Germain Louvet: "I like to play a Siegfried as a young person of 2020"
Germain Louvet, the principal dancer (danseur étoile) of the Paris Opera, came to Saint Petersburg this March to take part in the XIX International ballet festival Mariinsky: to perform “The Swan Lake” with Oksana Skorik and to participate in the final Gala. The situation of the COVID-19 pandemy and quarantine did not allow him to perform twice, but “The Swan Lake” on the stage of Mariinsky-2 on 15th March was absolutely gorgeous and made the audience admire the prince, flying above the stage. We could see Siegfried as an idealistic, vivid, touching and very interesting young man. Germain is always very attentive and careful with his partners and this time he tried to be “in duo” with Oksana, despite quite little time spent together during the rehearsals. Germain left Saint Petersburg just the next morning after the show but he agreed to make this interview specially for Voci dell'Opera.
Germain, you have been to Saint Petersburg this month, and I know it is not your first time in the city. How is Saint Petersburg to you?
To me, Saint Petersburg is a majestic city that I have always pictured with a lot of magic and legends. It’s in a way the witness of the Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union at the same time. And now the liberal capitalism time. We see very well this three distinct periods of Russia just walking in the street. It’s also the background of all our musical, lyrical and ballet history.
You performed in “The Swan Lake” here. Prince Siegfried is one of the roles you dance in different versions. What kind of person is your own Siegfried and what does this character mean to you?
I like to play a Siegfried close to our time, close to me as a young person of 2020, or a teenager I was, with all doubts and questions that we all have at this point of living. It’s for me a young adult trying to find his own personality and who’s struggling with all the conventions and rules that society is imposing on him.
You were announced as danseur étoile of the Paris Opera after “The Swan Lake” performance in Paris. What did you feel at that moment?
Firstable, a great relief and a big happiness. And then, a huge responsibility, and also a little bit of fear. It took some months to feel good with this new title.
What other classical roles do you like?
Definitely, Romeo... Nureyev’s one, but also Sasha Waltz’ Romeo.
What do you prefer: classical ballet or contemporary pieces?
Both. I feel different energies and emotions in each. And there is freedom and expressivity in both kinds.
What choreographers would you like to work with?
I would love to do one piece from Pina Bausch. But I'd love also to work with Anne Teresa De Kersmaeker, Sharon Eyal, Jérôme Bel, Ohad Naharin, Alain Platel...
What personalities from ballet history are inspiring for you?
They are Rudolf Noureev, Nijinski, Merce Cunningham, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Laurent Hilaire, Sylvie Guillem, Svetlana Zakharova, Marie-Agnès Gillot.
As for non-ballet theatre, do you like opera, plays or musicals?
Of course! I love “le spectacle vivant” (“live show”) in general. I go out a lot if I have time.
Would you like to perform as an actor at the theatre or in a film?
I'd love to try but I know that it’s a lot of work and I’m not sure I'd be good as an actor.
We could see you on the catwalk of Jean Paul Gaultier's farewell show. What are your favourite fashion designers of the present and the past?
I think Yves Saint Laurent and Azzedine Alaia were the greatest designers. Jean Paul Gaultier is also a one-of-his-kind and opened fashion to everyone, creating a new way to see clothes and their role. I love also what Kim Jones is doing now at Dior Homme.
You live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. What are your top-5 favourite places in Paris?
Canal de L’Ourcq
Le Jardin Saint Lazare
Bibliothèque Francois Mitterand
Favourite music: “Love in Portofino” by Dalida
Film: “J’ai tué ma mère” (“I Killed My Mother”) by Xavier Dolan
Book or writer: Annie Ernaux
Historical period: 70s
Fragrance: summer’s aromas
Your main advantage: always being happy
Your main disadvantage: always being happy
Important personality traits in people: optimism
Dream roles: father
Photos: Yasuko-Kageyama, James Bort, Sébastien Mathé
Sketch: Yulia Sumzina