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Premiere of "Messa da Requiem" in Berlin

The premiere of "Messa da Requiem" by Christian Spuck which came as one of the first collaborations between the new Artistic Director of the Staatsballett Berlin and the company's dancers took place on April 14 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The performances will be going on till the end of June, so you can still have a chance to form your own opinion on this choreographic work.

According to Christian Spuck, he first heard Verdi's Mass interpreted by Arturo Toscanini at the age of 17, and this work made a huge impression on him – so strong that he recorded this music on a tape cassette. Then, when he was writing an essay on Franz Kafka’s works, the mass was constantly played in the background. Spuck also says that he noted in an interview for the 200th jubilee of Giuseppe Verdi that the mass is one of the most emotionally rich and personal pieces of music for him. A few days after that, he received an offer from Intendant Andreas Homoki to stage a ballet set to the music of a mass in Zürich in 2017.

Oddly enough, this work by the German choreographer still causes a lot of controversy and discussion, the main topic of which is the question: ‘Was it worth taking on such a great work and making it musical accompaniment for your own choreography?’ I cannot give an unequivocal answer to this question, since this is a matter of taste and individual ethical concepts, but, of course, I cannot but note that Verdi's music performed live by the soloists of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Olesya Golovneva, Annika Schlicht, Andrei Danilov, Lawson Anderson) causes delight in itself, regardless of what is happening on stage. On the one hand, this plays into the benefit of the choreographer, since the audience will not be disappointed after an evening at the theater anyway. On the other hand, behind the music of the great Italian one can not discern the Spuck’s talent.

In my opinion, this ballet deserves its place in the company's repertoire. It contains emotionally rich interactions of singers with dancers, beautiful lyrical duets, and group scenes that unobtrusively illustrate the text of the mass. The ballet is not very innovative, but nevertheless it is also not secondary, it is interesting to watch and it is not boring, despite its length. Considering what mediocre works were staged last season (for example, Dawson), this ballet is certainly an order of magnitude better and advanced.

I would like to mention Ksenia Ovsyanick, Alexei Orlenco, Aurora Dickie, Marina Kanno, Alize Sicre and Gregor Glocke who have truly embellished the ballet with their presence.


Text: Julia Pneva

Photography: Serghei Gherciu


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