Highly acclaimed start of the Ballet Festival Week in Munich – Munich

The big children’s eyes, which turn into raging whirlpools, belong to Saura. The girl was six years old when her parents, the choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, had her filmed for their work “Silent Scene” in 2005. It was an “unstable time” for their relationship and for their daughter, the two reveal in the program for the double ballet evening, which was the only premiere that opened the ballet festival week at the State Opera on Friday. And this generously open artist couple tells a lot more. That they have a soft spot for the letter “S” in the titles of their dance pieces. That the Bavarian State Ballet was the first company after the Nederlands Dans Theater to rehearse “Silent Screen” and “Schmetterling” (from 2010). That the two pieces have never been shown together before. And that choreography is like writing poetry. You don’t necessarily need to know any of this. As with Saura’s bright children’s eyes, you can just sit there, marvel and intuitively understand, without any package insert.

Inspired by the great works of the silent film era: Severin Brunnhuber and Eline Larrory in “Silent Screen”.

(Photo: Wilfried Hösl)

Bavarian State Ballet: The only splash of color in a fascinating monochrome stage design: the magnificent Margarita Fernandes in a red coat.

The only dash of color in a fascinating monochrome set design: the magnificent Margarita Fernandes in a red coat.

(Photo: Nicholas MacKay)

Gestures, signs, they are the mother tongue of mankind. Silent film, pantomime and dance live in this polyglot dreamland of silence. In “Silent Screen,” Sol León and Paul Lightfoot pull it all together in a subtle and eerily plausible way. A triptych of large video screens transforms the dark stage into a landscape; a barren seashore, a lifeless winter forest, an empty room.

A couple (Eline Larrory and Severin Brunnhuber) circle each other to the elegiac, sad music by Philip Glass, which already accompanied Virginia Woolf’s final journey into the river in the film “The Hours”. Everyone trapped in a cage of loneliness, with their mouths and eyes wide open. The movements of the dancers’ faces are just as expressive and legible as those of their arms and legs. There is anger and desperation that they have lost love. Their child, Saura, doubled on screen and on stage by the wonderful Margarita Fernandes, will appear again at the end, in a red coat, the only color in this evening, which is all in elegant black and white film aesthetics.

Growth and decay, the elusive nature of love – what else could the piece “Butterfly” be about? But what the choreographers create here with the State Ballet is simply a miracle. Laurretta Summerscales and Robin Strona provide the framework with an enchantingly virtuosic farewell dance. The way the son struggles to let go of the dying mother is sad and cheerful at the same time. Everything can be ironically broken here. Max Richter’s sound spheres alternate with the indie rock band’s super laid-back “69 Love Songs”. The Magnetic Fields, to which you, on other occasions, would like to just rock to yourself with a beer bottle in your hand. Who can defy gravity as acrobatically as this unisex-clad State Ballet troupe does. All in black coats, dresses and socks, they overwhelm the audience with dance art and slapstick in solos, duets, trios or as a chorus line, which jumps up and cheers for a long time.

Bavarian State Ballet: More than just acrobatic clowns: The ensemble of the Bavarian State Ballet, here Elvina Ibraimova, Rafael Vedra and Shale Wagman, shows in the choreography "butterfly" an overwhelming achievement.

More than just acrobatic clowns: the ensemble of the Bavarian State Ballet, here Elvina Ibraimova, Rafael Vedra and Shale Wagman, shows an overwhelming performance in the choreography “Butterfly”.

(Photo: Carlos Quezada)

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