Stéphane Lambiel’s Ice Legends: A Midspring Night’s Dream. The full story.
April 22, Patinoire des Vernets, Geneva.
At 20:38, the heroes of the night enter the ice in complete silence, shadows in half-light, only to burst into colors, while presenting themselves to the audience and skating the opening number, to Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime.
Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, the precious guest of Ice Legends, introduces herself to the audience by playing a personal interpretation of Adventure of a Lifetime and giving us a sense of what we might expect later on, during the show.
No better way to start the night than the inviting skate of the 16-year-old Deniss Vasiljevs and his short program during 2015-2016 season, to Puttin’ On the Ritz.
Sarah Meier is reviving her short program from the season she won the second silver at the Europeans, 2007-2008, a soft, emotional performance to the music from the movie „Patch Adams” – „le numéro qui a changé sa vie”, as Stéphane says in the video introducing his longtime friend.
And then Bond takes the ice, Brian Bond, and for the next couple of minutes the audience is literally on fire. To the very much enthusiasm of the crowd, Brian Joubert skates a program suiting him like a glove, like one of James Bond’s gloves: his short program from 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons, to music from the movie „Die Another Day”.
When Marie-Pierre Leray takes the sky of the rink for her number, Hiro, the colleague on my right, fetches a sigh. And how could he not, when Marie-Pierre is flying, and twirling, and twisting with her circle, meters above the ice, no strings attached, no safety net beneath her…
And then there’s this: the reason why I kept mumbling „Lacrimooosa…” days on end after the show – and I don’t even have an ear for music. But this particular number, Daisuke Takahashi’s Lacrimosa, is highly addictable. And so is the skater himself.
In only their second trip to a show in Europe, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are skating to a hit of the moment, Justin Bieber’s Sorry, and they are truly taking the audience with them in their journey; it’s a whole lot of noise in the arena while they dance, and the choreography, by Samuel Chouinard, is really inspired.
Le Poème: poetry on ice, poetry in motion
Stéphane Lambiel, a day before the show: „Mao Asada is the narrator of the story, a love story, and at the beginning of the ballade she presents the skaters – they are all representing a village. We have, for example, the guys, the gang, with Ilia, Brian and Scott going out and being the bad boys of the village. Then we have the two girls, Sarah and Tessa, they’re going on a shopping day together; you have the kids of the village running around and being together, having fun. Then, finally, we have the romantic couple, Tania and Max – and, at the end, they present Carolina. Actually, we all see Carolina in the village and we ask her: Can you tell us your story? And then finally Mao asks her: Please, tell us your story. And we leave the ice, and Carolina will show her program, to Clair de Lune”.
And then THIS happens: the beautiful, serene Carolina Kostner skates to Debussy’s Clair de Lune, in her hazy, intricate dress, in the half-shadow of the arena, turned completely silent – and I’m touched to the fingertips. You know what they say: La Regina é Carolina. The Queen of emotions, above everything, and the most touching part of Ice Legends happens in these minutes and seconds towards the end of Act One.
And then Khatia Buniatishvili attacks the first notes of Ravel’s La Valse – that undanceable waltz, as Diaghilev thought of it, and the core of Le Poème – and the air, the overall atmosphere of the story changes completely. There’s no serenity anymore, nor the beautiful lady dancing happily under the moonlight, but power, and passion, and darkness, as Stéphane Lambiel takes the ice. Car il est le séducteur. And for the final act of the poem, he’ll lure Carolina into his arms, and the two will dance the famous pas de deux they’ve been preparing at Stéphane’s skating school, in Champéry.
On the ice of Vernets, couples come and go, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Carolina and Stéphane only have eyes for each other; and their dance together is highly addictable.
…but then a threat to Carolina and Stéphane’s liaison comes into light: Daisuke Takahashi himself, and you see Stéphane trying to lure him too, in his attempt to gather love, as much as possible.
And then we come back to Khatia Buniatishvili’s words, from the video introducing the story: “Comme toutes les passions non partagées, ça finit par l’auto-destruction”. Stéphane’s emotional self-destruction, out of too much love, at the end of a symbolical attempt to attain the unattainable. As written in the Ice Legends brochure offered to the guests of the night: „L’historie d’un individu qui consume son désir de séduire et qui s’y brûlera les ailes”.
…and then there’s the entr’acte, for our hearts to return to their places.
Photos from the Second Act of Ice Legends to come the following days.