‘a fascinating, thrilling, bewilderingly ambiguous evocation of life in Shostakovich’s Russia, life under Stalin’ – The New York Times

Shostakovich Trilogy

Alexei Ratmansky, Het Nationale Ballet

After a successful premiere in New York and San Francisco, Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy is now being performed for the first time in Europe with the Dutch National Ballet. The Russian-American choreographer calls it ‘my most personal work’, in which he explores his complex relationship with his homeland. It is an atmospheric sketch of the life and career of his favourite composer, who lived in the oppressive grip of the Soviet regime. Ratmansky was inspired by works from different periods of Dmitri Shostakovich’s life: the three parts are based on Symphony no. 9,Chamber Symphony in C minor, opus 110a, and Piano Concerto no. 1. They are performed by Het Balletorkest conducted by Matthew Rowe.

Programme

Symphony #9
in E-Flat Major, op. 70

interval

Chamber Symphony for Strings
Op. 110a

interval

Piano Concerto #1
for Piano, Trumpet, and Strings, Op.35

Background information

Every moment feels like a fragment of a masterpiece. Indeed, this was simply one of the company’s most satisfying nights in years, a grand, ambiguous, mysterious and thrilling entertainment. – The San Francisco Chronicle

Fascination, poetic, enigmatic. Alexei Ratmansky’s ‘Shostakovich Trilogy’ 

includes expressions of ebullience, heroism, affection, wit and inspiration. – The New York Times

Shostakovich Trilogy is a groundbreaking, intensely personal tribute from the renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky to Dmitri Shostakovich, one of the greatest composers of Russia. The performance will bring together the work of two revolutionary artists. 

In Shostakovich Trilogy, Alexei Ratmansky explores his complex relationship with his homeland. Ratmansky, who calls this his most personal work, gives an atmospheric sketch of the life and career of his favourite Russian composer, who suffered greatly under the oppression of the Soviet regime. Ratmansky was inspired by works by Dmitri Shostakovich from various periods. He overwhelms the audience with a deluge of solos, small ensembles and group sections, while giving unity to the trilogy through the repetition of certain phrases and the structure of the three sections, which are each danced by four or five soloists in front of a mixed corps de ballet. 

Shostakovich Trilogy, created in 2013 for American Ballet Theatre, has not been shown before in Europe in its entirety. It is a special honour for Dutch National Ballet that the much sought-after Ratmansky is allowing the company to dance the European premiere of his Shostakovich Trilogy.

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Biographies

Alexei Ratmansky trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. He danced with the Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. Ratmansky was artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet from 2004 to 2008, and has been resident choreographer with American Ballet Theatre since January 2009. 

In 2010, he created a new version of the full-length classical ballet Don Quichotte exclusively for Dutch National Ballet. In the 2011-2012 season, Ratmansky created Souvenir d'un lieu cher for Dutch National Ballet, and the company presented his Firebird in 2014, in co-production with American Ballet Theatre.

Over the past 50 years, the Dutch National Ballet has evolved into one of the world's foremost ballet companies, and occupies a leading position in the cultural scene of The Netherlands. With a unique and wide repertoire, a tradition of innovation and 76 dancers and the Junior Company from all over the world, the company is one of the major players in the Dutch cultural landscape – and well beyond. It is by far the largest dance company in The Netherlands. The Dutch National Ballet performs ballet at the very highest level: from classical to contemporary, from narrative to abstract, and from their own repertoire to international works. The company operates between tradition and innovation, combining respect and love for classical ballet knowledge handed down from generation to generation with an impassioned curiosity about new ways of experiencing dance. Ballet in all its manifestations, from historical works to brand-new creations – that is what the Dutch National Ballet stands for. 

Dutch Ballet Orchestra brings together music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, from music education to talent development. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is proud of its close relationship with the Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The process is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is conducted by chief conductor Matthew Rowe, and consists of 45 musicians, supported by highly qualified guest performers when necessary. This is what makes the orchestra flexible, dynamic and adept. Dutch Ballet Orchestra is an orchestra with personality, driven by one mission: to stir people with music.

 

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Credits

choreography
Alexei Ratmansky
music
Dmitri Sjostakovitsj
costumes
Keso Dekker
decor
George Tsypin
light
Jennifer Tipton
musical accompaniment
Het Balletorkest coducted by Matthew Rowe
coproduction
San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre

This performance was made possible with support by