Yuri Vámos
Scene photo Erda 1
© Eduard Straub
Scene photo Erda 2
© Eduard Straub
Scene photo Erda 3
© Eduard Straub
Scene photo Erda 4
© Eduard Straub


Ballet by Youri Vámos
Music by Péteris Vasks
(Symphonie Nr. 2; Cantabile per archi)
Choreographical assistance: Joyce Cuoco
Stage and costumes: Michael Scott
Lightdesign: Klaus Gärditz
Duration: 50 minutes

World premiere 2005 Deutsche Oper am Rhein

In Germanic mythology they weave the threads of Fate: the Norns. Youri Vámos unites them in the form of a capricious fate-player. His Norn is unpredictable and domineering. She inexorably follows her urge to create and to destroy; but she also shows a willingness and weakness for adventures. With her enticing games she provokes people to rebel against their fate. But their successes cannot hold, because their existence is finite.

To the music of the Latvian composer Péteris Vasks, Youri Vámos translates his ideas on Destiny into tremendously powerful optical language.

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Press reviews

In Germanic mythology they weave the threads of fate, gods-like and free from guilt: the Nornes, three women at the foot of the tree of life. They play the leading parts in Youri Vámos's new ballet, and here they are concentrated in one single rather moody player of fate: a prime part for Katharina Svetlova, the young new star of the Düsseldorf-Duisburg Company. [...]The music to this ballet - precisely and with vigourous expression performed by the Duisburg Philharmonics under Koen Schoots – was written by the contemporary Latvian composer Péteris Vasks. Passages from his «Symphony No. II” and his Cantabile per archi, with their muted colours, long-drawn melodies and surprising turning points, form a suitable background for the proceedings of destiny in the ballet. The choreography centres mainly on Katarina Svetlova, the furious player at fate. In high leaps the amazon chases across the stage, with legs angled like a flying demon, and arms dominantly streched out, her hair loosely around her face. In her dance, she spells out strictly a vocabulary of energy and lust for power, trying to destroy all that does not subordinate itself.

Rheinische Post

Erda, first mother, appears as a monolith (stage setting: Michael Scott). Meanwhile the Norne is playing games with human beings whom she brings to life, controls, and lets vanish again, just as she likes. With shattering cold bloodedness, the wonderful soloist, Katharina Svetlova, lures a mother (Hildur Olafsdottir) into death, and later tries to murder the latter`s grown-up son (Valerio Mangati) while embracing and seducing him, but in a last effort, he manages to nearly be a fatal threat to her. [...] Plenty of jubilation after a moving ballet evening.

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

Vámos's eternal female comes as a Norne, presented with the malicious elegance of a James-Bond-playmate by the virtuoso dancer Katharina Svetlova. [...]In her lizard-skin dress Katharina Svetlova walks between the dancers who are lying about on the stage. By conforming her body to somebody else's, doubling their movements, new life springs up – melancholy woodwind solos hopefully rise high above whirring strings. The humans spread arms and legs like strings of fate into which the Norne has ominously entangled them. A beautiful choreographic metaphor.

Westdeutsche Zeitung

Mankind's love and grief, happiness and misfortune are held in the Norne's hands, and she plays with it a macabre game. She is the heroess in Youri Vámos's new ballet evening, which was recently first performed in Duisburg, celebrated with great jubilation. [...] On the lyrical music of Péteris Vasks, Vámos describes a curiously dark mood which tries to unite soul and body. [...] The power woman and American Prima Ballerina, giving new glamour to the Rheinoper-Ballet since a year ago, is not only the leading character. Her inimitable way of combining strictness, force, style, and fragility is dominant throughout the evening. [...] In the love-pas-de-deux as well as in the fight-duo with the searching «He”, Svetlova finds a matching partner in Valerio Manganti – a clear-cut giant who with technical brilliance unites energy, elegance, and ease. Svetlova – Manganti, a nearly ideal stage couple.

Neue Rhein Zeitung

With nearly 20 minutes of frentic applause, the Friends-of-the–DOR-Ballet together with many other visitors honoured at the Duisburg Opera House a first performance that could hardly be more spectacular, beautiful, and with more fascinating music. Moreover, the newest work of the international choreographer displays a different style of movements. Many details appear to be more fluent, more harmonious and matured than in former works, and his interpretation of the music through the harmony of movements shows his talent for patience. […] The artistic singularity of the evening is caused – beside by its choreography – by the choice of music. It congruently spans the work to an ideal extent with permanent suspense, constantly illuminating the action. Suspense up to breathlessness, in which dropping a pin would have equalled a bomb explosion. Not to mention the always new dreamlike, traumatic colour-perspectives (stage: Michael Scott). All this is summed up in a total work of art of rarely seen harmony, light, music, and dance, in a delicate make-up of a partly incredible sense of form and aesthecsim. The virtual identity of musical expression, dancing esprit, and new language of movements make one's heart beat go up. […] Ballet cannot be more beautiful, a really breathtaking evening of highest standards at the Rheinoper.

Merker online, Wien