PAS DE DEUX: A well-heeled crowd witnessed a passing of the baton at a gala on Wednesday night in honor of Brigitte Lefèvre, director of dance at the Paris National Opera, sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin. The company performed two works: “Le Palais de Cristal,” a ballet by George Balanchine featuring costumes by Christian Lacroix, and “Daphnis et Chloé,” a world premiere by Benjamin Millepied, who will replace Lefèvre next November.
Guests including French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti; Juan-Carlos Torres, chief executive officer of Vacheron Constantin; Maryvonne Pinault, wife of François Pinault; architect Bernard Tschumi, and former culture minister Jack Lang gathered beforehand in the basement of the modern Opera Bastille theater. Addressing the cocktail gathering, company administrator Olivier Aldeano noted it was the third time Millepied had been commissioned by Lefèvre to choreograph a ballet.
“Of course, she didn’t think at that time that he would be designated director of our company,” he said. “So it’s even more special tonight, because it’s really an artistic transmission between two directors.”
The new production of “Daphnis et Chloé” featured a striking set designed by Daniel Buren, a first for the French artist. “I threw myself into it,” said Buren, saying he knew the score by Maurice Ravel but intentionally avoided reading anything about the ballet. “I saw the libretto after I finished everything.”