In association with Town Hall Seattle
Alexander Weimann, Music Director
Olivier Wevers, Choreographer
Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W’Him and the Orchestra join forces to present Pergolesi’s enduring masterpiece Stabat Mater, the ancient hymn portraying Mary during the Crucifixion. Inspiration overflows in this fusion of art forms. There is no intermission. TALK BACK immediately following the performance.
Shorecrest Performing Arts Center seating chart
Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W’Him and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra join forces to present Pergolesi’s enduring masterpiece Stabat Mater, the ancient hymn portraying Mary during the Crucifixion. Inspiration overflows in this fusion of art forms.
About the Music
Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" has always been a challenging, if not disturbing piece for me. The poetry is so powerful, and its noble sadness, at first sight, seems to agree more with the Roman, slightly more austere style of 17th-century composer Agostino Steffani, who would give it a more universal language, than Pergolesi's idiom, from Naples, a very different city, much more Mediterranean, where all sorts of emotions would subsequently be expressed in a rather immediate, visceral way, like what we would expect from female mourners in the Middle East. Pergolesi's lamenting is not a slow, solemn, ecclesiastical and constrained act, but something that happens naturally, breaks out of us in an almost uncontrolled manner, belonging rather to the world of stage, theater and opera, than the realm of the altar. Of course, mundane and sacred spheres were not really separated at this time, and still considered to be emanations of the same underlying cosmic order, but it feels we already hear that we are coming closer to the brink of enlightenment, the liberation of the individual and the freedom of expression.
Seattle Baroque Orchestra
About the Dance
I have had 2 weeks of creation already, and it has definitely helped target the path I will follow. It is important for me to not just translate the music literally, but to give it a relevant/contemporary flair. I am not a very religious person, but I am definitely very spiritual, so translating ideas that are based in religious beliefs and Christian literature into the things that could bring more universality is exciting. I certainly want to pay deep respect to the origins of the music and the story it is based on, but I also want to challenge it and find a way to bring its spirituality out without being literal. It is a fantastic and inspiring challenge.
Just like the composition split in two sections, the first descriptive of the action and the second being more of a prayer and pleading, I am choosing some parts to be more narrative, and others to be more about the emotions and the feelings that we could each related to. The dancers can equally represent an emotion or a situation.
I work like a puzzle, non-linearly, so I have worked a few different random sections to date.
The end of the process is always about putting the pieces together, and usually a rewarding process as thing tend to complement or contrast.
The more I work on this piece, the more I fall in love with it.
1 hour with TALK BACK immediately following the performance
Yulia van Doren
Janet Strauss, violin
Carrie Krause, violin
Tomà Iliev, violin
Christine Wilkinson-Beckman, violin
Lindsey Strand-Polyak, violin
Joanna Hood, viola
Nathan Whittaker, cello
Curtis Daily, bass