Dutch National Ballet presents
03 Jun 12:00
INSPIRED BY GREAT COMPOSITIONS
At the 2020 Holland Festival, Dutch National Ballet will present the world premiere of Beethoven. George Balanchine once remarked that ‘Dance should leave Beethoven well alone – there’s no choreographing to his music’. But plenty of choreographers have since proved him false. Making ballet to Beethoven may not be easy, but the results are sensational! In honour of his 250th birthday, Dutch National Ballet presents two masterpieces and one new creation inspired by the grand master’s music.
Hans van Manen
A burst of energy
Probably the first to prove Balanchine wrong was – who else? – Hans van Manen. At its première in 1971, his sublime choreography to Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge string quartet was lauded as ‘the most notable European ballet of the decade’. Recent performances of the dazzling double quartet were hailed by the press as ‘Brilliant and beautiful to behold’ and ‘a super-charged burst of energy’. Today, it is one of Van Manen’s most frequently danced ballets worldwide.
Toer van Schayk
Alongside Hans van Manen and Rudi van Dantzig, Toer van Schayk was one of Dutch National Ballet’s famous original three ‘Vans’. In 1986 he was inspired by Beethoven’s Seventh to create a new ballet fuelled purely by the music and sizzling with colour, vitality and zest for life. At its première and later performances it was received with cheers and standing ovations, and in 1987 was crowned with a VSCD Choreography Award.
Wubkje Kuindersma, Ernst Meisner and Remi Wörtmeyer
In his entire career, Beethoven wrote only a single ballet: Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus – an allegorical ballet d’action composed in 1801 for the imperial court at Vienna. The music was well-received, but apart from a brief synopsis – Prometheus steals fire from the gods to give to two mortals – nothing of the choreography survives. In Back to Beethoven, Dutch National Ballet presents the world première of a new, abstracted translation of the Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus. Following in the footsteps of the DNB’s original three ‘Vans’ and their 1975 co-creation Collective Symphony, Beethoven’s ballet will be recreated by a trio of rising young choreographers: Wubkje Kuindersma, Ernst Meisner and Remi Wörtmeyer.
Ludwig van Beethoven is considered one of the greatest composers ever to have lived, on a par with Bach and Mozart. At the age of 11 he could already play Bach’s entire Das wohltemperierte Klavier by heart and was writing his own compositions. Later he studied with Joseph Haydn and Johann Schenk in Vienna, forming part of the so-called First Viennese School, alongside Mozart and Haydn. It was also Beethoven who paved the way for Romantic music, stressing the expression of personal emotions. Around 1800 he began to experience the first signs of deafness. In his later years he became paranoid and isolated, composing his final, often misunderstood, works in a world of silence.
Choreography Wubkje Kuindersma, Ernst Meisner, Remi Wörtmeyer
Choreography Hans van Manen
Choreography Toer van Schayk
Music Ludwig van Beethoven
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
conducted by Marzio Conti
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters. The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.
‘Grosse Fuge is the cherry on top. It is rich with contrasts, harmonious and incredibly sexy’
‘Toer van Schayk's 7th Symphony is monumental, a glittering display of exuberance. Twenty dancers are malleably “sculpted” in ensemble dances that ripple ever wider to the compelling force of Beethoven's seventh symphony’
‘In the sensual “Grosse Fuge” from 1971 opening “The Hand of the Master” – a tremendous tribute to Hans van Manen – the clenched fists of Dutch National Ballet's four male dancers (with torsos bared, shiny belts and black skorts) seem to shout: “Hello ladies, here we are!”'
‘Premier league dance artistry.’