The Mesmerizing Journey of a Giselle Set

December 9, 2015

Backdrops for classical ballets can be stunningly beautiful—they’re basically museum-quality paintings, done on a (very) large scale. But how are they made? And by whom? And how the HECK does a ginormous drop get from the artists’ studio to the stage?

Today, the Paris Opéra Ballet answered those questions in brilliant video fashion. “Giselle: The Walking Landscape”—produced by the POB’s digital platform, 3e Scène (Third Stage)—follows the journey of a gorgeous Giselle Act I backdrop.

And I don’t just mean its figurative journey, from conception to reality, although we do get lovely shots of the three artists who painted the backdrop hard at work.

It is large. (screenshot via YouTube)

I mean its literal journey, too—from the Ateliers Berthier, where the drop was painted, to the stage of the Palais Garnier.

Why is that trip especially fascinating? Because there are apparently no high-tech solutions to the problem of transporting a giant painting from one side of Paris to the other. So the thing is literally carried across the city by 24 dudes. And the ways unsuspecting Parisians react to the unlikeliness of that image are, frankly, priceless.

Not something you see every day. (screenshot via YouTube)

As a bonus, the whole thing is set to some of the loveliest pieces of Giselle‘s Act I score. Enjoy!

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