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Volksoper Wien Premieres

»We learnt the Bible off by heart without understanding any of it. If one sees the light later, one already possesses all the material which suddenly comes to life.« Johannes Brahms


As if from another world a darkly glowing voice reaches our ear, filled with hope in its burning caution and yet clouded with dissonances, stabbing directly into our hearts: »Blessed are they who bear suffering for they shall be comforted.« Clara Schumann was overwhelmed shortly after she finished reading the score of Johannes Brahms’ »Ein Deutsches Requiem« and found these words for her young friend, which still capture the impression this composition makes today: »I am thoroughly absorbed in your requiem, it is a truly powerful piece, grasping man’s entirety in a way little else can. Its deep seriousness, combined with all its poetic magic, has an effect which is wonderful, disturbing and soothing.«

Martin Schläpfer was inspired by Brahms’ composition in 2011 to create a full-length dance piece in which he engages in an intensive dialogue with the score and the texts from the Old and New Testaments set to the music in his unique, so physical and yet so fragile art in a search and exploration of the ultimate questions of human existence.

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Alexei Ratmansky’s »24 Préludes« displays the entire emotional palette of a variety of relationships in a thrilling manner. Andrey Kaydanovskiy, dancer with the Vienna State Ballet and for some time a highly sought-after choreographer, creates a new piece and has initiated an encounter with the composer Christof Dienz, who maintains a fascinating balance of styles within his work to create a music that is both »intuitive and physical«. »Transformed into sunshine« is how Martin Schläpfer names his world premiere to Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto – music in which the Director and Chief Choreographer of the Vienna State Ballet sees images full of warmth and tenderness.

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The inventive counterpoint of Beethoven’s String Quartet op 133 provided Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker with inspiration for her piece »Große Fuge«, with which the Vienna State Ballet presents a work by this leading Belgian dance artist for the first time. Another new colour in the repertoire is provided by Merce Cunningham. In his »Duets« he counterpoints his own movement vocabulary with typical ballet forms. A classic modernist is Hans van Manen. In his »Four Schumann Pieces« we become witnesses to a man’s emotional state – his desires, fears, and passions.

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Developing a choreography of one’s own from the initial idea to the premiere contains numerous challenges. With this new format »Plattform Choreographie«, Martin Schläpfer offers dancers from the Vienna State Ballet who are interested in working as choreographers the chance to develop their own ideas within the professional framework of the complex structures of a theatre with all its resources and to present them to an audience at the Volksoper Wien once a year, starting in the 2021/22 season. »I envisage a platform in which young artists are allowed and able to practice securely«, the Director of the Vienna State Ballet says. »If a choreographer occasionally grows out of this project similar to the Noverre Society in Stuttgart – all the better. But that’s not primarily what it’s about for me. I want my dancers to experience how the art of creation can be the greatest thing in the world, something that makes being an artist a wonderful mission in life.«

The audience can look forward to a performance at the Volksoper that shows the creative potential within the dancers of the Vienna State Ballet, the aesthetics and themes that interest the young generation and how the way they see the world is reflected in the art of dance.

Funded by the Circle of Friends of the Vienna State Ballet

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