Pina Bausch

Pina Bausch's "...como el musguito..."

Como-el-musguito* Notes * 
Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal returned to Brooklyn Academy of Music to present Bausch's last work "...como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si..." in a run of eight performances. I caught the last one on Saturday night. The piece is based on the company's experiences in Santiago, Chile and involves Bausch's characteristic delightful, yet disturbing style of juxtaposing images, movement, and text. The stage was rather sparse, with a shape made in black tape across the floor. Occasionally a chair was brought in, or ropes, or branches. There was much about love and time. The sixteen dancers (pictured above) were in evening dress, including many bright gowns and dark suits.

Women did backbends and dropped stones. Potatoes were thrown, as were corks. Water was poured, people were slapped, Clémentine Deluy carried a tree in a backpack. Fernando Suels Mendoza got a lot of laughs as he greeted each of the female dancers as they walked diagonally across the stage. Tsai-Chin Yu fearlessly struggled to break free of a rope tied around her waist. Ditta Miranda Jasjfi was spun in a most impressive manner. In short, the two hours and forty minutes was packed with beautiful, elusive, and often staggering imagery.

* Tattling *
There was some whispering and talking from the audience. At two moments someone's iPhone had Siri activated, and she responded once with "I did not catch that" to the sounds of the performers.

Pina Bausch's Orpheus und Eurydike

Pina-bausch-orpheus-eurydice* Notes *
The Paris Opera Ballet performed Pina Bausch's arresting choreography of Orpheus und Eurydike as part the Lincoln Center Festival yesterday evening. The set, designed by Rolf Borzik, is sober, offset by his simple, often translucent costumes. The dancing was gorgeous. The movements were fluid, and had a lovely natural quality to them. One never felt that the dancers were simply following directions, all the motions seemed to flow out of their bodies with elegance.

The orchestra sounded together under conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. The oboe was especially lovely. The singers also did well. The chorus had many strong moments. Zoe Nicolaidou was a perfectly sprightly Amore. Yun Jung Choi (Eurydike) sounded pretty enough, and only had a few shrill moments. In the title role, Maria Riccarda Wessling had a nice clarity in her higher range, and some warmth. She had some frogginess a few of her lower notes.

* Tattling * 
There was whispering from the woman in B 1 at the beginning of scenes, even when the dancers were performing. Said person was concerned about seeing the stage, and asked that the person in A 1 not lean into the aisle as he was blocking her view.

Various News Items

Fabio Luisi has been appointed the next general music director of Opernhaus Zürich, and starts in 2012. Lyndon Terracini is the next artistic director of Opera Australia, starting October 2009.

In sadder news, the choreographer Philippine "Pina" Bausch died this morning.

Luisi Press Release | Terracini Press Release [PDF] | Tanztheater Wuppertal

Pina Bausch at Cal Performances

Tenchi_2* Notes * 
Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal returned to Cal Performances for the first time in 8 years, with a three day run of the piece Ten Chi. The work has quite a lot more dancing in it than Nelken, the only other work of Bausch's I know. It was a couple of strange Japanese/German dream-like hours. The set was like a dark sea, with a few whale parts peeking through the surface. Toward the end of the first part petals or snow start falling, and it continued for the entire show. The seventeen performers on stage included many fine dancers, and some rather funny as actors as well. The assisted gliding and swimming was particularly beautiful. In evening dress the performers dressed and undressed each other, took photographs, bowed, counted audience members' fingers, threatened to drop ice, walked on glass, and encouraged snoring. Aida Vainieri got one of the longest ovations for her hilarious sound effects as she attacked a pillow and this was amplified by the microphone held in her cleavage. Mechthild Großmann was slightly terrifying when she made her many declarations, though the most alarming part was when she started listing off Japanese words like geisha, bonzai, Mt. Fuji, and sushi. She would draw out the words and play with the sounds, and for some reason it was disturbing.

* Tattling *
The audience was quiet except for a bit of whispering. They submitted to snoring and finger-counting when asked. They seemed to like the performance a great deal, and it occurred to me what the difference between Pina Bausch's work and that of those responsible for Regieoper. With Bausch, one knows what one is getting, avant garde contemporary dance. It is not as if she has taken The Nutcracker and put whales and swimming into it. Then again, she has done
Iphigenie auf Tauris as a dance opera, I can only imagine how absurd it might be.