Anyone who attended the 2012 premiere in Madrid will remember C(H)ŒURS as a mind-blowing experience. And as a brilliant feat of crowd management too. Alain Platel choreographed the Chorus of the Teatro Real and ten dancers from les ballets C de la B in an engaged performance set to music by Verdi and Wagner. Today the time has come for an update. Together with the dancers, the Chorus and the Orchestra of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, Platel explores what the world will look like in 2022.
It was Gerard Mortier, then intendant of the Teatro Real, who got Platel to work on the operas of Verdi and Wagner. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, the banking crisis and the protest of the Indignados, especially the choruses had an intense impact on Platel. And with good reason, because this music originated in equally turbulent times. After the revolutions of 1848, Europe was shaken to its core. In their operas, Verdi and Wagner gave a voice to their people, who wanted to live freely in a new national unity. Choruses such as 'Va pensiero' from Nabucco or the pilgrim chorus from Tannhäuser became patriotic anthems. Their magnetism is – still – irresistible.
But the beauty of the masses has a dangerous downside, which periodically mutates. How does the progressive nationalism of the 19th century relate to recent trends towards populism and protectionism? When does connectedness turn into epidemic disinformation? And what seismic counterforces are making themselves felt in our feverish times? C(H)ŒURS 2022 explores the relationship between individual and society, inner and outer world, drive and convention in today's world.
Image: Tim Coppens