St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre

Seven Sonatas
 Pierrot Lunaire
 Concerto DSCH 

ballet by Alexei Ratmansky set to music by Domenico Scarlatti



Music by Domenico Scarlatti
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Lighting Designer: Brad Fields
Costume Designer: Holly Hynes

About the production

In this chamber ballet there are no tricks or demonstrations of the miracles of technique. There are none of the prescribed intrigues of a plot, and there are no sets to define the place and time of action. Just six dancers, a pianist at the instrument on the stage and the crystalline lacework of the dance, woven from nuances – both emotional and plastique. The shading of moods is traced by watercolour-melting poses and steps that sensitively respond to each note of Scarlatti's music. Although the composer referred to his sonatas as exercises to develop technique to play the harpsichord and slyly advised that no depth was to be found in them, it was in these works that the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky heard the intonations of emotional speech – youthfully carefree and ironical, anxious and dramatic, but without a maelstrom of passions. Transposing these into the language of ballet, Ratmansky has called on the dancers to retain the ceremonial quality of aristocratic dialogue. As in the 18th century, Court etiquette barely allowed voices to be raised in conversation, and Scarlatti himself was employed by a royal Court, so in the choreography the psychical anxieties are carefully screened in the refinement of the pas. And yet through this etiquette-laced restraint and mathematical clarity of composition, labyrinths of feelings are inevitably brought to light. Olga Makarova

Premiere: October 2, 2009, ABT, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, New York
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 24 September 2020

Running time: 30 minutes

Age category 6+

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