New choreography of classic ballets set to dazzle audiences at Opera Ghent
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen will present two new choreographies from the 20th-century ballet repertoire on Saturday. Igor Stravinsky's Petroesjka and Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "ballet chanté" Die sieben Todsünden will be presented together at Opera Ghent.
The double bill will be performed from 16-30 December in Ghent, followed by performances at Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen from 24 January until 4 February.
Petroesjka tells the story of three puppets brought to life by the Charlatan and explores the complexity of human emotions each puppet experiences. Israeli choreographer Ella Rothschild has set this fantastical story in the wilderness instead of its usual colourful puppet theatre surroundings.
"We went away from the original, and I kind of created a different narrative. I'm using things in the original ballet, but I am repurposing them," Rothschild said of her concept, which features a lost society facing cruelty and brutality.
Instead of a lifelike puppet as the title character, she has chosen to use the form of a donkey that is manipulated by the dancers. "I start from simple elements such as love, sadness and violence, the masses versus the individual, things that concern us all," she says. "What happens to us when we find ourselves on the edge of the abyss? What is morality?" The story ends in tragedy, and Rothschild focuses on the fragility of life leading up to the final scene.
© OPERA BALLET VLAANDEREN
Another new take on a classic is Belgian choreographer Jeroen Verbruggen's Die sieben Todsünden. Weill and Brecht's "ballet chanté" - a ballet that is sung - features a young woman with a split personality who takes a journey across the US to earn money for her family. Each of the seven cities she travels through presents one of the seven deadly sins that slow her down.
The range of music in this piece is not something Verbruggen takes for granted. "It covers many different types of music. There is foxtrot; you can hear Louisiana, the banjo, there is maybe even a wink to Strauss waltzes," he says of the score.
Verbruggen highlights how the American Dream and social criticism fit together, while costume designer Teresa Vergho emphasises American stereotypes in her extravagant creations.
The music for the two productions will be performed live by the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Symphony Orchestra, conducted by chief conductor Alejo Pérez.
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