Trois Grandes Fugues
Performed by Lyon Opera Ballet
Opera House, 11th Mar 2020
Reviewed by: Leah Maclean
Trois Grandes Fugues is made up of three distinct choreographic pieces, all with one thing in common: Beethoven’s Die Große Fuge. Trois Grandes Fugues showcases three choreographers’ interpretations of the beloved composition and is executed with finesse by the Lyon Opera Ballet (France).
The evening opens with Lucinda Child’s carefully refined and more restrained interpretation of the three. There is a mathematical accuracy in the work’s construction as a full cast of barefoot dancers cut excellent figures on stage, gliding into technically precise pas de deux and carrying out tight forms of arabesque. Their lithe bodies ripple with musicality and respond tirelessly to a choreography that so easily adapts to the demands of Die Große Fuge.
Anne Teresa de Keermaeker’s work takes a more contemporary tact as the dancers appear on stage dressed in suits and hurl themselves into rolls across the floor. Naked lightbulbs lower themselves from the ceiling and the stark lighting sets a crisp and wonderfully minimalistic scene. As the dancers clamour, weave, and bound in rhythmic patterns, there is no denying the manic energy in this piece and it sits magnificently against Beethoven’s spiky score.
The third and final piece, choreographed by Maguy Marin, is even more contemporary than the last. Four female dancers take to the stage in an embittered battle for survival which heightens the urgency and variance of the music. Through a series of full-weighted tumbles, violent shivers, and jagged body contortions, the women command attention with nihilistic abandon. The core of Marin’s piece is the individual struggle and the dancers rarely come together or perform in unison, but when they do there is a true sense of oneness and triumph.
It may seem like a gamble to base an entire programme on a single piece of music, but the Lyon Opera Ballet and its three choreographers have approached it with dexterity and a strong sense of vision. This in turn has created a dynamic and overall gratifying evening of dance.