Tschaikowsky
Ballet in two acts by Boris Eifman
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Sandra Hastenteufel | Foto: Sandra Hastenteufel
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Sandra Hastenteufel | Foto: Sandra Hastenteufel
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Sandra Hastenteufel | Foto: Sandra Hastenteufel
Boris Eifman is considered one of the most high profile and interesting contemporary Russian choreographers. He is famous for his biographical and lengthy narrative ballets, which he usually presents with his own company, the Eifman Ballet St. Petersburg, on extended guest performance trips. He has long since taken the American theatre public by storm, and Boris Eifman rarely lets one of his choreographies out of his grasp.
His ballets are distinguished by their psychological persona studies, which are embedded in dramatic and emotionally charged scenes. In "Tschaikowsky", the multi-faceted personality of the great composer provides the focus. Peter I. Tchaikovsky decided to give up his secure, bourgeois position in order to dedicate himself entirely to the creation of the music by which he was so passionately driven. However, a feeling of deeply felt internal unrest and homelessness haunted him for the rest of his life. His emotional strife finds expression in his compositions; reason enough for Boris Eifman to trace the emotional world of the great Russian composer in choreography.
Boris Eifman is dedicated to a passionate "ballet theatre", in which the dramatic will to expression forms the basis for the dancing. Eifman thereby remains committed to classical dance, but with his choreographies he pursues the goal of "not only presenting people with a feast for the eyes, but much more than this, addressing their impressions and feelings in order to initiate a shared and living ritual."
Storyline
Act I
The great composer is dying. In his fading consciousness images that have tormented him his entire life rise up: the Fairy Carabosse rampages, the mad wife pursues him, and the exhausting dialogue with his Alter Ego continues.
There is no peace for the tormented soul! Close friends and relatives try to alleviate the pain of the final farewell. But there is no stopping the wave of pictures from the past...

The young composer is lonely in the cold miasma of St. Petersburg rain. The kindness and care of Baroness von Meck helps only for brief moments. It is torment to live in the world of creative dreams. A return to reality brings an introduction to Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova. She is flattered by Tchaikovsky’s attentions. But this momentary attraction threatens a spiritual breakdown for him. He wants to be like all the men who surround Milyukova. But no one can deceive himself. The attempt turns into violence.
Birds of black houghts torment him, bringing inner emptiness. His salvation is in art, in his creations – the White Swans. They instil hope of peace and concord in Tchaikovsky’s soul. But escape from the real world, changing what is deeply hidden and private, is not possible even for a musical genius. Milyukova ruthlessly invades the world of sounds. But more terrible is the one who is always with him – his fate, his second “ego”, multi-faced, who cruelly exposes his inner torment. He is Rothbart, Drosselmeyer, the good and evil, the exhausted and happy part of the composer’s soul.
The Black Birds sweep away the White Swans. He imagines rats in familiar female faces. Everything is trampled. Harmony is an illusion. The composer defends his most precious creation, the Prince. Tchaikovsky does not fear the rampaging black passions, his pain is elsewhere: Beauty is haughty and ungrateful. She besmirches his naked soul. The Prince, created by reason and passion, has his own life, his own path. The composer is left with pain and a pitiless conversation with himself. He is unable to lift his hands and lead music away. He is on the verge of madness. Von Meck’s letters save him, returning him to creativity. He is needed and understood, his talent is revered. Precious moments of recognition!
How brief and spectral are the minutes of harmony with oneself and the people around one. Milyukova’s increasing allure makes it harder to flee from inner temptation, the attraction of the forbidden, scorned by all.
The attempt to be like everyone else turns into torture where death is a release.
But he does not have the strength to take that step. Either von Meck’s kind hand or his future creations lead him away from the abyss of death, plunging him perhaps into something worse.
The wedding fate ensnares him, ties the body, depersonalizes the soul. Will music ever sound again?


Act II
Music sounds once more. The waltz of revelations: meeting, attraction, passion. Couples whirl. Each has its own life, its own fate. Nadezhda von Meck languishes in loneliness.
In his thoughts Tchaikovsky is where he can savour beauty. In real life, he is an outcast. The flesh is in conflict with prevailing morality. But even fear of exposure does not keep him from striving for youth and beauty. Baring your soul and frankly admitting your passion does not mean finding understanding. The ideal youth, like the prince, abandons his creator. The girl’s sensuality is flattering and does not threaten disillusionment. They have their own path. They are deaf to the suffering of the emptied and humiliated Tchaikovsky. His lot is loneliness. Von Meck’s moral and material support helps him live. But how humiliating to depend on the whims of wealth. What a price he pays for those alms. Madness envelops the pathetic Milyukova, slave to her vile passions. Away from the abyss from which there is no return. He does not have the right to his own life, even if it leads to destruction.
The mysterious attraction of the world of cards. Cards enrich and impoverish, bring minutes of joy and suffering. The world narrows to the size of a card table. Passion is one-dimensional: winning is all. A moment of oblivion. But the wheel of fortune spins. And the winner is always the Queen of Spades. The letter dialogues have ended: The letters of revelation to von Meck. The soul is torn into pieces that scatter like a deck of cards.

Salvation is Death!
A step into immortality!
for the last time this season
Tuesday, 26.01.2010
19.30 h
16 - 66 €

Further Events:
05 | 10 | 18 | 26 January 2010


Choreography and Staging: Boris Eifman
Music: Peter I. Tschaikowsky
Sets and Costumes: Viacheslav Okunev
Staatskapelle Berlin
Solisten und Corps de ballet des Staatsballetts Berlin
Conductor: Vello Pähn

Tchaikovsky: Rainer Krenstetter
Alter Ego: Ibrahim Önal
Tchaikovsky's wife: Polina Semionova
Nadeshda von Meck: Viara Natcheva

2:00 h | 1 intermission