Tuesday 11 March 2014 -
The Rite of Spring, ballet
This event has now finished
Pagan modernity of the 20th century.
To a libretto by Nicolas Roerich, a specialist in the Slavic world and a man deeply passionate about shamanism, Igor Stravinsky conceived the complex rythms of the Rite of Spring, for Serge Diaghilev's Russian ballet.
First performed on 29 May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées à Paris, the ballet sets the scene with wise elders, seated in a circle, observing the dance before death of the girl whom they are offering as a sacrifice to the god of Spring in order to gain his benevolence: this is how Stravinsky saw "The Rite of Spring", "a picture of a sacred pagan ritual". Inspired by ancient Russian ceremonies, this work was one of the most sensational scandals in the history of music and remains one of musical modernism's major founding works. Through its powerful rhythms, this ballet paints a picture, unique, wild and naive, of the worship of gods and nature; the ultimate sacrificial offering.
On this canvas, Nijinski was to invent a revolutionary gestural language. Tormented, the dancers trampled the ground convulsively, hopping from one foot to the other.
Built around the circle, this ritual, played in folk-inspired costumes, is imbued with a modernity which yet retains its archaic roots.
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