Ballet by John Neumeier
This ballet is dedicated to THE HAMBURG BALLET

The Fourth Movements, Night (Nacht),
is dedicated to John Cranko and his Company
and was premiered in Stuttgart, July 1974,
with Marcia Haydée, Richard Cragun and
Egon Madsen.


  Gustav Mahler
Lighting Concept
  John Neumeier

No intermission – 2 hours


World Premiere
The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, June 14, 1975


Original Cast
  François Klaus
Zhandra Rodriguez
Persephone Samaropoulo
Salvatore Aiello
Truman Finney für Maximo Barra
Magali Messac
Fred Howald
Marianne Kruuse
Mariana Eglevsky
Tomislav Vukovic

Premiere 14. Juni 1975
Premiere – June 14, 1975


On Tour
1975 Venice, Stuttgart, Frankfurt-Hoechst, Luxemburg 1976 Paris, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem 1977 Gdánsk, Vienna Berlin, Brussels 1978 Helsinki, Leverkusen 1980 Bremerhaven, Ludwigshafen 1981 Dresden, Munich, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires 1983 New York 1984 Toronto, Montreal, Chicago (Ravinia Festival) 1985 New York 1986 Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Budapest 1987 Lausanne, Marseille, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig 1988 Milwaukee, Barcelona 1989 Athens 2003 Baden-Baden 2012 Beijing, Hongkong 2014 Chicago 2015 Venice

In the Repertory
Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris
Royal Swedish Ballet



I. Yesterday

"... And all our yesterday’s have lighted fools
the way to dusty death.”
William Shakespeare, "Macbeth"

The movement starts as nature without life. Stone? Trees? Vibrations from the earth as elements of aggression. Man cannot free himself from the earth. He is exposed to the vibrations that create war and destruction. The first of these are seductive fragments in march rhythm; then episodes of more and more rousing march rhythms lead to explosions. But there are animal sounds as well. The leading figure is influenced by both elements.

II. Summer

Flowers: they are beautiful for their own sake. They give inspiration through their beauty but they do not take part in our sorrow. They just stand there. And they are not related to anything.

III. Autumn

It is the season for longing, a longing for human warmth, for a relationship ... but it is also a season for parting, the confrontation with Death as a concept.

IV. Night

This movement is dedicated to John Cranko and his company

V. Angel

The purity of children speaks to me in this  movement. I wanted to start with the idea of the angel as transparent power and pure love combined with the picture of a child. The movement serves as an overture to the lat movement of the symphony.

VI. What Love Tells Me

The thought of, and longing for, perfect love makes our lives tremendously valuable. But sometimes you cannot make it come true. In this movement the meetings are very fragmentary and sad, and the persons involved are constantly breaking up. In a "Pas de deux", the leading figure experiences a very intense relationship through his meeting with "The Angel" from the fifth movement. But even this meeting is transient. The godlike principle of love is impossible to understand in its perfection. But you can feel it, in another person, for a while.

The theme of my ballet is the music of Gustav Mahler. I have translated the feelings experienced and images suggested while hearing his third symphony into movement, into pure dance situations, and into human relationships. The title of the sixth movement, "What Love Tells Me", is Gustav Mahler's - the other movements I've named according to the resulting choreography.

John Neumeier



"Mahler's Third Symphony is an incredible achievement, one of those masterpieces that permits a man's entire career to be reevaluated. ... This is a startling, handsomely nonconformist ballet on sempiternal architectural lines that ineffably presents Neumeier's visiting card as one of the major classic choreographers of our century. ... This ballet is a work of genius."
Clive Barnes, New York Post




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