A Note on Passion

As with so many of James Kudelka’s outwardly non-narrative ballets – The Four Seasons immediately comes to mind – the plotless, one-act Passion is rich in emotion and human drama. Passion operates on several levels and is a ballet of intended contrasts. It can be viewed as an intensely musical and imaginatively woven choreographic response to the first movement – complete with its faintly unsettling timpani-laden cadenza – of Beethoven’s rarely heard transcription for piano of his sole violin concerto. On another level it deploys two distinct choreographic modes – one overtly classical and decorous, the other visceral and unfettered – to present starkly different portraits of romantic attraction, each embodied by a lead couple. A formal couple’s interactions are bound by the chaste conventions of classical ballet. They are sometimes joined by two secondary classical couples, as if to amplify the emotional constraints of tradition. The other couple, clearly contemporary and dancing with honest abandon, inhabit a world of their own, physically and emotionally. Their love-at-first-sight encounter evolves through a cautious courting ritual into rapturous union. To add yet another layer, a corps of five women in Romantic tutus circle and weave their way through the ballet, apparently oblivious to the surrounding action. Detached and almost ethereal, they add a note of poetic mystery that leaves room for viewers to discover personal meaning in what transpires on stage.

Emma Bovary & Passion Digital Programme

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