“Three Meetings” – Rihards Dubra and Mário Radačovský
The ballet triptych is titled “Three Meetings”. One of the one-act ballets has been created by the Slovak choreographer Mário Radačovský, based on the emotionally-charged and impressive Piano Concerto No. 3 by Rihards Dubra.
“The production combines different music compositions. The Piano Concerto by Rihards Dubra is surprisingly well adapted for dance, as if it was created for ballet,” Aivars Leimanis, Artistic Director of the Latvian National Opera’s Ballet Company, says, commenting on the collaboration and the pending ballet triptych. It was his idea “to build a bridge between our famous composers and exceptional world choreographers”.
Shortly before the premiere, Mário Radačovský had a meeting with members of the press in Riga. Mário Radačovský is a Slovak dancer and choreographer who has been in charge of several productions at the Slovak National Theatre Ballet, Bucharest National Operetta Theatre, Budapest Ballet, the Grand Rapids Ballet Company in Michigan; he has also worked in Canada and many other locations. At the moment, he is the Artistic Director of the Brno National Theatre Ballet.
Mário Radačovský first heard Rihards Dubra’s Piano Concerto No. 3 while working in Bratislava, on Aivars Leimanis’ recommendation. “I don’t want to be sloppy or bury you in compliments, but I thought – God, what a rich composition! If the music is that good, the ballet has to be just as good,” said the choreographer.
Rihards Dubra’s Piano Concerto No. 3 [also known as Liepāja Piano Concerto No. 3 – ed.] was commissioned by the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and had its premiere at the International Piano Stars Festival’s gala concert in 2012. The orchestra and the audience gave the concerto a standing ovation, and it became the culmination of the entire festival.
The main theme in the choreographic story by Mário Radačovský is freedom, in every sense of the word. However, the performance should not be perceived as a political statement.
“The story is about freedom, important to each and every one of us, which often seems self-explanatory and is only appreciated if lost. I believe that every person in the audience will see at least a little of him or herself in it. We had a similar past and freedom aspirations. Your Freedom Monument, which we can see from the Latvian National Opera, also symbolises something very beautiful and strong, but also something very fragile that can be lost any moment. It is important to appreciate freedom when you have it,” said Mário Radačovský. He drew parallels with Rihards Dubra’s music that, he believes, is very powerful and rich, but at the same time very poetic and intimate.
“The story I want to tell through music and dance is as follows: the protagonist, a woman, loses her man (husband, lover or friend) and later finds out that he is in jail. She desperately wants to meet him, and to achieve this she has to overcome various obstacles. And then, this marvellous duet when she arrives in the prison and they meet.
The music is fantastic, the instruments sound gentle and inspiring, presenting truly beautiful feelings of two humans united. But then they are separated again.
Finally the man is released, but they cannot understand each other as the man has suffered a lot in the horrible prison environment. They were forcibly separated, their love and friendship was interrupted, so now they have to find the way back to each other again, they are trying to talk… And finally they succeed, with the final part of the concert sounding almost like a celebration: two people meet to be free,” said the choreographer, adding that he was fond of happy endings.
Composer Rihards Dubra has also participated in the rehearsals. Seeing what has been created for the first time, Dubra was shocked – in the best sense of the world: “First of all, I could not have imagined that the great choreographer Mário Radačovský would understand my composition and find there exactly what I was thinking of when composing it. It is not always possible to express everything in music so literally.
When I’m composing, my thoughts slide past me just like scenes in a film. I have a feeling that Mário Radačovský has seen this film.
Second, I know that the choreographer had been working very intensely with the dancers, and what I saw was almost an accomplished performance. This proves the great talent of the choreographer – bringing people together like this, and it also shows the enormous capacity of our dancers. It’s truly amazing.”
Rihards Dubra first met Mário Radačovský in person in November 2013. “I spoke to the composer about my ideas, and he gave me full artistic licence, which was really nice. I have indeed changed one thing – piano concertos are usually performed without interruptions, but in my work, two parts will be separated by a brief period of silence. We agreed that the expansive and majestic part will be followed by a pause, a little silence to introduce the gentler and more poetic part of the concert,” said the choreographer.
When commenting on the collaboration with the Latvian National Opera’s ballet company, Mário Radačovský says he was pleasantly surprised at the dancers’ willingness to embrace new ideas: “My past experience has taught me that if a ballet company has received very classical training, they struggle with contemporary dance language. However, here in Riga I saw great enthusiasm. They were willing to co-operate, and it was to both sides’ advantage. During the creative process, it is important to me as a choreographer to be sure that work brings joy and satisfaction to all, because in essence this is hard and tiring work. To me, the most important part of this process is meeting ballet dancers, my colleagues – other choreographers, and meeting the public.”
Mário Radačovský’s one-act ballet based on Rihards Dubra’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is part of the production “Three Meetings”. The performance features Latvian National Opera ballet company soloists Sabīne Guravska, Iļana Puhova, Alise Prudāne, Sergei Neikshin, Arturs Sokolovs and Zigmārs Kirilko. Costume designer - Ludmila Várossová, conductor – Atvars Lakstīgala.
The triptych of one-set ballets “Three Meetings” also includes “Elegy”, a collaboration between the Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks and Argentine choreographer Demis Volpi, and Georgs Pelēcis and Bridget Breiner’s “In Honour Of”.
The one-act ballets’ triptych “Three Meetings” is one of the events on the “Riga 2014” Programme and part of the thematic line “Thirst for the Ocean”.