Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pina Bausch: Orpheus & Eurydice

Look, there's not much I can't find a flaw in but this might be one of those rare times when I'm struck dumb. What Pina Bausch did with Gluck's Overture to "Orpheus & Eurydice" is possibly the best thing I've ever seen choreographed to opera and maybe one of the best morbid performance pieces ever...and I like morbid. And opera. Especially chorale pieces and those are always morbid, I mean choruses sing on that fine line between good and evil. Even Handel's "Messiah" could be the theme from heaven or hell, it's a coin toss. Have you ever listened to Mozarts Requiem? Well, of course it is funeral mass so it's intent is somber..but all they are talking about is GOD yet is SOUNDS like they are sending you to HELL.
"Orpheus & Eurydice" lands itself in this very dark corner of brilliant composition: wholly complete, not to be trifled with.

Now comes Pina Bausch.

Bausch's lines are very Martha Graham in this piece and perhaps she meant it that way. They begin Graham but end Bausch - askew and random, almost like afterthoughts. I found Pina Bausch to be unusual in a German art house kinda way but I see such subtlety and understatement here that (a) she is clearly no art fucker and (b)she may have been a musician. Her choreography here seems woven into the opera. I've watched some real crap on YouTube of "performance artists" trying to do some contemporary bullshit to "Salome" and of course "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi is a big draw for the juxtaposition-driven and it's flop after embarrassing flop. Opera is like fire for performance artists - they are inexplicably drawn to it despite the danger. For starters, opera has a built-in "alienator": people don't want to hear it unless it's scratched in here and there, buried within a modern track and served up in disguise. Opera is also a full piece of work on its own: voice, music and story. I don't think you can easily work with opera if you are just some choreographer.

You have to be a Pina Bausch.- Fatova Mingus