A Suite of Dances
Wiener Staatsoper pays an extensive and versatile homage to two giants of modern dance: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. A Suite of Dances includes four of their signature ballet miniatures, set to the music of timeless composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, Frederic Chopin, Igor Stravinsky, and Philip Glass. On the stage of the Vienna State Opera, the works fascinate and transport the audience to territories familiar and foreign all at once. Explore the bold worlds these forefathers of modern ballet set in motion with their imagination and artistic vision!
The evening begins with ‘Glass Pieces’ (1983), a fast-paced, buzzing commentary on the urgency of urban life. Jerome Robbins masterfully stylised the movements we perform in our hurried daily routines, like walking, running, pacing nervously, or climbing stairs, and turned them into a well-coordinated, visually impressive display. What better musical accompaniment to this mechanical creativity than the intriguing polyrhythms and outlandish orchestration of Philip Glass? Powered by melodies off his ‘Glassworks’ hit album and the opera Akhnaten, ‘Glass Pieces’ is a tour de force.
In ‘Duo Concertant’ (1972), George Balanchine took the expressive music of Igor Stravinsky and wove a stunning, romantic choreography for a pair of dancers. As the piano and violin’s melodies unfold, so does the two dancers’ interaction intensify. Love and longing have seldom been so well personified. ‘A Suite of Dances’, the 1994 one-man-show Jerome Robbins created for Mikhail Baryshnikov, continues the dialogic setup. Instead of a pair of dancers, however, the audience observes the interaction between a solo male dancer and a female cellist. The captivating melodies of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cello suites make the piece all the more special.
‘The Concert’ serves as the evening exhilarating finale. One of Robbins’s earliest hit, it has captured audiences’ hearts since 1956. Set to the fiery piano music of Frederic Chopin, the dance performance focuses on regular concert goers and reveals what thoughts and desires roam in their heads while they listen to the live performance. The fantastical etudes are guaranteed to awe you! Unlike those audience members, your mind will not wander even for a moment during the ‘Suite of Dances’ modern dance performance at the Vienna State Opera.