The ballet “Kassandra” with music by Alfred Schnittke at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern

Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto grosso No. 1 is a modern classic. In this work, the first of a multi-part cycle, the composer used polystylistic techniques to create modern concertos modelled on baroque concerti grossi in a pseudo-historical sound picture for a wide variety of instrumental ensembles.
The choreographer of the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern, James Sutherland, chose two striking movements from Schnittke's Concerto grosso No. 1 for his new ballet “Kassandra”, which will be premiered at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern on 22 January 2022. Olivier Pols conducts the Orchestra of the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern.
The Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern writes about the new ballet:

“In ancient mythology, Cassandra is a Trojan priestess and king’s daughter who, in return for her beauty, is given the gift of foreseeing the future by the god Apollo. When she rejects his seduction, however, he punishes her by saying that no one will ever believe her predictions. Thus, even before the start of the Trojan war against Greece, she foresees the downfall of Troy, yet for years she has to watch every wrong decision made by her father and brothers without her warnings being heeded.
The direct connection between knowledge and helplessness is still fascinating today and has also been taken up by modern authors: In an anti-war play, Jean-Paul Sartre draws gods with great irony who vainly and narrow-mindedly make life difficult for people and to whom Cassandra in particular is simply intellectually superior. Christa Wolf spent several years in intense investigation of the question of just exactly who Cassandra was - before she became a myth. In her story ‘Cassandra’, she describes her as a highly sensitive and intelligent young woman who recognises in the present, in the political course set and in the changed behaviour of her fellow human beings, what future the Trojans are thereby bringing about for themselves. James Sutherland dedicates himself to this character as a vulnerable woman fighting a hopeless battle against her political powerlessness, social isolation and the dismantling of her person. With his ensemble and an actress who speaks excerpts from the texts of the ancient poet Euripides and the author Christa Wolf, he traces her path: While life in Troy is increasingly characterised by strategic rationality, uniformity, distrust of each other, she pleads in vain for changes of perspective, empathy and the fullness of life beyond defined situations. She knows that she is deeply entangled in a conflict of loyalties in which she can only remain true to herself at the cost of losing her family and her people. But at least after the war she manages to convey to the fellow Trojan women: As long as we live, there can still be humanity.”

World Premiere
Alfred Schnittke
The ballet “Kassandra” with two movements from Concerto grosso No. 1, among others
Orchestra of the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern
Choreographer: James Sutherland; Conductor: Olivier Pols
Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern