Sergei Polunin’s Sacré Belgrade National Theatre

National Theater Belgrade – Apartment Beograd

While exploring Belgrade last week I discovered the magnificent National Theatre. Founded in 1868 the theater has a museum and two stages for ballet, opera, drama, and comedy performances. The March repertoire is amazing with something different appearing every day of the week! I joined the ticket line and booked two ballets and an opera. The total cost for all three performances was an unbelievable $30.

Sergei Polunin – The Independent

I’d heard of Sergei Polunin but didn’t know much about his career. His modern dance performance looked interesting. Luckily, I got the last available seat in the house – third-floor balcony! The elegant main stage has limited seating forcing many to watch while standing along the sidelines.

Sergei Polunin – Art2Arts

Sergei Polunin

Sergei Polunin is a 29-year-old Ukrainian ballet dancer who has danced since the age of 4. He attended London’s Royal Ballet School and holds citizenship in Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia. After resigning his position as principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet Polunin began freelancing.

Interior National Theater Belgrade – Itinari

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At 19, Sergei Polunin became the “British Royal Ballet’s youngest principal male dancer”. A few years later he resigned from the company with the words ‘the artist in me was dying’.

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Sacré Finale – Kolarov, Oishi, Polunin, Lyubimov

Polunin has been a guest artist at major dance theaters all over the world, including the Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Theatre London, Bolshoi Theatre, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow, La Scala Theatre Paris, Teatro San Carlo Naples, and Bayerisches Staatsballet Munich.

In 2014 and 2015 Polunin “collaborated with American photographer and music director David LaChapelle“. He participated in several new projects, including a dance video to the song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.

Yuka Oishi Choreographer – Noizz

Polunin also performed in ballet-related film roles in Red Sparrow, Murder on the Orient Express, and a new film called Passion Simple, his first lead role.

Sergei Polunin – Dance Hall News

Controversial Polunin was the subject of the 2016 documentary film Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor. The documentary “analyzes Polunin’s childhood, training, and rise to international fame”.

Sergei Polunin and Laetitia Dosc Film Passion Simple – Wiki-commons

Sergei Polunin Sacré – Facebook

Sergei recently started the “Polunin Foundation dedicated to finding young and underprivileged individuals, providing them access to a professional dance education, and encouraging and developing their creativity “.

Yuka Oishi Choreographer, Dancer – Fiveprime

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“The goal of the Sergei Polunin Foundation is promoting ballet and dance to a wider audience while honoring traditional ballet and combining it with the most cutting-edge approach.”

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Vaslav Nijinsky Legendary Dancer and Choreographer – Wikiquote

Sergei Polunin’s Sacré

Last month Sergei Polunin performed his powerful new show Sacré in MoscowIt premiered in Switzerland in 2018. In the production, Japanese choreographer Yuka Oishi reinterprets Igor Stravinsky’s iconic ballet Le Sacré du printemps – Rite of Spring.

Alexey Lynbimov Soloist, Principal Ballet Dancer – Kulturserver

The ballet is a “tribute to legendary Russian dancer and kindred spirit Vaslav Nijinsky with Igor Stravinsky’s music taking center stage”. During Polunin’s solo he “explores Niminsky’s madness and his demand for a feeling, not thinking human”.

Igor Stravinsky Composer, Pianist, Conductor – The Guardian

Yuka Oishi Choreographer and Dancer

Yuka Oishi graduated from Hamburg Ballet School. She became an apprentice in 2002 and danced with the company as a soloist. Oishi began choreographing in 2012 and won prizes and recognition for her creativity and talent. Since 2015 she’s a freelance dancer and choreographer.

Alexey Lynbimov Soloist, Principal Ballet Dancer – tickets-to-the-theatre.com

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Sergei Polunin’s Sacré brings back the visions and music of the glorious Ballets Russes 1909 – 1929.

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Alexey Lynbimov and Dejan Kolarov

The evening began with dramatic performances by Alexey Lynbimov and Dejan Kolarov. Alexey is a soloist and principal dancer at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow. He was awarded Ballet Magazine ‘Soul of the Dance’ Award in 2017 and has danced in ballet productions with Polunin.

Alexey Lynbimov Soloist, Principal Ballet Dancer – Pictame

Dejan Kolarov attended Serbian ballet schools in Zrenjanin and Belgrade and became a soloist at Germany’s Theatre Augsburg. In 2010 he returned to Belgrade National Theatre and became the ballet company’s first soloist. A multi-talented artist, Kolarov is a dancer, director, and choreographer.

Dejan Kolarov Dancer, Director, Choreographer – Narodno Pozoriste

It was a splendid performance! I’m still processing the deep message and creative performance – so much talent!

