The Zeitgeist of this baroque piece about surrendering to illusion, about desire and transience, could hardly have been given a more fitting expression!
Composer Christoph Willibald Gluck
Director-choreographer Giorgio Madia (Italy)
Dramaturge Annegret Gertz (Germany)
Scenographer Cordelia Matthes (Germany)
Costume designer Bruno Schwengl (Germany)
Cast Alexander Germain Drew, Joo Ho Lee, Alain Divoux, Maria Engel, Laura Quin, Yukiko Yanagi, Raminta Rudžionyte-Jordan, Silas Stubbs, Vanemuine ballet troupe
Don Juan is one of the most dazzling figures of European cultural history. His origin is uncertain, but since early baroque times the legend about his art of seduction and its inevitable punishment are at the centre of countless operas, dramas or comedies, offering his frivolous episodes also to the improvising folk and puppet theatre. Sometimes the tragedy is emphasized in the comical, sometimes his boundless desire is read as an ingenious and brilliant intellectualism.
The choreographer and stage director Giorgio Madia approaches Don Juan as a figure of “Theatre”. The cold-blooded interplay between illusion and imagination succumb not only the female “victims” of the seducer, but also his audience. The passion, he celebrates, is actually that of his viewers. His libertinage inspires, especially because of its diabolical traits, when disrespecting moral, social, intellectual or religious rules. Don Juan is a gifted player, a magician of the erotic, representing what appears deceptively, but being the measure of all things when the all world becomes a stage.
With his distinctive artistic signature Giorgio Madia unfolds the motives of the legend as a sensual and intimate baroque theatre in modern shape, and as a ballet at the same time. He was inspired by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787), whose ballet pantomime “Don Juan” (1761) was the starting point. The score is complemented, among others, by excerpts from Gluck’s famous “Orpheus and Eurydice”.
Giorgio Madia’s “Don Juan” is displayed in opulent and refined sets and costumes. Conceived for a grand cast it’s celebrating the provocatively beautiful art of seduction turning it into an irresistible ballet experience. The humorous vitality of the traditional Commedia dell’Arte is gambling with the devotion to veneer, to desire and evanescence – the ‘Zeitgeist’ of Baroque Age couldn’t be expressed a more allusive way.
Annegret Gertz, dramaturge
Pemiere 29.10.2016, the Vanemuine Grand Building.
World premiere on 21.06.2014, Staatsballett Berlin, Komische Oper, Berlin.