Guy Livingston performs with the Zürich Ballet

Under the choreographic direction of Meryl Tankard, the Zurich Ballet presents a new version of Ballet mécanique, entitled “For Hedy.” The performance is scored to music by George Antheil, arranged for piano and 64-channel electronics by Paul Lehrman and Guy Livingston; and performed by Guy Livingston at the piano.

Nine performances of “Timekeepers” at the Zurich Opera House as follows:
20, 21, 26 January
2, 4, 9, 17, 18, 23 February
programme: For Hedy, Les Noces, Rhapsody in Blue

The «golden» 1920s have gone down in history as a time of ecstatic cultural and technological advancements. This production, entitled Timekeepers, brings three works from that decade that prominently feature piano, all premiered a century ago. The evening will also see three female choreographers from three different generations. The world premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces, which took place in 1923 with the Ballets Russes in Paris, rewrote music and ballet history. Stravinsky paired a mixed choir with a lineup of four pianos and a percussion ensemble for this dance cantata, which retraces the course of a traditional wedding ceremony. Choreographer Bronislava Nijinska, the sister of Vaslav Nijinsky, accentuated the neoclassical angularity of Stravinsky’s music with constructivist groupings of dancers, pyramid-like setups, and hard, angular, stomping movements. With Nijinska’s legendary Les Noces choreography, the Ballett Zürich dances a key work of the 20th century.

In the audience of Les Noces in Paris was a young American, whose extravagant lifestyle and rhythmically driven, mechanically-controlled music soon earned him the title of a «Bad Boy of Music»: George Antheil. His most famous work is the Ballet mécanique, which he revised several times. Its first version was intended to be music for a surrealist-Dadaist film by Fernand Léger. Meryl Tankard makes her debut with the Ballett Zürich. Australia’s best-known choreographer will bring the piece to the stage in a version for piano and loudspeakers under the title For Hedy. Meryl Tankard began her career dancing with the Australian Ballet and with the im Tanztheater Wuppertal under Pina Bausch. She has since made an international name for herself between the worlds of classic and modern dance.

When he premiered Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, George Gershwin wanted to give Americans their own musical identity and, with the help of music, overcome ethnic and cultural barriers. One hundred years later, the young South African choreographer Mthuthuzeli November explores Gershwin’s «musical kaleidoscope of America» in Rhapsodies. Mthuthuzeli November currently lives in London, and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the Lawrence Olivier Award, for his creations. Mthuthuzeli November has long been more than an insider tip in Great Britain, and this marks his first collaboration with the Ballett Zürich