On the 100th anniversary of the Czech Republic, theatregoers have the chance to see four ballet works linked by one name: Jiří Kylián. The unmistakable hand of the greatest Czech choreographer highlights a diverse array of works, but all of them fit together in harmony. And given that his work has developed over 40 years, you can expect a powerful artistic experience. Even non-ballet enthusiasts will be touched by it.
Bridges of Time launches with the beautiful Psalm Symphony, which is being premiered in the Czech Republic only now, even though it received its global premiere in 1978. The musical basis is Stravinsky’s work of the same name, giving the ballet a distinctly spiritual feel; the atmosphere is made even stronger by a backdrop of oriental red carpets, to which the author attributes more than decorative significance. Of the four pieces, the Psalm Symphony creates the finest but also the most serious impression: the costumes are ethereal, and the noble forms of eight pairs of male and female dancers create elegiac moments; they alternate with dejected, resigned movements that mirror the passing of human life. This is the only work in the series to be accompanied by the National Theatre Choir.
After a short pause, Bella Figura follows, looking for beauty in imperfection, ugliness, or a grimace. This time it is musically based on a collage of composers, and overall, it has a rather more fragmentary character, perhaps the most impressive is the final scene, a pair dancing in complete silence, without music. Petite Mort unfolds with two Mozart piano concerts and thematically links – as the name (“little death“ or orgasm) suggests – erotic beauty with the motif of death. Only the fourth piece, Six Dances, based on one of Mozart's compositions, evokes some form of opposite number to the Psalm Symphony. The music, costumes (the men wear white wigs and half-naked and naked bodies), as well as the frolics of the dance depict the absurdity of life, which requires a humorous response. The conclusion of The Bridges of Time will ultimately touch you at an opportune moment of optimistic light-heartedness.
The Orchestra of the National Theatre accompanies the performance throughout, with music directed by Jaroslav Kyzlink.