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Leonce und Lena

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OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
Dates/times in Zurich time zone
Leonce und LenaMusic: Various
Choreography: Christian Spuck (Original)
Ballett Zürich
Pavel BaleffConductor
Emma RyottSet Designer, Costume Designer
Reinhard TraubLighting Designer
Philharmonia Zürich
Michael KüsterDramaturgy
Esther Dreesen-SchabackDramaturgy
Ballett Zürich Junior Company
Jan CasierDancer
Michelle WillemsDancer
Wei ChenDancer

Although there are only a few works in Georg Büchner’s oeuvre, this German poet’s pieces explore the depths of mankind’s soul. He was a lecturer in medicine in Zurich beginning in 1836, and died at the age of just 23. Today, he is regarded as one of the most important authors of the 19th century, a trailblazer of modernity.

Christian Spuck has returned time and again to Büchner’s output, staging both Woyzeck, the poet’s most well-known work, and his play Leonce und Lena for the ballet stage. After its premiere in Essen, Spuck’s Leonce und Lena has been seen in Stuttgart, Zurich, Montréal, Charlotte (USA), and Prague.

Prince Leonce of the kingdom of Popo and his friend Valerio have valiantly dedicated their lives to the fine art of doing nothing. But then out of nowhere, King Peter decides to resign. Prince Leonce is meant to succeed his father on the throne – and marry, to boot. In order to escape from an arranged marriage with a princess he’s never met, Leonce flees to Italy. Princess Lena, from the kingdom of Pipi, has no interest in marrying a man she’s never met and absconds with her governess. Along the way, the prince and princess meet…and fall in love. Back at the castle, they both appear masked – unaware of who the other is – and are married.

Christian Spuck transforms Büchner’s wryly sarcastic comedy about boredom into a clever, fast-paced farce for the whole family. Polkas and waltzes by Johann Strauss, as well as modern musings from Alfred Schnittke and Bernd Alois Zimmermann help illustrate this sadly comic tale, emphasizing its subversive nature.

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