The Grosse Fuge was composed by Beethoven in the final years of his life, at which point he was almost entirely deaf. At the time it was described as an inaccessible and eccentric composition. Three prominent female choreography legends interpret the piece with the Lyon Opera Ballet in vastly different performances within Trois Grandes Fuges.
What defines the Lyon Opera Ballet is their inclusive and diverse range of backgrounds, influences and styles. The company is constantly evolving and attracts young talent, as well as experienced professionals. The three distinct pieces were performed side by side at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, as the headline dance act of the Adelaide Festival.
The first performance were a very traditional interpretation of Beethoven’s piece, the dancers donned in shades of grey that shifted in the light. The background is an identical grey, with a latticed pattern with Arabic and Indonesian influence. The American choreographer, Lucinda Childs, is known for her avant-garde work, and this refreshing dance demonstrates ballet in its pure form complete with pas de deux and arabesques.
The following performance, and perhaps the most explosive was the Belgian choreographer, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s interpretation. With six male dancers and two females, all suited complete with leather shoes, a masculine energy emanates from the piece as they leap frenetically, stripping the piece of its traditional aestheticism. The synchronised floor rolls are repetitive, highlighting de Keersmaeker’s inclusion of patterns in her work. Like the music, the choreography becomes increasingly desperate, with the moves mirroring the musical composition.
The third and final Grande Fugue is the most avant-garde interpretation of the trio. Four women barefoot, dressed in a matching shade of blood-red take to the stage, perform in a series of jerky and wild movements. The Lyonnaise choreographer Maguy Marin, envisioned the women inhabiting flames, told through the female form. I detected potential inferences of the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps.
The Lyon Opera Ballet is a world class company, with a unique focus that celebrates the history of ballet, the contemporary world, and the future of the art form. Trois Grandes Fuges was an incredibly diversified showcase of acclaimed female choreographers.
4.5 out of 5 stars.