Duse. Choreographic Fantasies inspired by Eleonora Duse. A ballet by John Neumeier.
John Neumeier’s creation “Duse” about the legendary Italian actress Eleonora Duse to music by Benjamin Britten and Arvo Pärt will celebrate its world premiere with The Hamburg Ballet on 6th December in the Hamburg State Opera – presenting ballet star Alessandra Ferri in the title role.
At the turn of the 20th century the Italian actress Eleonora Duse was one of the most influential artists in the world. She was driven by the desire to elevate the quality of theatre and change the superficial style of acting. Personally committed to making known modern authors such as Henrik Ibsen and Gabriele D’Annunzio, Duse staged their works in exemplary productions. Famous for her revolutionary “natural” style of acting, “La Duse” was celebrated by audiences and critics throughout the world.
John Neumeier takes incidents from the life and myth of this great artist who influenced such contrasting personalities as Rainer Maria Rilke, Isadora Duncan, Constantin Stanislavsky und Marilyn Monroe, as inspirations for his new creation. Fascinated by the legendary professional charisma of Duse, her relentless quest for an ideal theatre and a number of personal relationships, he develops “choreographic fantasies” that reflect his subjective understanding of her biography. Discarding a documentary approach, John Neumeier invents situations and images, to suggest in choreographic episodes the essence of this unique personality. The complex and dramatically challenging title role is embodied by Alessandra Ferri, who – like Duse – has become an icon of her era.
Cast of the premiere A and B:
The internationally renowned Italian star ballerina Alessandra Ferri takes over the title role of Eleonora Duse. During her life, «La Duse» was surrounded by many important male personalities, some of which have inspired John Neumeier to figures for his ballet: Alexandr Trusch, Principal of the Hamburg Ballet, will take over the role of «A Soldier» (Luciano Nicastro). «His Friend» (Annunzio Cervi) is embodied by Jacopo Bellussi. The role of «The Mentor» (Arrigo Boito) will be danced by Principal Carsten Jung, «The Seducer» (Gabriele d’Annunzio) is incorporated by Karen Azatyan, soloist of the company.
And also important female figures had an influence on Eleonora Duse’s life and work. Some of them inspired John Neumeier for his stage characters «The Girlfriend» (Isadora Duncan), danced by Principal dancer Anna Laudere and «The Rival» (Sarah Bernhardt), danced by Silvia Azzoni, Principal of the company as well. The role of Eleonora Duse’s «Servant» (Désirée of Wertheimstein) is represented by Principal dancer Hélène Bouchet. Also «Her Audience» can not be missing – represented in Neumeier’s ballet by ensemble member Marc Jubete, the leader of the audience.
(All casting is subject to change!)
Duse. Choreographic fantasies about Eleonora Duse. Ballet by John Neumeier
Music by Benjamin Britten and Arvo Pärt
Choreography, Sets, Lighting Concept and Costumes: John Neumeier
Conductor: Simon Hewett (December 11; January 15 e 16: Nathan Brock)
Soloists and ensemble of The Hamburg Ballet | with Alessandra Ferri as guest
Supported by Else Schnabel and the Foundation for the Promotion of the Hamburg State Opera
World Premiere: December 6, 6.00 p.m.
Premiere B: December 9, 7.30 p.m.
Performances: December 11 and 12, 7.30 p.m., January 9, 15, 16 and 28, 7.30 p.m. and January 31, 6.00 p.m. as well as July 15, 7.30 p.m.
The Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier