The Berlin choreographer Sasha Waltz, one of the most exciting choreographers working today (and since Pina Bausch’s death a contender for the title of greatest living choreographer) celebrates the 20th anniversary of her troupe “Sasha Waltz & Guests” this year. Not surprisingly, she has secured a number of important commissions to celebrate the milestone, including tonight’s premiere of “Sacré,” a ballet triple bill, at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater. It is very arguably the dance event of the season in Berlin. Not surprisingly, it’s been sold-out for ages. For some reason, the production is categorized under the OPERA tab on the Staatsoper website’s calendar, even though the three works that make up the program – Le Sacre du printemps, L’Après-midi d’un faune and the love scene from Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette are 100% ballet. I see that of the three, only the Debussy is a world-premiere (Sacre itself was previously seen in May at the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg and La Monnnaie in Brussels last month) . It is indeed unusual for an opera house with a dedicated ballet corps (shared by all the Berlin houses) to go rouge and commission a work like this from an outside company and integrate it into its own season (using its house orchestra and chief conductor – the tireless Barenboim, whose been impressively juggling Rimsky-Korsakov, Mozart and Berg recently), but then again Sasha Waltz has successfully managed to shift between genres and a variety of locations (including, perhaps most arrestingly, museums), so it’s little wonder that the Staatsoper has lavished such attention on her. In the spring, she’ll be back to choreograph and direct the company’s new production of Tannhäuser.
From the Staatsoper’s website:
The world première of Igor Stravinsky’s »Le sacre du printemps« turned into the most notorious stage scandal of the 20th century. One hundred years later, Sasha Waltz choreographed the workwhich launched a new period in music. In addition the »Scène d’Amour« from »Roméo et Juliette« by Hector Berlioz is shown and Sasha Waltz’s new choreography »L’Apres-midi d’un faune« to the music by Claude Debussy will have its world première. The conductor is Daniel Barenboim.