Saturday, June 09, 2007


Darcey Bussell gave her last performance as the principal dancer of the Royal Ballet yesterday. The last number was Das Lied von der Erde, The Song of the Earth, which is a suite of lieds by Mahler, and it was broadcast on BBC2. DLVDE is actually a symphony for Tenor, Contralto, and orchestra, and would have been Mahler's ninth, but superstitious Mahler left it unnumbered in fear for the curse of the ninth symphony that had already taken Beethoven and Bruckner. Mahler went on to compose one more symphony, which he numbered as his ninth, as he died before finishing his tenth.

Bussell ended her career as the principal dancer on top. She has said that she wants to quit when winning, and while 38 doesn't sound like an old age, she's been at the job for 20 years. The last song is aptly called Farewell, and although through the music you can hear the heaviness of Mahler's worried mind, the performance was everything but heavy. I don't remember when was the last time I saw ballet on stage, and am no expert. Professional critics have dug deep to find suitable superlatives to describe the "flawless" performance and the emotional farewell. All I can say is that I haven't seen anyone so elegant before, even the way she breaths is beautiful and not from this planet. Luckily she has hinted at the possibility to come back as a visitor.

(Pic: BBC)

No comments: