St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre

Seven Sonatas
 Pierrot Lunaire
 Concerto DSCH 

ballet by Alexei Ratmansky set to music by Arnold Shönberg



Music by Arnold Shönberg
Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky
Set design and costumes by Tatyana Chernova
Lighting designer: Tony Marquez
Assistant lighting designer: Alexander Naumov

About the production

Pierrot lunaire combines Schoenberg's atonal music, the poetry of symbolist Giraud, Ratmansky's choreography for classical dancers and commedia dell'arte characters in a refined cocktail of moods and senses. In 1912, the composer-rebel-against-the-norm Arnold Schoenberg, in writing his song cycle, "forged" the Romantic pathos of the image of the Moon with the comedic mask of Pierrot. At that time, a rupture of eras and on the threshold of world cataclysms, sadness responded with a feeling of doom and inescapability in notes of a parody on Romantic lyricism, the humour being pinned against sarcasm and the exclamations of the recited singing resounding with hopeless despair. Almost one hundred years later, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky turned to this Expressionist masterpiece. He created his Pierrot lunaire for Diana Vishneva — a ballerina who is equally brilliant in the classical repertoire and in modern dance: "I tried to use this duality of her talent and to demonstrate her innate sense of theatricality. In this ballet there is no traditional plot, neither is there a clearly defined story, but in the text and in the music of Schoenberg's opus there lie the foundations of a psychological drama in which the dithering Pierrot acquires peace only at the end of the narrative." the drama and the escapades of Ratmansky's mischievous heroine and her admirers, interwoven with literary images and the melodics of the vocal passages, are nevertheless not subject to the emotional structure of Schoenberg's cycle, they retain an intonation of their own. the characters in the ballet are but masks, though through the immediacy of their clownish antics, their coquettishness, their rivalry, their quarrels and their foolish trickery one may discern a view into eternity.
Olga Makarova

Premiere: 13 February 2008, as part of the programme Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, California

Running time: 35 minutes

Age category 6+

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