Throughout his artistic career, choreographer Angelin Preljocaj has enjoyed seeking inspiration in a wide variety of sources, from the visual arts to literature, music, politics and religion, using his observation of the world and society to pose constant challenges to the body and movement.
Preljocaj regularly makes music the mainstay of his work. This time his starting point is Schubert's brilliant Winterreise (Winter Journey), a work for voice and piano comprising 24 songs based on poems by Wilhelm Müller published in 1824.
In the distinguished choreographer's own words: "Ballets set to chamber music create complicity between the musicians, the dancers and the audience, like a magic triangle. The Lieder of Winterreise conjure up an intimate atmosphere, something like a journey through life, or a jardin d'hiver, a winter garden in which future seasons are also perceptible, an experimental laboratory of life."
A traveller sets out along the long road to death. Rejected by society and disappointed in love, he endures cold, sorrow, hunger and a feeling of abandonment. As he wanders aimlessly, he is sure of only one thing: the need to flee. What paradise can he long for except sleep and eternal rest?
Twelve dancers express the different facets and fluctuating states of mind of this character on the outer edge of the world. In the dance version, which was first performed at the Scala in Milan in January 2019, the gestures and language created by Preljocaj intensify the emotion of Schubert's great song cycle.