b.17 Ballett am Rhein

b.17 Ballett am Rhein
©Gert Weigelt

“The creative act knows no memory, no science and no cognizance. These things are always bound up with the past. The creative act accepts no conditions outside of itself. That is why it is free.”
Sergiu Celibidache

It is my first experience at the Ballett am Rhein, for one of their new productions called simply “7”. I’ve seen ballet before but nothing quite like this. In my native Puerto Rico, we have a couple of ballet and contemporary dance companies, but they don’t do more than a couple of performances a year, presenting programmes limited very often to “standards” like the Nutcracker or Giselle. I have also seen several ballets here in Germany but something as strong and captivating like Martin Schläpfer’s work, never. He is the current director of Ballett am Rhein and fast becoming one of Europe’s top choreographers.

The work is a complex and emotionally charged choreography that combines great imaginative and sublime, often abstract, movements to Gustav Mahler’s complete 7th Symphony. If you haven’t heard this symphony, let me tell you: it is a monumental orchestral tour-de-force with rich and dense harmonic colors juxtaposed with astonishingly beautiful melodic moments. So now imagine a ballet on top of that. At a first glance it just seems too complicated, that is why in the beginning as I sat there through the performance continuously trying to understand it, I asked myself the most basic question of all: Why?

Then I remembered a phrase by legendary Rumanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache. Immediately I stopped thinking and just went along with the work until finally I was liberated from myself and everything around me through a wonderful and marvelous work of art full of sound and movement in a way very rarely seen before. If you haven’t got plans for Friday December 6, I strongly advice you experience this performance.   

Arturo Castro for RhineBuzz

RhineBuzz can offer discounted seats in the stalls and upper tiers for the performance on December 6. Please email opera@rhinebuzz.com for details.