“Ballets are the dreams of poets taken seriously.” – Théophile Gautier
We are fortunate to see the year 2018 start with a visit from the prestigious Eifman Ballet. In February, the famous Russian troupe, which regularly draws its inspiration from classic literature, will be presenting a work of great depth, Requiem, whose influences come from both poetry and classical music. With the presentation of Requiem, Les Grands Ballets is continuing its relationship with the St. Petersburg ballet that began in 2009 with Tchaikovsky PRO et CONTRA and continued with Anna Karenina in 2012.
Boris Eifman’s work explores two different Requiems: the first part takes its cues from Russian poet Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem, an elegy that tells the story of the victims of the Stalinist repression and is set to Shotakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, while the second part starts with Mozart’s Requiem — his unfinished masterpiece — and features a vocal solo, a choir and Les Grands Ballets Orchestra.
While Boris Eifman’s ballet theatre has earned a reputation as being colourful and spectacular, the choreographer himself says that it expresses first and foremost “the blazing fire of human passions.” I am certain that Montreal audiences will be able to appreciate his powerful and troubling Requiem and a choreography that brings us back to the essentials, where dance, music and literature meet and become one and the same.