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Deborah

I'm so glad you wrote about this. I wondered where he was too! Personally I think he should have stayed with NYCB until the end of the spring season, but I'm guessing he has contract "outs." I did read the review (I'm fluent in French which is a good thing because the box office in Paris -- for NYCB performances -- doesn't translate into English) and they said nice things.

Anne

Thanks for including my story in your blog. Deborah's reaction is interesting because here in Pau, we tend to think that Faycal is "on loan" to you!!
After one of his concerts here in the Spring, he was outside smoking when I came out of the concert hall - we had a chat and he insisted that he would stay with us for a few more years.
He has so much energy that for the moment he seems to manage both jobs.
On verra !!

Philip

Faycal mentioned at an interview last Winter that his musician friends chided him for accepting the direction of a ballet company. In conducting circles it is considered top prize to have your own orchestra and almost as good to be music director of an opera company. But ballet conducting is not thought of as a glamourous job - although Faycal is making it so with his own personal charm. I think he can balance the two jobs successfully; and it will be lovely when he conducts NYCB on their trip to Paris this year.

In reply to his friends' discouraging comments to him about taking a ballet gig, Faycal said "But it's New York City Ballet!" This was found to be 'acceptable' since our Company plays real masterworks in the pit: tons of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, several violin and piano concerti, and many new scores.

Deborah

Anne -- I just love Faycal. I know that there have been complaints here and there about tempos, but I think he has reinvigorated our wonderful (and it truly is. You'll have to hear it in Paris. Maybe we can meet for a drink when I'm there for some performances) orchestra. Then again NYCB didn't bring our full orchestra to London in March(which was a disappointment. I was in London on business at the time and was able to see a bunch of performances). It is amazing, isn't it?, how Philip (so nice in person too, and I'm not just saying Philip!) brings together so many ballet and music lovers (from all over the world).
This is why media stars like James Wolcott mention Oberon's Grove!

Anne

Fayçal is certainly very happy to work with the NYCB - he is so not a snob.
Here is a link to a few photos my son took during his talk at the beginning of he concert. http://www.flickr.com/photos/20988148@N08/sets/72157605903159516/
He was encouraging people to take out subscriptions for the new season starting in september - he kept insisting, telling people to go to the tourist office the next day at 10 am. A lady called out " I'll subscribe if you're there!!" - and guess what ? he was there yesterday morning at 10am. That's Fayçal.
The sixth photo in the album was one I took after the concert when we were having a drink.

Laura

I love Faycal!!! I think it's great that he is bringing the orchestra and dancers and patrons all together. He reminds us that the music is an integral part of ballet.

Philip

Thanks so much for the photos, Anne...and the story of Faycal showing up to promote subscription renewals at 10:00 AM. He clearly cares passionately and personally about his projects.

Anne

One of Faycal's "obsessions" here in Pau is to get the orchestra out of the concert hall and into the lives of people who normally would not dream of going to a classical music concert. Every season, he organises at least 2 free concerts for students at the Pau university and in the local prison.
Although the official season is finished, he has organised a huge event next Friday - it is an outdoor concert including, the orchestra, our choir, various hip hop, rap and theatre groups from around Pau, singers from North Africe, and fireworks at the end. The entrance fee is 3euros (4$75)
and they are expecting 4000 people!
The choir will only be on stage for about 15 minutes so I will try to take some photos to show you.
If it goes as well as last year, where he organised a smaller rather similar event, it should be great !! (if it doesn't rain)

You never know, maybe he will get the NYCB out dancing in the streets soon.

Philip

Faycal really gets enthusiastic about his projects...he very much wants to get the NYC Ballet orchestra out of the pit and onstage for a featured concert.

I hope you will let us know about the big event on Friday.

Anne

First of all, belated birthday greetings!!

As promised, here is some news from Pau.

The show we participated in was organised by Fayçal (and others) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of a small industrial town near Pau, called Mourenx.
It told the story of the town and how it was built by guest workers from North Africa, Spain (Pau is only 50 miles from Spain), etc.
The orchestra played throughout the whole concert, sometimes on their own, sometimes with the other musicians, rappers and slammers, etc. There were ballet dancers, hip hop dancers, Spanish dancers, belly dancers, etc.
Classical pieces included, Beethoven’s symphony n°4 in B flat major, op. 60, Pergolesa Stabat Mater, West Side Story, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Ravel Bolero, with percussionists from the orchestra sitting high up on scaffolding on each side of the main stage, and the finale was Mussorgsky’s The Great Gate At Kiev, with a huge firework display (we were sitting on the stage behind the orchestra, and we ended up covered in ashes !!).
Another anecdote about Fayçal :
When we arrived for the concert, he was in the car park – we had a laugh with him about him being in charge of the parking arrangements as well as the rest ! Then a few minutes later, my husband saw him changing into his concert clothes in the back of a car!! “So you see, I don’t get special treatment !!” he said.

Here is a link to a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXm3aM_fY18 which includes bits from the rehearsal, which started at 8 pm on Friday and finished after 1.am on Saturday. The quality is not good but should give you an idea of the atmosphere.
Also a few photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28239900@N04/2638697003/in/set-72157605994077137/ taken on the 4th (including a photo of my husband and Fayçal in the parking lot).
We were not allowed to film the actual concert.

I will look forward to reading your articles on Sarataga.

We are planning a trip to Paris to see the NYCB in September, which is very exciting.

Have a good summer!

Anne

I am rather tired - the rehearsal was of course on Thursday and the Concert on Friday !

Philip

Thanks so much for the video link and photo...it's great that you'll be seeing NYCB (and Faycal) in Paris and I hope you will let us know your impressions.

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