“Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very deep, so deep that no cable could reach the bottom: many church steeples, piled one upon another, would not reach from the ground beneath to the surface of the water above.”
So begins the story of the Little Mermaid’s true love for a terrestrial Prince, for whom she sacrifices the most precious things she has – her voice and her life.
As in the case of his other stories, Hans Christian Andersen based his 1836 fairy tale not only on imagination and fantasy, but he also drew inspiration from his own tumultuous life. The Little Mermaid reflects his deep longing for love, as well as the feeling of futility resulting from the conviction that no one will learn about this emotion and the subsequent sacrifice.
The tale inspired the choreographer Jan Kodet and stage directors Martin Kukučka and Lukáš Trpišovský to write a scenario for a new ballet. The music was written by contemporary Czech composer Zbyněk Matějů.
The bold visual aspect of the production was created by Jakub Kopecký who designed the sets, and Saša Grusková who created the costumes.
Martin Kukučka and Lukáš Trpišovský – known as SKUTR – have won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix and the Audience Prize at the FIST international festival in Belgrade, the Evald Schorm Prize and the Josef Hlávka Prize.
Scenario: Jan Kodet, Martin Kukučka, Lukáš Trpišovský
Music: Zbyněk Matějů
Choreography: Jan Kodet
Stage direction: SKUTR (Martin Kukučka and Lukáš Trpišovský)
Sets: Jakub Kopecký
Costumes: Alexandra Grusková
Music preparation: Andreas Sebastian Weiser
Conductors: Andreas Sebastian Weiser / David Švec
World premiere: 10 November 2016 at the Estates Theatre
All photos by Dasa Wharton
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.