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PoliticalSACRIFICE and SpringSACRIFICE in Focus

25 APR 2013

published in: Whitsun

Valery Gergiev (Photo: Decca / Sasha Gusov)
The feast of Whitsun was part of God’s great plan of giving the people of Israel a total of seven annual feasts. Pentekoste – “the fiftieth day” – is the root of our familiar term Pentecost (Pfingsten in German), the third of the seven feasts. In addition to the opera Norma, the LoveSACRIFICE, the festival features various concerts illuminating different kinds of “Sacrifice”. We would like to introduce you to two of them in greater detail today: PoliticalSACRIFICE and SpringSACRIFICE.

As part of PoliticalSACRIFICE, works by Sofia Gubaidulina and Dmitri Shostakovich will be performed. Gubaidulina’s Violin Concerto Offertorium centers on sacrifice, death and resurrection, both on a spiritual and religious level. However, one cannot reflect upon any work by Gubaidulina without considering the implications of an artist’s victimization by a political regime. This links her composition with one of the most important and moving works of the 20th century, dedicated on the one hand to the Jewish victims of World War II and on the other to all the people who have suffered and continue to suffer under dictatorship: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, which will be performed after Offertorium. Entitled Babi Yar, his 13th Symphony for Male Chorus, Bass soloist and orchestra commemorates the 34,000 Jews murdered near Kiev in 1941 – thus demonstrating Shostakovich’s condemnation of anti-Semitism.

Under the title SpringSACRIFICE, Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps is featured on the program of the Whitsun Festival. To explore all its details and reconstruct them exactly – that is the painstaking work the ballet historians Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer have undertaken for the original choreography of Le Sacre du printemps by Vaslav Nijinsky. For the work’s 100th anniversary, we present the ballet in the reconstructed original version, which remains one of the most original and impressive ballet productions in our history to this day. The choreography focuses on the ritual of human sacrifice, and thus it is a perfect fit for the thematic program of this year’s Whitsun Festival.  

Further information and tickets for PoliticalSACRIFICE and SpringSACRIFICE is available by clicking on the title.