FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Stravinsky’s Ballet Triptych
The Rite Of Spring / Le Chant du Rossignol / Les Noces
Choreographies: Daphnis Kokkinos, Marco Goecke, Konstantinos RigosThe Greek National Opera Ballet presents the unique ballet triptych From Russia with Love, bringing three great ballets by Igor Stravinsky to the stage of the Stavros Niarchos Hall. The production features The Rite of Spring, Le Chant du Rossignol, and Les Noces choreographed by Daphnis Kokkinos, Marco Goecke and Konstantinos Rigos. From 6 April and for six performances in the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.
Igor Stravinsky has deeply influenced the musical avant-garde of the first decades of the 20th century and decisively contributed to the musical developments of the 21st century. His personal trajectory went through many phases and if anything characterizes it, it’s precisely its stylistic variety. The composer became internationally famous through a series of ballets for which he composed the music. These ballets were fruits of his creative collaboration with impresario Sergei Diaghilev, who created the Ballets Russes in Paris, collaborating with some of the most talented Russian artists, who lived and worked far from their homeland.
The three ballets of the From Russia With Love triptych, The Rite of Spring (1913), Le Chant du Rossignol (1914/1917/1920) and Les Noces (1923) were written for Ballets Russes and decisively contributed to Stravinsky becoming established as a great composer.
Three important choreographers stamp their mark on the choreographies of the production of the Greek National Opera Ballet: Daphnis Kokkinos of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, distinguished German choreographer Marco Goecke, who has been the Artistic Director of the State Ballet Hannover since the 2019/20 season, and the Director of the GNO Ballet Konstantinos Rigos.
At a glance – Synopsis
The Rite of SpringChoreography Daphnis Kokkinos
The great Greek dancer of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch Daphnis Kokkinos collaborates for the first time with the GNO Ballet and choreographs, also for the first time, one of the works that have definitely been associated with Pina Bausch, The Rite of Spring. Since 1993 Kokkinos has been the only Greek dancer in Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. From 2002 to 2009 he was an assistant to the legendary choreographer, and to this day he continues to work as dancer and rehearsal manager of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.
The choreographer notes: “Choreographing The Rite of Spring is a great challenge for me. It is the first performance I saw by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch when I was still a student at the Greek National School of Dance. It is the piece that I’ve been dancing with Pina’s company for 28 years. It is a great challenge to think and feel the piece in a completely different way than I have done until now. We live in a time filled with a lot of tension, pain, wars, crises - not only financial ones-, people “fleeing” from war zones and destroyed countries. There’s rage everywhere. At the same time there’s also creative thinking, love, youth – life’s driving force. We live in a time when we need to sacrifice not just one girl to appease the gods of Spring, but many more for more Gods. Another challenge is to work with the dancers of the Greek National Opera. Although that is a group with a different repertoire than mine, what we do have in common is that we both have a range of very young dancers at the beginning of their career to dancers with many years of experience. It is wonderful to be able to collaborate with such a broad range of dancers. And each one adds their own knowledge, experience, dynamics, energy, passion, and love to what we all use to express ourselves in the end: Dance.”
Les NocesChoreography Konstantinos Rigos
GNO Ballet Director Konstantinos Rigos choreographed Stravinsky’s Les Noces in 1993 for OKTANA Dance Theatre. An original, wild and sarcastic game of wedding preparations unfolds in front of the audience. Rigos’ movement engages in a power play with Stravinsky’s score and attempts to illustrate feelings of anxiety, fear, panic. Spasmodic, hovering moves, dense with meaning, in a historic choreography that has received raving reviews.
