Few choreographers have had a greater influence on modern dance theatre than Sasha Waltz. All the greater then was the response when she was involved in the annual Education Dance Project of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the summer of 2012. The theme was Bizet’s Carmen in the version by Rodion Shchedrin. At the centre of the performances, led by Simon Rattle, were four classes from Berlin schools who approached the Carmen material in their very own way.
Sasha Walz decided not to use Spanish folklore in her interpretation, and played her Carmen out on the streets of Berlin. And indeed, Bizet’s material proves once again to be amazingly universal. The fire and the power of music and plot fit perfectly into a modern metropolis. Also, the students show in their passionate interpretation that Bizet’s story and characters still speak to the youth of today. The choreographer used yet another technique which revealed the diversity of the subject: scenes are acted out simultaneously and in different ways by the school classes, impressively demonstrating the many facets and possible interpretations of the opera.
The music used for the performance is the Ballet Suite by Rodion Shchedrin, who condensed Bizet’s music to great effect. For the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, the work on this score connected seamlessly to another Carmen project at the time: the performance of Bizet’s opera at the Salzburg Easter Festival and in the Berlin Philharmonie.