Composer search

Search by surname

Detailed search

Repertoire search

Catalogue search

Lera Auerbach’s “Little Mermaid” Swims through Hamburg

The ballet “The Little Mermaid” by John Neumeier to music by the Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach received its German premiere on 1 July at the Hamburg State Opera on the occasion of the opening of the Hamburg Ballet Days 2007. The work received its world premiere at the newly-built Copenhagen Opera during the course of the Andersen jubilee year.

The “Hamburger Abendblatt” had the following to say about the premiere (3.7.2007):

“(…) It is the wondrously moving fate of the mermaid recorded by John Neumeier, and the triumph of the dancer Silvia Azzoni to give power and heart to this creature who has escaped from the sea. It is she who can find no understanding in a society portrayed by Neumeier as crazed and banal; a society forming a counter-world to the harmony in which the mermaid once moved. She is bound to fail because of her erroneous image of the human world and her pure love for a man.

Silvia Azzoni dances all this with such extraterrestrial rapture, and yet so bewitching on the earthy level, that we are deeply moved in a wonderful pas de deux with Carsten Jung as the high-spirited, virile Prince who doesn’t understand the mermaid’s love at all but in turn loves the capriciously elegant Princess. Hélène Bouchet dances this role outstandingly. (…) Lloyd Riggins dances the Andersen figure. In a pantomimic introduction we see a cranky, fidgety poet with frock coat and top hat who dives into the depths of the sea with the tears of past misfortunes. The basically magnificent character-dancer must acquire the severely neurotic facets of suffering which Andersen suffered in real life with the gestures of Heinrich Hoffmann’s flying Robert. (…) John Neumeier does not succeed here in choreographing pure comedy, in no way attainable with nuns in sunglasses walking in an uptight manner. These trite scenes are a crass contrast to the softly billowing water world that Neumeier has designed.”

The daily newspaper DIE WELT commented as follows:

“The water-level rises and falls, sinking the events into the depths, washing them back to the surface. A wave-like luminous line serves to mark the level. Then the background is transformed from a surreal blue to real cloud images. The plain clarity of John Neumeier’s scenery was influenced by his designer friend, Peter Schmidt. Alongside the choreography, Hamburg’s ballet director was responsible for scenery, lighting and costumes in his fairy-tale creation “The Little Mermaid.” (…) Azzoni, at first a confident creature, becomes a marionette when he pushes her towards the nearly drowning Prince in order to save him. The desire to be near to him begets a touchingly helpless being after a violent act of transformation, like an alien from another galaxy hurled naked onto the beach of a world foreign to her.