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Dance / World Premiere


Alain Platel, Steven Prengels
Berlinde De Bruyckere, les ballets C de la B

Chris van der Burght

Alain Platel is a welcome guest at the Ruhrtriennale. After working with the music of Mozart, Monteverdi and Bach in his productions ‘Wolf’, ‘Vsprs’ and ‘Pitié!’, this time he focuses on Gustav Mahler. In his new creation, Alain Platel takes inspiration not only from Mahler’s music, but also from his biography, from the place and time in which the composer lived: Austria and – more broadly speaking – Europe at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. He is particularly interested in the crazy years at the beginning of the last century – Mahler died in 1911 – which ultimately led to the great crises and tragedies of two world wars. Historian Philipp Blom describes this time memorably in his book ‘The Vertigo Years’, which Alain Platel will use as the starting point for the rehearsal work with his dancers. Blom not only discovers parallels between events of those times and the present day, he also reveals the extent to which Mahler’s music and art in general were expressions of the confusions and emotions of the period.

Alain Platel: “Mahler was one of the first composers to ‘sample’ music. In this respect I can see similarities with my own work. In his symphonies and Lieder, Mahler combined both ‘high’ and ‘low’ art.  Different styles and moods collide with each other. I regard his music as an invitation to continue sampling myself. For example, I would like to combine it with African polyphonic traditions, which the Congolese singers Boule Mpanya and Russell Tshiebua will bring with them. I got to know them during my last production ‘Coup Fatal’. The connections between music from different corners of the globe are often startling.”


Created with and performed by - Bérengère Bodin, Boule Mpanya, Dario Rigaglia, David Le Borgne, Elie Tass, Ido Batash, Romain Guion, Russell Tshiebua, Samir M'Kirech

(c) Chris van der Burght

(c) Chris van der Burght

(c) Chris van der Burght