Home Lera (Valeria Lvovna) Auerbach The Little Mermaid, ballet (2005)
Neumeier`s `The Little Mermaid,` created for the Royal Danish Ballet in 2005 to honor the 200th birthday of the story`s author, Hans Christian Andersen, is typical of the choreographer`s approach...Read more
Neumeier`s `The Little Mermaid,` created for the Royal Danish Ballet in 2005 to honor the 200th birthday of the story`s author, Hans Christian Andersen, is typical of the choreographer`s approach to familiar subjects. Visually stunning but dark, mysterious and brimming with psychosexual subtext, Neumeier`s vision could never be mistaken for Disney`s or Petipas`. The elaborate Hamburg Ballet production, which features more than 60 performers and an innovative set designed by Neumeier, opened Friday at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and continues through Sunday.
Neumeier interprets the story through a biographical lens, not always successfully. Andersen was attracted to both men and women during his life, but never acted upon his feelings. Neumeier has created a role for the author called the Poet. He presents a prologue in which the Poet recalls his intense feelings for his friend Edvard during his shipboard marriage to a woman named Henriette.
`The Little Mermaid` is set to an eclectic and richly colorful score by Russian composer Lera Auerbach that contains sly homage to Prokofiev, Beethoven and other composers. Like all great ballet scores, it undergirds the emotional tenor of the story as well as expertly catering to its rhythmic and dynamic demands.
Neumeier`s `Mermaid` isn`t for everyone. Willfully bizarre at times, occasionally indulgent and often somber, it`s a highly personal and uncompromising vision. But it`s a splendid example of what European ballet does best: ambitious, resource-demanding work that places artistic considerations above all others.
By PAUL HODGINS / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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