Orange Studio has taken the opportunity of this year’s Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris to lift the curtain on season two of “L’Opéra,” a premium series that offers a backstage look at the inner workings and private passions of the dancers who illuminate Paris’ prestigious Opera Garnier. Ahead of Wednesday’s market presentation, execs from Orange Studio confirmed to Variety that two-time César winner Anne Alvaro (“The Taste of Others,” “The Clink of Ice”) will join the cast as the sophomore season’s chief antagonist.
The lauded performer will join a cast headed by veteran Ariane Labed (“The Lobster,” “Alps”) as a hard-living 35-year-old fighting to remain in the spotlight and newcomer Suzy Bemba (of the upcoming Yorgos Lanthimos project “Poor Things”) as a 19-year-old from an underprivileged background looking for a chance to prove herself. Season one’s third lead Raphael Personnaz (“Anna Karenina”) will also return, this time taking a more supporting role as the troupe’s outgoing director.
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Alvaro will play Diane, a storied ballet luminary who takes over behind the scenes. Building on a fraught past with dancer Zoé (Labed) and an uneasy mentorship with rising star Flora (Bemba), the new foil will push forward a season-long exploration of the hazy line between stern encouragement and workplace misconduct.
Spearheaded by director Cécile Ducrocq (whose feature debut, “Her Way,” premiered at the 2021 Venice Film Festival) and up-and-coming showrunner Benjamin Adam, produced by Florence Levard of Telfrance subsidiary Victoria Production, and commissioned by OCS France and Orange Studio, the dramatic series was renewed for a follow-up well before season one hit local airwaves.
The decision proved prescient: The title received a warm welcome when it premiered in France in September 2021, and it won prizes for best French series at COLCOA and for best actress at Series Mania.
With Newen Connect handling international sales, season one has already sold to broadcasters in Spain (Disney Plus), Italy (Sky), Brazil (Globo), Australia (SBS), French Canada (Quebecor), and Greece (OTE TV). Orange execs tell Variety that a U.S. deal is imminent. Meanwhile, season two wrapped production in December 2021, and is expected to hit local airwaves toward the end of 2022.
“This series is both a showcase for a prestigious French institution known throughout the world and a perfect illustration of the new bridges between cinema and series,” says Orange Studio executive director Kristina Zimmermann. “With lead actors Ariane Labed and Raphaël Personnaz both coming from the big screen, and showrunner Cécile Ducrocq having just directed her first feature [the series] highlights our ambitions in the field.”
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