Opera House, Wellington

11/03/2020 - 12/03/2020

New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2020

Production Details

One massive piece of music. Three choreographers’ remarkable interpretations.

In “one of the most exhilarating, uncompromising evenings of dance” (The Guardian), three of the world’s most esteemed choreographers, Lucinda Childs (US), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker (Belgium) and Maguy Marin (France), present their own visions of Beethoven’s passionate masterpiece Die Große Fuge.

Performed by the world-renowned Lyon Opera Ballet, a company known for taking on a vast range of ambitious work, this “monumental, stark and uncompromising” (New York Times) triple bill takes you deep inside Beethoven’s score, in ways so different and gripping it reveals how strongly music can move you.

Choreographed by
Lucinda Childs, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Maguy Marin

Wednesday 11 March 7:30pm Selling Fast

Thursday 12 March 1:30pm

Thursday 12 March 7:30pm Selling Fast

$29 – $149 

Premium $149
Premium Matinee $119
A-Reserve Adult $109
B-Reserve Adult $99
A-Reserve Matinee Adult $99
C-Reserve $79
B-Reserve Matinee Adult $79
C-Reserve Matinee $69
A-Reserve Matinee Child $39
A-Reserve Child $39
B-Reserve Child $29
B-Reserve Matinee Child $29
Child price 15 years and under.


Dance , Contemporary dance , ,

1hr 30mins

Captivating and refreshing

Review by Lyne Pringle 21st Mar 2020

Lyon Opera Ballet, under the directorship of Julie Guibert, brings a proposition to Wellington Festival audiences: three ground breaking female choreographers responding to the same piece of music – Beethoven’s seminal Die Grosse Fuge which was the finale to his Quartet n° 13 in B-flat major.

This hectic yet spacious, often dissonant work was said to plant the seeds for the modernists like Stravinsky who followed.

Historically each of these choreographers have, in their own unique way, forged new concepts of dance. [More]


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Precision and clarity, patterns and pathways

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 12th Mar 2020

The Lyon Opera Ballet comes to the Festival in an exciting and action-packed third and final week. Memories of the company’s versions of Romeo and Juliet and Coppelia abound – this is one of the most important companies in the world and has a wonderful reputation. How exciting that they are here!           

Les Trois Fugues has works by three choreographers responding to the same music. Die Grosse Fugue is the Finale of Beethoven’s Quartet n13 in B-flat major, written between 1824 and 1825.                                                    

The curtain rises on an austere, grey, filigree-patterned projection that eerily takes on a 3-dimensional reality as the twelve dancers position themselves in the space. Long extended limbs, rigid spines, sparse steps with repetition and interwoven phrases, the precision and clarity that classical vocabulary demands and patterns and pathways that seem inextricably connected, note by note, to the music. This is Grande Fugue choreographed in 2016 for the Lyon Opera Ballet by American Lucinda Childs. It is a strong opening work and the dancers are powerful and unquestioning as they deliver the chassees, coupes, chainees, and arabesques that fully stretch our sight-lines to infinity.                         

There is a strange interval in which no one leaves their seats and a full house chatters loudly…..           

The curtain rises on a pared back black box with the lighting rig exposed and house lights still up. No grey calm of classical control here as the fireball energies of eight black- suited tuxedo-dressed dancers line up on opposing sides and a cacophony of flying and falling, exploding and exhaling, rolling, reaching and releasing disturbs the formality. This is Die Grosse Fugue, Anne Theresa de Keersmaeker’s choreography and relationships burst into the space. We share the exhaustion and exhilaration and struggle with them as liaisons ignite and energy is expelled briefly in rest – to re-emerge somewhere else with someone else. The vocabulary uses the floor and weighted movement  – it is as if the dance gathers propulsion from the earth, extolling the cast to dance again. Relentless and riveting.  Originally made on her own Rosas Company, this work was taken into the Lyon Opera Ballet repertoire in 2006.

After  another odd interval in dimmed light, the third work. In the same year as the work just seen, Grosse Fugue by Maguy Marin went into the Lyon company repertoire. Originally developed for her own company in 2001, four women in red conjure up freedom and liberation. With many leaps, quirky isolations and rhythms these four women give us fun, hope and joy. We are sent out of the theatre back to a lovely balmy evening inspired by the excellence of these dancers – a great evening of important dance history that has stood the test of time. The music connects us to the works – would that it had been live musicians!; the dance demands us to watch and witness but is undemanding emotionally. This may be a safe piece of Festival programming but it is thoroughly appreciated by the audience and leaves us wanting more – only four days to go and so much still to see.


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