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In all his ballets, the Romanian-born choreographer Edward Clug crafts unusually athletic but poetic works, dances that reveal and play upon the foibles and ironies of the human condition.
And if this new Faust is an ambitious undertaking on his part, it is because as a truly narrative ballet, dance-theatre, if you will, its reputation relies on much more than movement alone.
Over the centuries, the legend of the soul-searching scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for the elixir of youth has been reinterpreted many times in literature and theatre, but rarely in dance. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust confronts an enduring and knotty choice: earthly bliss for the price of your soul. Part 1 charts how Faust succumbs to Mephisto’s temptations and surrenders his soul to find momentary pleasures and ultimate despair.
From this rich material Edward Clug has created a vibrant theatrical event. It’s a dark and tragic tale spiced with very black comedy and told in a series of inspired theatrical moments.
The Slovenian, Milko Lazar, who has collaborated with Clug on many projects, provides a score of richly textured orchestral music, birdsong, popular song and a wealth of atmospheric sounds. Scenographer, Marko Japeli, also Clug’s long-time creative partner, orders the complexity of the staging that seems as choreographed as the movements. In the predominantly black box set, screen shifts and video displays take us from interiors to gardens, from heaven to hell.
A fast-paced production covers a great deal of narrative. The small detail is a constant delight while strong dramaturgy and effective structure hold the storyline. The dance ensemble, augmented by the Junior Company, provides a rewarding evening of dance drama.
A fast-paced production, constantly impressing with tiny details, while strong dramaturgy and effective, signature ‘Clugian’ structure drive the anthological storyline.
Choreographer: Edward Clug
Composer: Milko Lazar
Set design: Marko Japelj
Costume design: Leo Kulaš
Co-production: SNG Maribor and Cankarjev dom
In cooperation with: Opernhaus Zürich