When the composer Gustav Mahler was diagnosed with a fatal heart disease he confided in a friend that everything he thought he knew about himself had become unhinged. With this mindset he wrote Das Lied von der Erde of which the last song Der Abschied became one of his most personal works. The song reflects our struggle as humans faced with our own mortality, set against nature which is eternal and constantly renews itself.
In her most recent performance FOREVER Grace Ellen Barkey delves into this paradox: ‘No one can sustain constant praise of life. Death or, rather, the niteness of human life deserves a song or a dance too.’ The song, as well as the orchestration, is sung as an intimate recollection by Maarten Seghers, supported by the trio of energetic, young dancers that give the score stature amid a fragile porcelain installation.
Concept, choreography Grace Ellen Barkey | Installation Lemm&Barkey | Music Der Abschied, Das Lied von der Erde, Gustav Mahler | With Maarten Seghers, Mélissa Guérin, Sarah Lutz, Mohamed Toukabri | Musical dramaturgy Rombout Willems | Dramaturgy Elke Janssens | Sound Bart Aga | Production and technique Marjolein Demey, Gwen Laroche | Intern director’s assistant Camille Doucet | A Needcompany production | Co-production Steirischer Herbst, Internationales Figurentheater-Festival (Erlangen en Nürnberg) en PACT Zollverein. | With support of de Vlaamse overheid