Kings on Ice Olympic Gala: all eyes on Stéphane Lambiel

Stéphane Lambiel, at 2014 Kings on Ice Olympic Gala in Bucharest, skating on "Say I wanna know"

Stéphane Lambiel, at 2014 Kings on Ice Olympic Gala in Bucharest, skating on “Say I wanna know”

Wish you were all with me in Bucharest, at Sala Polivalenta, on October 7th, during rehearsals for this year’s edition of “Kings on Ice”. You would have had the privilege to be (once again) amazed by this talented young man, with a wonderful sense of musicality. Stéphane Lambiel – he’s the hero of this little story – was in great shape in Bucharest, skating and joking, laughing and talking; and listening carefully to Ari Zakarian’s instructions for the opening and the finale of the show. Your eyes would have been glued to this magnetic presence on the ice – and my camera did just that, continuously taking pictures of this brilliant Swiss skater.

by Florentina Tone

Just a few minutes past 14:00, Stéphane takes the ice for the rehearsals; dressed in black, he’s wearing a T-shirt with his name on it – a proof he’s been a part of “Intimissimi on ice OperaPop”, the impressive show hosted by Carolina Kostner at Arena di Verona, in September. Stéphane looks calm, composed while practicing his first program in the gala – a captivating, smooth routine, on “Say I wanna know” – but as soon as Ari starts presenting the choreography for the group skates of “Kings on Ice” (the opening and the finale), he begins to make jokes and funny faces, to the amusement of his colleagues. Flying hearts, kisses in the air, expansive, theatrical movements – and a lot of laughs on that tiny piece of ice in Sala Polivalenta. Stéphane’s an actor – and a good one, that’s for sure – and I’m having the time of my life taking picture after picture.

Sometime during the practice, the final guests arrive at the arena: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres – and Stéphane starts imitating Ari: “Where is Vanessa? Where is Vanessa?”, adding with a smile: “Ari couldn’t sleep last night because Vanessa wasn’t here… Where were you, Vanessa?”. “At home”, she says, and everybody laughs. Later that afternoon, Stéphane warns the pair in French: “Faites attention à votre twist, la glace est super male. Mais je quand même essayera mon flip…” For that, he uses a certain part of the improvised rink – as advised by Evgeni Plushenko a few minutes earlier.

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Ari Zakarian instructs the skaters to show a heart that beats, gets kissed -  then flies. Stephane's gestures while entering the role: priceless.

Ari Zakarian instructs the skaters to show a heart that beats, gets kissed – then flies. Stephane’s gestures while entering the role: priceless.

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VIDEO: Stéphane Lambiel, skating on “Say I wanna know”
(Rehearsals for Kings on Ice Olympic Gala in Bucharest)

During the actual show, the Swiss skater is exquisite. With “Say I wanna know”, he closes the first part of the gala, in the enthusiasm of the audience, to be welcomed, an hour later, with tons of applause for his wonderful performance on “Nessun dorma” – as if this aria from the final act of Puccini’s Turandot had been composed especially for him. At the end, while doing his final reverence to the Romanian public, Stéphane looks completely overwhelmed with emotions – and I’m sure that, sooner or later, he’ll come back for his fourth visit. I’m already waiting.

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