Eros Thanatos is the latest piece by Izadora Dance and her White Dance Theatre. Set to the music of Karol Szymanowski, the Kronos Quartet, and the contemporary Latvian composer Peteris Vasks, Eros Thanatos was inspired by the oeuvre of the Polish painter Jacek Malczewski, which involved an obsessive intertwinement of erotic motifs with feminine personifications of Death.On 9-10 September (7 pm), the stage of the Polski Theatre in Warsaw (ul. Karasia 2, as part of the Goście w Polskim [Guests at the Polski Theatre] cycle) will host an international ensemble of carefully selected individuals, whom the choreographer leads with surgical precision through the meanders of her own imagination, stimulated by great paintings towards the discovery of new capacities for the expression of emotions through dance.
Izadora Weiss on her piece Eros Thanatos:
To me, Jacek Malczewski?s paintings offer a great, if not inexhaustible, source of theatrical inspiration that can be developed on many levels that relate to every person, regardless of their situation and condition. The eponymous Eros Thanatos perennially interlace with each other in the fate of each of us, which is something that Malczewski succeeded at manifesting with great courage and artistic liberty, in a manner that seemed far ahead of his times. My project attempts to revive the world of Malczewski?s imagination in stage compositions, in which real figures: Mother, Daughter, Son, interweave with fantastic characters: Satyr, Faun, or Death depicted as a beautiful woman.
The first part of the piece is accompanied by the works of Peteris Vasks, among others. Some of the music is performed live, which I was adamant about. I find Vasks?s music immensely close to the sensuality of the eponymous Eros, and thus capable of directly afflicting the viewer. The second part of Eros Thanatos features Karol Szymanowski?s Violin Concerto no. 1, which is another of my musical discoveries after my previous fascination with such composers as Mahler, Bach or Schubert, and a thoroughly serious challenge. Szymanowski?s is an extraordinarily difficult composition, especially if one intends to penetrate its multilayered structure. Combining it with Jacek Malczewski?s imagination creates an uncanny picture, a sort of mystery in which real life meets metaphysics.
This is the second project by the White Dance Theatre following the presentations at the International Sergei Diaghilev Festival in Saint Petersburg, where we presented our pieces at the Alexandrinsky Theatre and the Ermitage, as part of the exhibition of the art of Jan Vermeer. Taking part in the piece will be dancers from various corners of the world, including South Korea, Slovakia, Latvia, Italy, Germany, and Poland. It is most astonishing to observe how they merge with the world we know from Malczewski?s paintings, lending them their hearts, imaginations, and talents, and enabling our audience to rediscover the unique richness and prolificacy of this artist.
Painter: Adam Grabarczyk
Thanatos: Nadja Simchen
Girls: Marta Barossi, Rebecca Wolbeck, Noami Citriniti, Luana Pignato, Ieva Ievina
Soldiers: Peter Dzubera, Beniamin Citkowski, David Esteban Rodrigues, Wan Lee Hueng, Daniel Flores Pardo
Painter: Adam Grabarczyk
Thanatos: Nadja Simchen
Muse: Naomi Citriniti
Moth: Rebecca Wolbeck
Faun: Ieva Ievina
Satyr: Wan Lee Hueng
Wife: Marta Barossi
Son: Beniamin Citkowski
Daughter: Luana Pignato
Daughter?s Friend: Daniel Flores Pardo
Solemn Soldier: Peter Dzubera
Merry Soldier: David Esteban Rodrigues
Izadora Weiss is a choreographer and the artistic director of the Baltic Dance Theatre. She graduated from the Warsaw Ballet School and the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw (major: ballet pedagogy). She was twice awarded a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and Art. She was a choreographic intern with Jiri Kylian, who invited her to the Nederlands Dans Theater, which enabled her to establish collaborations with such artists as Hans van Manen, Ohad Naharin and Paul Lightfoot. She is the founder and artistic director of the Baltic Dance Theatre, with whom she developed numerous original pieces inspired by literary classics, such as Shakespeare?s Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night?s Dream (the latter to the music of Goran Bregovic). The Warsaw Chamber Opera hosted the world premiere of her rendition of Handel?s vocal triptych Tre Donne Tre Destini with Olga Pasiecznik in the leading role, which the ?Rzeczpospolita? daily ranked among the year?s most important musical theatre events. In 2015, Izadora Weiss prepared the premieres of Shakespeare?s The Tempest and Racine?s Phaedra, both set to the music of Gustav Mahler. The latter piece was presented at London?s The Place, where it was hailed as the dance theatre highlight of the month. Her Tristan and Isolde, accompanied by Krzysztof Penderecki?s music, was invited to Saint Petersburg?s Diaghilev Festival along with Izadora Weiss?s other pieces performed by the Baltic Dance Theatre. The piece was developed with the company under its new name, the White Dance Theatre, supported by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association and the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music.
Izadora Weiss is the laureate of a number of awards, including the Pomorskie Province Artistic Prize (2009), and the bronze ?Gloria Artis? medal of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. She is also a two-time winner of the Jan Kiepura Award for the choreographer of the year.
Jacek Malczewski?s Thanatos cycle was created in 1898-1899, inspired by the obsession of death that had swept the iconography of symbolism, and became one of the foremost aspects of the artist?s mythology. Drawing on the Greek myth of Thanatos, the twin brother of Hypnos, the god of sleep, Malczewski represented him as an attractive, shapely young woman with a scythe in her hand. He thus combined the sphere of sensuality with death, matter with metaphysics, and Eros with Thanatos, invoking the symbolist compound of death as revival, hope for new life, and relief from daily worries. To Malczewski himself, the beautiful woman with a scythe became a leitmotif of his late oeuvre. As noticed by Kazimierz Wyka in his book on Malczewski (Thanatos i Polska [Thanatos and Poland]), ?none of his other series possesses such durability and continuity.?
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Tickets at PLN 30 are available at the Polski Theatre ticket offices.