“Les Noces is a work inspired by the Russian folk tradition, the Russian folk weddings. This is the context in which Igor Stravinsky composed this overwhelming music, a challenge for every choreographer. Ι first choreographed this work into a complete performance in the 90s. This is how it began its journey inside me. In the first version, for the OKTANA Dance Theatre, the work was fashioned for seven dancers. In 2006, for the National Theatre of Northern Greece and for ten dancers, the work was completely revised with the artistic contribution of Dionysis Fotopoulos; its form was changed, many parts of the choreography were cut, and only the main material of the choreography was kept. Les Noces now unfolds in a white set which brings out the choreography’s movement vocabulary, which ranges between expressionism, neoclassical and modern dance. Puppet-like spasmodic moves matched with the “percussive” musical accompaniment, hovering moves, dense with messages, outline the young couple’s contradictory feelings, just as they are experienced in primitive societies and preserved in tradition: fear, expectation, joy, sorrow, separation, and above all, the unknown anticipated happiness of two complete strangers, who become “one”. In the end, the couple -reconciled, calm and naked, moves toward the light.”
Le Chant du RossignolChoreography Marco Goecke
Marco Goecke’s choreography for Le Chant du Rossignol seems like a song made of dance figures. A song locked in a cage, left out in the wind and the rain. A silent song buried in the ground, in a small wooden box. It flutters, writhes, contracts and flinches. Audience members coming for the first time in contact with one of Marco Goecke’s ballet performances are taken aback: the choreographer “attacks” the audience through movement – through unusual movements. In contrast to classical ballet or modern dance, what we see in Goecke’s work is most of all the torso and hands in complete agitation. In Goecke’s works emphasis is no longer placed on beautiful legs. Arms and hands are no longer a standardized continuation of the lower part of the body. On the contrary, little islets of meaning appear in this turbulent river: what at first seemed nervous and restless suddenly demands to be recognised, understandable, and in the end, incorporated. The choreography of Le Chant du Rossignol was first performed in 2009 by the Leipzig Ballet, and in 2015 in a new version by the Stuttgart Ballet. When Goecke was asked to describe in a few words the concept of his choreography, he said: “Song, Love, Death”.
German choreographer Marco Goecke has been a choreographer in residence at the Stuttgart Ballet, and the Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, and an associate choreographer at Nederlands Dans Theater. He has created more than 60 choreographies, which have been presented in all corners of the globe, from Tel Aviv and Sao Paolo to Canada, Moscow, and Zurich. The multi-awarded choreographer has assumed the directorship of the State Ballet Hannover since the season 2019/20.
The choreographer notes: People often ask me whether my choreographies have something to do with animals. I have never consciously incorporated this element into my choreographies or given form to them based on it, but surely, the movements of the hands, the swiftness, the rotations are associated with it. When we talk about birds, or more concretely about the nightingale, I would describe their movements as unpredictable. If you hold an agitated bird in your hand, you can feel the trembling, its desire to escape, its weakness, but also how light it is. It is an impressive fragility, combined with a force, that allows even our dream of flight. So, in this case, the components of the piece are: a song, a bird, many birds, the night of my works, the night of theatre, the fragility, the emergence, the escape, the nature that lives and dies, the conception of beauty. Perhaps this piece is in the air! Because this piece is like a breath….
Creative team – CastTHE RITE OF SPRING
CHOREOGRAPHY Daphnis Kokkinos
SETS Daphnis Kokkinos, Aida Vainieri
COSTUMES Dora Stylidou
LIGHTING Christos Tziogas
PIANO Stefanos Nassos, Apostolos Palios
LE CHANT DU ROSSIGNOL
CHOREOGRAPHY -SETS Marco Goecke
COSTUMES Michaela Springer
LIGHTING Udo Haberland
PIANO George Konstantinou
CHOREOGRAPHY Konstantinos Righos
CONDUCTOR Nicolas Vassiliou
SETS-COSTUMES Dionysis Fotopoulos
LIGHTING Christos Tziogas
SOLOISTS Mina Polychronou, Margarita Syngeniotou, Philip Modinos, Petros Magoulas
PIANO George Konstantinou, Stefanos Nassos, Apostolos Palios, Sophia Tamvakopoulou
With the participation of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Choir
With the Principal Dancers, Soloists, Demi Soloists and the Corps de Ballet of the Greek National Opera