Every month, Stingray Brava presents “Brava Favorites”. Stingray Brava’s music programmers recommend their favorite concert or CD. Have you always wanted to know more about classical music? Are you interested in the newest classical music CDs? Ready to hear the story behind the scenes? “Brava Favorites” is your source for these and more interesting reads.
In 2012, legendary Belgian director and choreographer Alain Platel created the beautiful, genre-bending masterpiece C(h)oeurs. The production premiered on March 12, 2012 at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain, and was performed at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam.
The choreography is based on music composed by Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. Platel examines the connection between the progressive nationalism of 19th-century composers and 21st isolationist tendencies. The dancing explores the tension between the group and the individual, and reflects on the dynamics of collective movements.
The opening scene begins with the emotional “Dies Irae” from Verdi’s “Requiem”. The timpani starts with a few heavy beats. The orchestra follows with a stormy movement and the 80 singers start to sing about the day of judgement. The stage shows quite the opposite in comparison to the music: one single lifeless dancer performers, his head and arms hidden from view. It’s an intriguing start to the piece that definitely arouses curiosity and the desire to see more.
During the performance, the number of dancers grows and the choir joins them on stage. The choir, normally formally dressed, appears in everyday clothes such as jeans and t-shirts. What struck me was the many choreographies performed without music. All the performers on stage move to the beat of their breathing and it looks like they breath in unison. Having the choir on stage with the dancers results in a very large group of people with a bleeding heart (coeur) that moves as one.
After the choir (choeurs), what struck me most is the orchestra under the baton of Marc Piolett. The orchestra performs Wagner and Verdi’s masterpieces like they are giving a concert without all the singers and dancers on stage. Verdi’s impressive “Dies Irae” and famous piece for orchestra and choir “Va pensiero” Nabucco are performed with brio.
All the music by Wagner was originally composed for the operas Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The perfect combination of magnificent music, breath-taking choreography, and a beautiful story make C(h)oeurs an unclassifiable production you don’t want to miss.
Curious about C(h)oeurs? Watch Stingray Brava on September 14 and see it with your own eyes. For more information about Stingray Brava and this production visit www.stingraybrava.com