Ballet by John Neumeier
free after Henrik Ibsen

 

Music
  Alfred Schnittke
Commission Score for the Hamburg State Opera
Choreography
Staging
  John Neumeier
Set
Costumes
  Jürgen Rose

 

World Premiere
The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, January 22, 1989

 

Original Cast    
Peer Gynt
  Ivan Liska
Solveig
  Gigi Hyatt
Aase, his Mother
  Anna Grabka
The Other - Ingrid,
The green One, Anitra
  Chantal Lefèvre
 
Peer's Aspects
   
Anima
  Gigi Hyatt
Childhood
  Patrick Becker
Flying   Jeffrey Kirk
Erotic   Jean Laban
Daredevil   Eric Miot
Aggression   Gamal Gouda
Doubt   Stephen Pier

 

Peer Gynt certainly must rank musically as the most substantial fulllength ballet d'action. commissioned since Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet of 1938. The ailing fifty-year-old composer, of German descent though of Soviet citizenship, is considered by many to be the most important Soviet composer of our time.
Musically Peer Gynt stands as the cross point of two different traditions: the symphonic lineage, stretching from Beethoven through Mahler, and the development of the big action ballet, proceeding from Tchaikovsky through Prokofiev. The landscape of sounds conjured up by the three-hour ballet - freewheeling its way through centuries and styles and culminating in an "unending adagio" apotheosis of almost thirty minutes' duration - is truly overwhelming. Philosophically the ballet aspires to heights that even Béjart has never tried to approach. For it is Peer Everyman Gynt who is at the heart of Neumeier's spiritual odyssey and I was not the only observer who sensed that it may be Peer Neumeier Gynt who is the secret driving force behind this monumental quest.
In Jürgen Rose's evocative and spacious sets, sparsely furnished (he has designed the elaborate costumes, too), we accompany Peer from a prologue in which Mother Aase gives birth to him along with figures representing his seven aspects to his recognition that his true identity lies in Solveig's love for him and their final union among a multitude of lovers in the Elysian Fields.
The elaborate story is clearly rendered as a man's quest for his identity. Even if I myself cannot follow Neumeier in his claim that Peer represents Everyman, I am full of admiration for the astonishing range of choreographic means he mobilizes, from the musicless modern dance sequence of Peer's birth, via the Norwegian folk idiom of the wedding, the too harmless carnival antics in the Kingdom of Trolls, the showbiz routines of Peer's career as a dancer, an the bizarre movements of the lunatics, to the erotically fueled pas de deux with the various manifestations of the Other Woman and the pure and crystal clear lines of his encounters with Solveig.
This is by far the most ambitious undertaking of Neumeier's career, going even beyond his St. Matthew Passion, and I find that on the whole he has magnificently succeeded.
Horst Koegler, Dance Magazine (1989)

Loscavio - Jung
 

Photos

 
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