Heinz Spoerli's Peer Gynt, music by Grieg

Zurich Ballet

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Heinz Spoerli — Choreographer

Yen Han — Dancer (Solveig)

Marijn Rademaker — Dancer (Peer Gynt)

Philipp Schepmann — Actor (Peer Gynt)

Ana Carolina Quaresma — Dancer (Åse)

Juliette Brunner — Dancer (Ingrid)

Julie Gardette — Dancer (Anitra)

Christiane Kohl — Soprano (Solveig)

Boguslaw Bidzinski — Tenor (Peer Gynt)

Agnieszka Adamczak — Soprano

Huiling Zhu — Soprano

Angelica Voje — Mezzo-soprano

Zurich Opera Chorus

Zurich Opera House Orchestra

Program notes

Considered one of the greatest European choreographers of our time, Heinz Spoerli has created a Peer Gynt that combines the lyrical with the grotesque, the fantastical universe of gnomes with the reality of the modern world, and philosophy with folklore. Mischievous moments give a touch of lightness to the legend’s tragic theme. For this production, the contemporary composers Brett Dean and Mark-Anthony Turnage adapted Grieg’s score at the choreographer’s direction. The talented young conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen joins forces with soprano Christiane Kohl and dancer Yen Han (who together personify Solveig), and with dancer Marijn Rademaker and actor Philipp Schepmann (who bring Peer Gynt himself to life).

Peer Gynt is a poetic and philosophical drama transformed into a play by the Norwegian author and playwright Henrik Ibsen with music by composer Edvard Grieg. The two famous Peer Gynt orchestral suites bring together selections commissioned by Ibsen from Grieg as incidental music for the original play, including the beloved overture as well as the theme from the Song of Solveig. The main character, Peer Gynt, is an unpredictable and lecherous adventurer, but also a man in his twenties in search of himself. He tries to escape reality to live a pure idealized life, led only by ambition and vanity. Peer Gynt voyages to the country of the trolls, in Africa, and goes from being a rich slave merchant to a poor wretch. Returning to a native Norway, he reunites with the faithful Solveig who consoles him in his last moments: “Your journey is at an end, Peer, you have finally understood the meaning of life, true happiness lies at home and not in the vain pursuit of your crazy dreams in the wide world” she murmurs tenderly.

Photo: © Peter Schnetz

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