Calgary Opera production, he has a devised a fresh, new approach to staging to and singers.

What else is driving Jean’s creative process?

“Contemporary world news will also influence my staging. I am especially interested in how the young lovers’ terrible sacrifice will resonate with our time. If there ever was a story which forced us to see the destruction caused by intolerance, racism and hatred, then surely it must be the story of Juliette and her Roméo.”

One of the unique features that make the Calgary Opera production a particular highlight for ballet lovers: Jean is reprising the rarely performed ballet segments which opera composer, Gounod had composed for the corps de ballet in Act 4 of the 1867 Romeo and Juliet.

Roméo & Juliette opens Nov. 17, 2018.

Kim Jackson