Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 14 News List

New worlds, new rites

By Diane Baker


Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) for the Ballet Russes revolutionized both the music and ballet worlds; it also triggered a near riot at its May 1913 Paris premiere.

Stravinky’s dissonant score and Vaslav Nijinsky’s jerky choreography, as well as the pagan ritual subject matter, were not what balletgoers expected.

Sacre changed the way audiences heard and saw ballet and continues to inspire musicians and choreographers.

Austrian composer and multimedia artist Klaus Obermaier said Sacre was one of his favorite pieces when he was studying classical music. But he hadn’t listened to it for almost a decade when the director of the Bruckner Festival in Linz, Austria, asked him to create a new production of Sacre for the 2006 festival.

“I had to think for a month about it, what I want to do, but then I knew I wanted to do it,” Obermaier told a press conference at the National Concert Hall on Wednesday.

He joined forces with Ars Electronica Futurelab and Austrian ballerina Julia Mach to create an interactive, 3D dance production that, with the help of stereoscopic camera systems, motion capture technology and 3D glasses for the audience, takes March and audience members into a whole new world.

Mach dances in a special box stage to the side of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) while her movements and her world are projected onto a screen hanging above the musicians.

However, that is all in the second half of the program. The orchestra, under the baton of American conductor Brad Lubman, will open with Claude Debussy’s Prelude a l’Apres-midi d’un Faune (Afternoon of a Faun) and La Mer.

Lubman, who will be making his NSO debut, said the combination of Debussy and Stravinsky made sense, because Debussy was “the start of modern classical music.”

“We were looking for pieces that would complement Stravinsky. Debussy was himself at the Rite of Spring premiere and reportedly said afterwards ‘that his time had passed.’ There is also a passage in Sacre where you can hear Debussy,” Lubman said.

While Lubman has not worked with Obermaier before, he has done multimedia performances of both his own work and Steve Reich’s The Cave and Three Tales.

He had his first rehearsal with the NSO on Wednesday morning, out in the lobby because Obermaier and his team were inside the concert hall rigging the set.

Modern technology can create new worlds, but it still takes human hands to build the stage.

Le Sacre du Printemps — Interactive 3D Media Dance (3D肢體狂想曲《春之祭》) is tomorrow and Sunday at 7:30pm at the National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳), 21-1, Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City. Tickets are NT$1,600, NT$2,000 and NT$2,500, available at the NTCH box office or online at A package discount is available if you also buy a ticket for Klaus Obermaier’s Apparition at the National Theater from May 15 to May 17.


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