The premiere of the three-part piece “Marin/Schröder” at the opera on Sunday shows surprising and outstanding images.
It took a while, but finally the obvious cooperation worked out: the premiere of the new ballet evening at the Leipzig Opera on Sunday is also the conclusion of the Saxon Euro Scene Theater Festival. After the “Dollar Princess” in the musical comedy and Lortzing’s “Undine” in the opera, this is also the conclusion of the opening trio by Tobias Wolf, artistic director of the Leipzig Opera.
The title for the ballet evening comes from the two creative minds behind the three-part series: the legendary French choreographer Maguy Marin (born in 1951) and Mario Schröder, head of ballet at the Leipzig Opera. It is a three-parter for which she has reanimated two small works and he has created a new one.
1986’s “Duo d’Eden” has become one of Marin’s classics. It’s a nearly quarter-hour prologue to the evening, which at the same time seems like a prologue to everything. The title outs the two dancers as Adam and Eva (Itziar Ducaju and Marcelino Libao). Two masked and stylized naked human bodies, related to each other, intertwined, gropingly approaching, becoming one. Before any emancipation of the female from the male, rather at the beginning of its dominance. Power makes the rules. The first steps out of paradise into a room without contours and without music. Nature itself provides the sound. Splashing water, rumbling thunder – the murmur of archaic primeval music. This reduction is extremely exciting and a prologue to dance in general.
Matthias Foremny and the Gewandhaus Orchestra contribute the music for the following “Great Fugue” (based on Beethoven in a version for string orchestra by Felix Weingärtner). Natasa Dudar, Madoka Ishikawa, Diana Sandu and Vivian Wang make them visible on stage in a classic way, so to speak. Each for itself, and yet always ending in synchronous sequences of movements, falling apart again and insisting on their autonomy. They unleash a dynamic with islands of stillness, pushing forward and pausing. In this way, spaces of association are opened up with a musical instinct for movement.
The highlight of the evening, of course, is provided by the host Schröder with his creation “Panta Rhei”, which can be translated as “everything flows”. Paul Zoller’s stage and his lighting (Michael Röger) are almost constitutive for their fascinating effect. Such a coherent art space in black and red that obeys its own laws has not been seen on a stage for a long time. Aesthetic sovereignty rules here beyond any naturalism, as celebrated by Robert Wilson, for example. An object moves back and forth on the ramp, reminiscent of Dali’s running watch. A plant grows in fast motion. A cloth is pulled up like a tent and keeps collapsing. Two red neo stripes move like stars. A huge, transparent dodecagon hovers above all of this. This stage alone is a dynamic work of art. Schröder has combined music by Bach and Pascal Dusapin for his troupe, which oscillates fabulously between concentrated and playful. The art of the fugue (Contrapunctus 1-4) in string orchestra format provides the model for the orderly formal; Dusapin the impulse for exploding emotion. The Frenchman proved that he understands opera in the summer in Aix-en-Provence with a Dante opera. In Leipzig one can experience how affinity with movement his flowing music can be. For Schröder an inspiration for what is perhaps his most amazing and original work to date. Freed from the corset of a narrated story, every combination of movement is legitimized by the music and conducts its own dialogue with the space. This is as imaginative as it is funny. From surfing on a body that moves towards people rolling under it, to the implied swing of the hips to plucked strings. The alternation between Bach’s formal severity and Dusapin’s urgently alarmist floods of sound to an imaginatively exploding movement language fills the congenial art space as if by itself. And crowns a top-class evening in every respect!
Next performances can be seen on November 19th, December 11th and 16th.