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Photo: Gregory Batardo


An overwhelming hybrid of dance, concert and chorus/orchestral work defines a stunningly effective scenic concept that blows the audience away in Messa da Rekviem. Christian Spuck’s gesamtkunst masterpiece can now be relived in Zurich, and I promise you, it’s worth the journey.

The groundbreaking, top German choreographer Christian Spuck (55) has created a sensation of a performance with his modern interpretation of Verdi’s death mass in an outstanding large-scale version for half a hundred dancers, double choir of 110 singers, 4 soloists and large orchestra at Zurich Opera.

A incomparable combination of music, dance, abstract stage images, light and space. The production has travelled the world and can be seen again in Zurich in April 2024.

Christian Spuck has now taken over as director of Staatsballet Berlin, where he started out with an excellent but somewhat hesitant version of Madame Bovary.

Soon the world premiere of Overture awaits, another work by Marcus Morau, who created the marvellous Nachtträume commissioned by Spuck in Zurich.

We’re on the cutting edge of modern dance, and you can read reviews of both performances here on GOT TO SEE THIS.

Overture opens in a promising double bill with Angels Atlas by Crystal Pite at the Staatsoper Unter Den Linden in Berlin around the beginning of May.

With Verdi’s formidable Messa Da Rekviem as the inner structure and a full-blown soundtrack, Christian Spuck has staged 16 gripping tableaux, each expressing a spiritual impulse with death as the common thread.

The choreography expresses themes of fear, grief, anger, despair and horror.

Choir and dancers blend seamlessly in black costumes in a bare, metallic space with harsh industrial lighting, where a thin layer of grey dust covers the stage floor… Welcome to hell.

The crowd twists their bodies into all sorts of mind-boggling configurations, driven by a kind of unison death drive that is alternately moving and horrifying.

Instructions are not included, and Christian Spuck says in an interview that you can read whatever emotions you want into the choreography.

Personally, I was left with a rich, really strong double sensation of the fear of death and the joy of life. An artistic punch that stayed with me for days.

Verdi’s music is sublime, the staging is spectacular as hell, and the performance is a near-death experience that has rightly been praised to the skies in the international press.

There’s no way around six stars from GOT TO SEE THIS.

If you got curious, check out the trailer on the Zurich Opera’s website here.