Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death

Today was the last performance of Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death being performed by the Korea National Ballet at the Seoul Arts Center. Basically it went over the adult part of Tchaikovsky’s life, his depression; writer’s block; crazy, completely disasterous marriage; beginning to write again; end of an affair; and death.

Unlike most ballets, the male ballerinas were able to shine in this ballet, it was unbelievable and breath-taking to watch the male ballerinas to more than spot the ballerinas and do the occassional jump. Vladimir Malakov and the guest dancers from from Boris Eifman Ballet (Natalia Povoroznik, Alexey Turko, and Lina Choe) were fantastic and worth every won that the KNB spent on their visas.

The part that I really didn’t like was sitting next to a woman who couldn’t leave her phone off for more than 5 minutes. All the lights were off to focus on the stage, except for her extremely bright LCD screen, after several rounds of dirty looks from everyone sitting around her, she eventually got the message and put her phone down.

But the set pales in comparison to what I saw at the Mariinsky Theatre, it was just a wall with the occassional cutout, fabric hanging, or a computer graphic. And it was at times an odd mix of ballet and interpretative dance and there were some (at least for me) awkward provocative scenes showing the seduction of Tchaikovsky and allusions to his supposed homosexuality.

Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon.


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