Christian Spuck is the director and choreographer of Messa da Requiem.
“During the creation of our version of Messa da Requiem, I was constantly aware that the music in itself is so impressive that it doesn't really need a stage, let alone choreography. The music is both the heart and the strength of the production and I don’t want to distract the audience from it too much. Therefore the focus in the direction and choreography is not on storytelling, but staging and choreographic images are used to give Verdi's creation a visual dimension and to help people delve deeper into the world of Messa da Requiem. Within this approach, I think it is important to work with universal images that have meaning to everyone, especially since the work has always spoken to me so directly. These images are not necessarily religious. For, although the work is a requiem and finds its basis in the Catholic liturgy, it is in essence not a religious artwork. Verdi himself was an agnostic and Messa da Requiem is really about us as human beings. This production therefore offered a special opportunity to address major themes that we face as human beings: fear of death, the powerful emotions associated with loss, loneliness, and questions about life after death. Verdi captured these themes and emotions in music that, despite its dark lyrics about death, leaves you with feelings of hope and a re-evaluation of life.
But also music that has the power to bring singers and dancers together. At the rehearsals for the world premiere in Zurich in 2016, the effect of this was beautiful. When the dancers first heard the 100-strong chorus sing, they wept with emotion. In turn, the chorus members never took a break during the dance rehearsals, because they wanted to keep watching the dancers. I hope to achieve the same atmosphere in Amsterdam. If that happens, Messa da Requiem will already be a success for me.”
‘Messa da Requiem leaves you with feelings of hope and a reevaluation of life’
Christian Spuck is a German choreographer and opera director. He has been the artistic director of Ballett Zürich since 2012 and will hold the same position with the Staatsballett Berlin from the 2023/2024 season. In the 2022/2023 season, he is making his debut with Dutch National Opera & Ballet with Messa da Requiem.