Dejan Kolarov Dancer, Director, Choreographer – Narodno Pozoriste

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Chamber Music Concert Hall Berlin Philharmonic

Last night I attended a Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performance at the Chamber Music Concert Hall. There were several choices for getting there from my apartment. U-Bahn wasn’t one of them. At night, I’m more confident taking U-Bahn and am a bit leery of walking between connections.

Berlin Symphony

Getting to the Concert Hall

After considering the options, I took the M41 bus to Potsdamer Platz and walked about 10 minutes to the concert hall. It worked out well, even though I initially went in the wrong direction :o( but figured it out and changed course. I learned from the mistake, and the interesting passengers on the bus were helpful. Berlin taxis are plentiful but expensive, not sure if they’re safe. Since I’ll be in Berlin fort awhile, it’s a good idea to get comfortable riding buses and trams as well as the U-Bahn.

Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall

I’ve been looking forward to the concert after hearing praise for the symphony. Many consider the Berliner Philharmoniker the “world’s greatest orchestra”. The performance was sold out. Paavo Järvi conducted works by composers Witold Lutosławski and Johannes Brahms. The gorgeous concert hall is a theatre-in-the round with stellar acoustics. I had a balcony side seat facing the conductor – a prefect vantage point for watching the orchestra in action.

Witold Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra

Polish composer Witold Lutosławsk’s Concerto for Orchestra is known as “one of the top Polish works of Social Realism”. It’s described as a “rousing concert for orchestra combining the harsh force of Polish folk music with ingenious, futuristic construction”.

Witold Lutosławski Polish Composer

The Concerto has three movements beginning with a solemn introduction featuring “transformed tunes of folk songs”. Critics characterize the second movement as a “syncopated folk tune”. The finale is the longest movement and has a special “dramatic effect through the rise of the sound volume from pianissimo to fortissimo”. It’s a dramatic abstract composition.

Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73 for Chamber Ensemble

German composer Johannes Brahms’ Second Symphony was a sharp contrast to Lutoslawski’s composition. He created the symphony during a holiday on Lake Wörthersee, a glacial lake in the Starnberg district of Bavaria. Maybe Brahms got inspiration from the legend of the Origin of Lake Wörthersee, a fascinating folktale.

Johannes Brahms German Composer

Critics describe Symphony No. 2 as having a “pastoral, serenade-like quality with moments of somber severity”. It’s considered the Brahms Symphony “most suitable for a chamber version filled with expressive solos and transparent textures”. The soloists were magnificent.

Johannes Brahms 1866 Photo – Picture-Alliance dpa

The symphony has four movements, allegro non troppoadagio non troppoallegretto grazioso, and allegro con spirito. The rousing finale was spectacular and brought the audience to their feet.

Little Man of Lake Wörth Bavarian Folktale

Paavo Järvi Conductor

Paavo Järvi has been the Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen since 2004. Together with the Berlin Symphony he’s produced popular recordings of works by Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Robert Schumann. Järvi is a masterful conductor!

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“Järvi is a fascinating man to watch in concert. Not only is he a Grammy award-winning conductor but he is also a swift mover on the stage. He remains focused, and incredibly involved in the music.”

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Paavo Järvi Conductor

Paavo Järvi’s Conducting Career and Awards

Järvi’s career began in 1995 as conductor of Stockholm’s Kungliga Filharmoniska Orkestern. Career landmarks include positions with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Frankfurt HR Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his position with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, he’s artistic advisor to the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Järvi Summer Festival in Pärnu, Estonia.

Berlin Chamber Music Concert Hall Theater in the Round

In 2010, Järvi was awarded the ECHO Klassik as Conductor of the Year for his Beethoven interpretation – considered his greatest success. “The CD versions of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and the performances of the complete Beethoven cycle in Tokyo, Yokohama, Lanaudière Quebec, Paris, Strasbourg, Montreal, Bonn, Salzburg, Warsaw, and Sao Paolo sparked a wave of enthusiasm.”

Paavo Järvi Conductor Berlin Philharmonic

Following the Beethoven project, “Järvi and his orchestra worked equally successfully on the symphonic works of Robert Schumann”. The third CD with Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 and the Concert Piece for 4 Horns was awarded the prestigious French Music Prize, the Diapason d’Or. Järvi then focused on the complete Brahms Symphony Cycle winning Germany’s Opus Klassik Award in the category “Symphonic Recording of the Year (music of the 19th century)”.

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“Berlin’s striking pentagonal yellow concert hall was the product of designs by Hans Scharoun. It, along with the Neue Nationalgalerie, the chamber music hall, and the State Library, make up Berlin’s Kulturforum.

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Berlin Symphony Pipe Organ

Beginning with the 2019/20 season Paavo Järvi will become the new Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. He’s absolutely mesmerizing, a phenomenal conductor!

The Brahms piece was my favorite – it was magnificent. The audience wasn’t shy about acknowledging the talented musicians and conductor with enthusiastic applause. The performance was thrilling and made for a memorable evening in Berlin!