Winterreise Angelin Prejlocaj
When you were preparing to attend the ballet Winterreise, named after Schubert because it is his lieder, you did not think that Prejlocaj would give you the joy of really singing this ballet, and that Thomas Tatzi, a bass-baritone whose softly melancholic voice suits this song so well, would sing it before you. Usually, one listens to the recorded voices while watching the ballet dancing, or to the orchestra in the pit at the feet of the dancers, or the singers in the opera taking a few steps. Here, no, the singer sings next to you the melody of the ballet that takes place on stage, he does not give up anything, does not sacrifice anything of these two registers of the joy. From the outset he comes to us, I mean he comes down from the stage to join James Vaughan's piano-forte, and he will not leave us until the end. You will have time to feel how much this voice inhabits the winter journey, inhabits his song as if it were his home, with just that slight tremor that colors his beautiful bass voice with a tender emotion. A winter story is going to be told to you, of which Prejlocaj tells us in preamble that it is a song of death and love, of death because of love, of lost love which make die.
You listen to him a little worried about what he is going to say about it because the minutes first of all go by in a stiffness all gymnastic, the men dressed of well named justaucorps articulate to almost naked bodies of women without being more eroticized.
So you wait for what he is going to tell you, you forgive him in advance the idea that he could let you wait, disappoint you if he doesn't come, he who has already given so much. But yes, once again, he comes, his beauty comes to you, it seizes you as usual, if one can say so, speaks of the couple that loses its existence, of the man who loses a woman and who will die. Already their arms extend perpendicular, without their movement ever having a chance to reach the other. The gymnast disappears, the man moves, confronts this body which leaves him, he is multiplied in two, in four, in twelve, because each one will meet, miss, desert the other - this woman who abandons him. We see her come to life at first slowly, then little by little petrify into five statues that fix the luminous stone that they have become, that she has become. And which suddenly become eternal in stiff, definitive stars, each one carrying behind her the shadow of a man who goes around her, observes her, asks for her, waits for her.
While stone she become, each man carries a statue of woman, frozen, fixed, spread out in obtuse forms, sometimes like frogs, losing their beautiful forms as he loses her, as he sees her lost. The clothing of each begins to resemble the other, men and women similar little by little as if the loss mixed them, as if the osmosis of mourning assembled the one to the other, incorporated the other into the one so as not to remember, to have the other in oneself when outside, elsewhere, one no longer has it.
Their gestures are stretched, trays of arms, lozenges of legs, before their colors are confused.
The black of the man walking towards this absurd death has begun to join the white of the women to become multiple colors that neutralize their suffering otherness. Then the dance of the man, of the men, separates, and it begins to turn, dressed of black skirts so ample that they seem those of the dervishes of which one understands here that they turn to despair, that they turn of despair.
They are alone o how much these men who turn on themselves now without woman. The winter song continues, sharpens, Thomas Tatzi's beautiful voice marries Schubert's winter as much as it incarnates this man who turns to death. Yet it is not here that he dies, not before once again his thought of the woman comes back to animate him, smiling, with long skirts too, in large colored veils this time that fly.
We look at them amazed by their dance so supple, by their dancing beauty, before again the absent couple is summoned. Dancing on a coffin where Prejlocaj places them, sitting face to face, jumping and sharing this black box that brings them together and seals them by abandon. Then a machine arrives, which assembles them, seven of them, nine of them, with no state of man, no soul, no state of soul. And the light on them, of their gymnastics together, makes emerge little by little a trembling beauty as if there was still a two that would occur, as if the distraught man had believed to be able to make a woman.
It is that he held her in the meantime, maintained, that the dance of each man came to contain his each one that stretched like a bow, in jerk, that escapes in convulsion, convulses in escaping, then finally keeps silent and black, black with silence and end.
We know that the man of Schubert's winter song has finished his race, Thomas's voice, James's piano tell us so, and indeed Prejlocaj's man is now only lying on the ground in nine copies. Dressed in his black, the black that he makes shine until it dissolves in him, when the white of the veil on the women has planted its flag, veils of the women who are leaving. Black of the mourning here below, white of the mourning there, we attend only the slow agony that we were announced, of the man who dies, of the men who die in one, in three, in nine, each one wrapped in the white veil of a woman, and from now on spread out, shining corpse of compact gray which she leaves, on which she leaves fall a pinch of earth that flies. Curtain.
I forgot to tell you so many moments that already escape me, so many epics of the couple dead to itself that the man dreams when he loses a woman, so many jumping returns of one in the expectation of the other, so much infinite grace of the gesture that the dancer deciphers in what Prejlocaj dictates. Their dance escapes me so much it was ineluctably beautiful, after the waiting and the exercise. This dancing thought of the man, invaded by the vision of the women who escape, the danced grimace of the stones they become, the sad attempt to constrain them, their epileptic shakes that struggle, and the death that settles in the couple and in the man, without him ever reaching them again. Only there, arranged in gray along the women, the ballet of the men ends. Prejocaj again told us what he saw of the man and the woman, what is hoped for, what is lost, what is expected, what is attempted. In each gesture he has infinitely thought the gap, the absence, the waiting, each one taking on the beauty of what translates the impulse, the paradox, the lively, the doubt, then the certainty of the loss.