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The seven wonders of Paris Merveilles at LIDO


The seven wonders of Paris Merveilles at LIDO

The Blue Bell Girls in the Blue dancing act, Foto: Pascaline LABARRERE.

The Blue Bell Girls in the Blue dancing act, Foto: Pascaline LABARRERE.

Visited by Henning Høholt

PARIS/FRANCE: The famouse Lido at Champs Élysées is presenting their show PARIS MERVEILLES for thousand of people with two performances every evening. This show is a positive celebration of Paris, and presenting a good mixture of visual beautiful dance shows, some with  an abundance of feathers from American pheasants and South African ostriches; at the beautiful feather decorations, cascade of rhinestones at LIDO. – And of course the french Can-Can.

The French Can-Can for the first time at a LIDO show. Foto Craity Thomas

The French Can-Can for the first time at a LIDO show. Foto Craity Thomas

All this around different artistic soloist parts, including a small ice show, a splendid and very well performed acrobatic act between a first class couple, a fountain, a very funny man, a mimic artist in the Marcel Marceau style, a female “chanteuse” and a guide, in a spectacular world of visual effects with amazing costumes. Time is running fast in good company by the large wide stage expanded by videos and projections at LIDO.

Like a jewel in a brand new box

Established on the Champs-Elysées for almost 70 years, the LIDO seized the creation of its new show by Dragone as an opportunity to refurbish its 2000m2 panoramic room, to completely reinvent the decoration of its lobby into blue and gold and to enhance the spectator experience. New uniforms for the entire staff team, expanded dining menus completed this season with desserts signed Lenôtre, a unique animation to start the evening with musicians and a magical orchestra with 45 instruments … Come enjoy the best dinner-show experience in Paris!

Haute-couture costumes

Fantastic Blue Bell Girls in "nearly" only feathers at Lido. Foto by Masculine LABARRERE.

Fantastic Blue Bell Girl in “nearly” only feathers and pearls at Lido. Foto by Pascaline LABARRERE.

Franco entrusted the enormous task of designing 600 costumes, 250 pairs of shoes, 200 hats and caps for this new revue to the young and talented Nicolas Vaudelet; all of which were tailor-made in Dragone’s costume workshops in La Louviere. Nicolas, former collaborator of Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix, says with a smile: “to design the costumes of a revue is the ultimate fantasy of every designer.”

Delicious costumes and outfits at Lido. Foto Pascaline-LABARRERE

Delicious costumes and outfits at Lido. Foto Pascaline-LABARRERE

FEATHERS

An abundance of feathers from American pheasants and South African ostriches; cascade of rhinestones glued one by one on dresses – more than two millions only for the blue scene: glamour awaits you. A more fashionable approach to the usual revue outfits an added bonus: feminine tuxedos, dresses with optical effects, dashing transparencies…

An unique musical project

For the first time in LIDO’s history, a singer is at the heart of the revue. Manon, an incredible mezzo-soprano was chosen by Franco Dragone to meet this challenge (she was discovered by the French audience in the 2014 edition of The Voice, in which she reached the semi-finals). In order to write her tailored repertoire a unique soundtrack was composed going from swing to soul, and from jazz to romance. The composers are Yvan Cassar, collaborator to greatest artists such as Mylène Farmer and Johnny Halliday, and the Belgian singer Saule. They created for this occasion a rich score infused with many different musical styles. The poetic Belgian singer Saule also wrote the texts of the show’s songs.

A stage expanded by videos and projections

Without a doubt this is a first in the world of cabarets. Franco Dragone revolutionises the art of the revue throughout Paris Merveilles, bringing along his own trademark: the ability to set-up visual effects with cutting edge technology throughout the show. He called on Patrick Neys, whose started his career at Dragone, for his technological prowess and the video team who have worked alongside him on most Dragone shows. Sometimes poetic, sometimes dramatic, these images multiply space almost infinitely. Five LED lights screens, the largest of which covers the back of the stage, and no less than six different curtains serve as supports for these animated projections. A staircase that extends into the air, the streets of Paris blooming before our eyes like bouquets of flowers, a padded corridor plunging into depths of the stage. The audience, shaken, falls into a fairy tale. 

A revue danced like never before

It took no less than 500 auditions in Europe and the United States, for the new troupe of dancers to be selected by the Dragone casting team and the LIDO, who casted a total of 32 young women (including the famous Bluebell girls) and 14 young men. After four months of intense rehearsals, a whole new approach to the art of the revue is offered to the public. “I come from a contemporary dance background but I am a fan of the cabaret genre, so I didn’t hesitate to borrow the best of these two very different genres in order to invent a third one” summarises choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer. As a result of this successful combination, you’ll see a revolutionary cancan with pink feathers swirling under black velvet skirts wich has been spiced up with a great deal of modernity…

A scenic designer who revisits Paris

Renown scenic desiginer, Jean Rabasse, is among the exceptional artists gathered to design this new show. Supported by Dragone’s technical teams, Rabasse is, without a doubt, among those who was faced with one of the most complex tasks. Revisiting the scenery of Paris is a great challenge, even for someone who has been awarded two César’s for his cinematographic work, and his collaboration on prestigious shows like the Olympic Games ceremony. A challenge, one can only agree, he easily overcame after discovering the monumental staircase with it’s Art Nouveau spirals, the 5 meter high chandelier made up of 40,000 pearls emerging from deep below the depths, and the scenic designs of both the shady and aristocratic Paris he created.

Exceptional performances

Lido’s ambition for its new show was to impress with the means but also with the great combination of talents. “As Franco Dragone likes to remind us, attractions are at the heart of the tradition of the revue, but I have wanted to go further and make them part of the story we tell on stage”. New features coming from the world of Dragone aim to wow the audience: a sword swallower, a hip-hop dancer, trained swans… so many moments that are likely to remain in the spectators’ memory of LIDO « Paris Merveilles » 

***

Figures that reveal LIDO´s true colours:

25 MILLION EUROS invested in renovating the Lido and in the artistic creation of the new revue.

2 YEARS OF PREPARATION and 4 MONTHS OF REHEARSALS before the curtain goes up on Paris Merveilles.

2 MILLION SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS, attached one by one to the sparkling taffeta outfits of the blue scene.

100 KILOS OF OSTRICH FEATHERS, dyed pink and fastened by hand beneath the petticoats of the 27 cancan dancers. A dance appearing for the first time at the Lido.

1,000 HOURS OF DESIGN by a team of 8 graphic designers, for all the original sets and videos to be projected during the show.

60 ARTISTS on stage every night, including the famous Bluebell Girls.

5 METERS HIGH, for the phenomenal one-tonne chandelier adorned with 40,000 DROPS, which emerges from the depths of the Lido.

20,000 WATTS (sound power equivalent to that of a Zénith concert hall) to hear Manon, the singer of the show, live each night.

22 DRESSERS AND 11 DRESSMAKERS behind the scenes taking care of the show’s 600 costumes.

35 KITCHEN STAFF every night, preparing a selection of 21 dishes to order for the dinner show, divided into 3 menus.

300,000 BOTTLES OF CHAMPAGNE opened each year during the twice-daily shows.

1,132 HIGH-QUALITY SEATS, in a 2,000 m2 panoramic theatre.

HALF A MILLION AUDIENCE MEMBERS each year at the Lido.

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