My Ravel: Whichever Way he Looks... / Daphnis and Chloé - Synopsis

Mein Ravel Daphnis und Chloé Mai Kono, Karen Azatyan.© Wilfried Hösl Mein Ravel Wohin er auch blickt

My Ravel: Whichever Way he Looks... / Daphnis and Chloé

Ballets by Jörg Mannes and Terence Kohler
Musik by Maurice Ravel


Jörg Mannes/Maurice Ravel

Jörg Mannes does not tell a story in his ballet, but he does deal with motives that are very close to Maurice Ravel’s music.

At the focal point is the “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand” by Maurice Ravel. The composition was written for piano virtuoso Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm. For Jörg Mannes this music communicates a strong sense of menace, loss and loneliness, which he works out choreographically.

Initially, however, we hear “Une barque sur l’océan” (“A Barge on the Ocean”), a work Ravel dedicated to his friend, the painter Paul Sordes. They both belonged to a group of impressionistic artists they called “Les Apaches”. To this piece, Manes creates a prélude, imbued with longing and hope.

At the end, we have “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Deceased Princess”). Inspired by the Spanish nostalgia of the early 20th century, Ravel describes it as “a reminiscence of a pavane a little princess might have danced in olden times at the Spanish court”. Inspired by the piano interpretation of the composer himself, Mannes stresses the open spaces and the tiny shimmer of hope that resounds from them. And yet, the forlornness and hopelessness of the individual remains, which resound in the title of the ballet – Whichever Way he Looks…

Terence Kohler/Maurice Ravel

Mrthale and Lamon, Nape and Dryas till their fields. They find two abandoned children, Daphnis and Chloé, and take them in.

Daphnis and Chloé – in all their childish innocence – succumb to their love for one another. Their naïveté causes them to take it to disquieting limits, which they cannot understand and are unable to surmount.

Three nymphs and the god Pan guide Daphnis and Chloé on their way into life. Destiny separates the two for a long time.

Daphnis meets Lykanion, with whom he discovers and develops his sexuality.

Chloé leaves her homeland and arrives on a foreign island. Men discover her and oppress her with a cruelty she has never known before. Briaxis liberates her from danger: but he also importunes her with an unfamiliar, menacing desire. She holds him off with growing strength that is ultimately superior to his and returns to her native island.

Daphnis and Chloé meet again at the place where they were found long ago. Their love has matured. They no longer need the guidance of Pan and the nymphs.

A new generation comes of age, to make its own discoveries and profit from its own experiences.