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Die Jahreszeiten

on June 09, 2023
This is the page for the performance on June 09, 2023.
Choreography Martin Schläpfer


The course of the year as a metaphor for life! In »The Seasons« the aged Joseph Haydn composed a large-scale secular oratorio about how mankind is integrated into the cycle of nature – a music that is full of colours, full of brilliance and great rhetorical power, as one reviewer noted on 2 May 1801 after its world premiere in Vienna, writing in the Leipziger Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung: »One moment the music of the singing delights, the next the powerful intervention of all the instruments convulses like a forest stream breaking through all its dams: now simple, artless expression captivates, now one admires the lavish opulence of rapid and bright chords. From beginning to end one’s mood is torn away involuntarily from the most touching to the most terrible, from the most naive to the most artificial, from the most beautiful to the most sublime.« Scenes bursting with life are placed next to gripping musical descriptions of nature, catchy melodies next to thoughtful reflections on life and its transience, vast oratorio scenes alongside folkloric songs full of wit and rough humour.

For the Vienna State Ballet’s Director Martin Schläpfer, the idea of a full-length ballet inspired by Haydn’s »The Seasons« stretches back to the early 1990s, when his career as a choreographer was just beginning. Now, over 25 years later, it will finally reach the stage – with the Vienna State Ballet, soloists from the vocal ensemble, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.

As stage and costume designer, Martin Schläpfer will have the Swedish artist Mylla Ek working alongside him. She has abstracted a stage space from the form of a conch shell that changes in keeping with the seasons: it can be narrow, cold and dark or broad, warm and bright – a place in which Martin Schläpfer can allow his dance images to Haydn’s composition to unfold: images of people preserved in their microcosm but also exposed to the vastness of the universe.


This production is sponsored by