RADICAL NEW RITE OF SPRING MARKS CENTENARY OF RIOTOUS PREMIERE
‘In theatres now you can have a glass of champagne and a nice time, it’s all very civilised. That’s totally against the spirit of Stravinsky. Our production is radical, difficult and scary… that was the idea of Stravinsky.’ – Teodor Currentzis, Conductor
One hundred years since its riotous premiere on 29 May 1913, Manchester International Festival presents a new, radical iteration of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, featuring choreography from falling bone powder, in a show without actors or dancers. Led by firebrand conductor Teodor Currentzis, a 100-piece orchestra will become part of the staging, recapturing the fusion of innovation and shock that made the original the most influential musical composition of the 20th century. The work will run at MIF from 14 – 19 July 2013.
The Rite of Spring has been reworked for Manchester by visionary theatre-maker Romeo Castellucci, in collaboration with Teodor Currentzis, Artistic Director of the Perm State Opera and Ballet Theatre, and his orchestra MusicAeterna. This striking reworking will be presented in the industrial space of Manchester’s Mayfield Depot, a former Victorian train station and latterly parcel repository, as part of this year’s Festival. Castellucci’s staging remakes what is conventionally a dance piece into an extraordinary theatre and art installation.
Castellucci explains “The bone powder is the main character on the stage. It looks as if the dancers got dissolved in the air, turning into a cloud of dust, powder… the dance of dust particles – the endless dance of the Universe.”
An electronic sound prelude created by Scott Gibbons will precede The Rite of Spring. Comprised entirely from sounds at the molecular scale, the piece will be created using a new type of microphone which is being developed at the University of Glasgow.
The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring is the crown of a triptych of ballets (alongside Petrushka and The Firebird) by Igor Stravinsky for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Stravinsky described his seminal work as ‘a solemn pagan rite: wise elders, seated in a circle, watching a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring.’
With primitivist choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky and stage designs and costumes by Nikolai Roerich, the premiere of The Rite of Spring on 29 May 1913 caused a riot at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The partisan Parisian audience, including Picasso, Miró, Duchamp, Proust, Cocteau, Satie, Ravel, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Man Ray, and Gertrude Stein, cheered and jeered in equal measures, as the police had to be called in to quell the commotion.
Manchester International Festival’s vital new Rite will be subsequently performed in Perm, Russia, home to MusicAeterna, and also the historic home of Sergei Diaghilev, who commissioned the seminal score and original choreography in 1913.
The Rite of Spring is commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and Perm State Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Staged by: Romeo Castellucci
Performed by: MusicAeterna
Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
Sound Score: Scott Gibbons
Romeo Castellucci was born in 1960 in Cesena, Italy. He graduated with a degree in painting and scenography from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 1981, jointly with Claudia Castellucci and Chiara Guidi, he founded Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. Since then he has produced numerous plays in the role of author, director and creator of scenes, lights, sound and costumes. He is known all over the world as an author of theater based on the totality of the arts, aimed at creating an integral perception; he has also written various essays on the theory of directing plays, which trace the development of his type of theater. His directing is characterized by dramatic lines that are not subject to the primacy of literature, but rather make of theater a plastic, complex art, rich with visions. This has developed a comprehensible language in the same way that music, sculpture, painting and architecture can be. His plays are regularly invited and produced by the most prestigious theaters and festivals all over the world.
Teodor Currentzis and MusicAeterna
Teodor Currentzis is the Artistic Director of the Perm State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Artistic Director of the International Diaghilev Festival, Founder and Artistic Director of the ensemble MusicAeterna and of the MusicAeterna Chamber Choir, both formed in 2004, during his tenure as Music Director of the Novosibirsk State Opera and Orchestra (2004-2010). Officer of the Order of Friendship (by the decree of the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev from
October 29, 2008), four-time winner of the National Theatre Award “Golden Mask”. Born in Greece, Russia has become Teodor’s home since the beginning of the 1990s, when he studied conducting at the state conservatory of St. Petersburg, under the tutelage of Professor Ilya Musin, whose pupils, among others, were renowned conductors Odyseuss Dimitriadis, Valery Gergiev, and Semyon Bychkov.
MusicAeterna, now resident in Perm, has earned its reputation as the foremost Russian ensemble specialised in authentic performance. However, the orchestra does not limit its repertoire to early music, successfully combining pieces from different epochs, including 20th century works and new commissions. Together with Maestro Currentzis, they signed exclusively to Sony Music in 2012 and are recording the three Mozart Da Ponte Operas for release between 2013 and 2015. Previous recordings include Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14, Mozart Requiem and Dido and Aeneas all on the Alpha label and the Shostakovich Piano Concertos with Alexander Melnikov and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra on Harmonia Mundi.
Perm State Opera and Ballet Theatre
The Perm State P.I. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Russia. Throughout its history, which dates back over a century, the Tchaikovsky theatre has managed to remain one of the most important cultural centres of Russia. Artistic events of major significance continue to take place on its stage.
In the theatre, which is often called “The House of Tchaikovsky”, were staged all the operas and ballets of the great composer. Among the artistic treasures of the repertoire are carefully preserved the classical works of Borodin, Moussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. The theatre has brought to life a number of unfairly forgotten operatic masterpieces. Denisov’s Pena Dneii, Massnet’s Cleopatra, Schedrin’s Lolita (based on the Nabokov’s novel), Handel’s Alcina, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Rubinstein’s Christus were staged in the Perm Opera for the first time in Russia.
Perm is called the third (after Moscow and Saint Petersburg) Mecca for ballet-lovers, where along with the ballet troupe functions the famous ballet academy. Since the 1970s Perm ballet has been a magnet for public attention. The concordance of the performing manner of the soloists and the corps-de-ballet is the “specialty” of the company. Perm ballet troupe is probably the only one in Russia that consists entirely of the graduates of the same academy.
About Manchester International Festival
Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially, in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.
MIF leads the way for UK festivals in fundraising from private sponsors, having passed the £2 million mark for MIF13; this in addition to substantial public funding received from Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Arts Council England. Many sponsors are returning from previous festivals, including The Co-operative Group, PZ Cussons, Manchester Airports, NCP Manchester Ltd, DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester – Piccadilly and Bruntwood. The BBC, The Guardian and Manchester Evening News are MIF’s media partners.
Manchester International Festival 2013 will run from Thursday 4 July – Sunday 21 July 2013. Register for updates