This blog post was originally posted in Danish on Facebook on March 10, 2019. You can see this post here.
Last night I fell in love with Copenhagen all over again!
I was fortunate to attend the premiere of Cinderella, at the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen. It was a brand new ballet by Gregory Dean over Prokofiev's classic score as well as the story we all know so well. Beautiful, visually breathtaking as well as funny. A classic ballet with everything you would expect. A ballet perfectly suitable for the entire family (even the teens ... it's completely Insta-worthy!) I highly recommend this performance.
It all started in the taxi where I was sitting with my beautiful girlfriend. Her hand in mine. It's early evening and the taxi had just passed the intersection where Store Kongensgade becomes Kongens Nytorv. For the first time in, what feels like, an eternity, I'm not met by the ugly, green wall - but greeted by the beautiful square in the heart of Copenhagen. Across the square and Krinsen, the old opera house (called Gamle Scene) sits majestically. Beautifully lit and because of this evening, with red lanterns (which signals, the evening's performance is sold out). A sight and a feeling that in all its splendor shows Copenhagen's natural position as one of Europe's beautiful capitals (which could easily be a location for a James Bond movie!).
The taxi drops us off at the new curb, right in from to the theatre (yes!) and we walk a few meters to the entrance and into the foyer. In the stairwells, the hallways, the old mirror hall, well - everywhere; not only is the building whispering the theatres history in my ears. It is also whispering my family's history in my ears. From my many visits, with my mum to an opera. Or to a ballet or a concert, with my dad. Or the many times I have performed here myself.
Now sitting in the performance hall under the large chandelier. The sound of the musicians of the Royal Danish Orchestra warming up, draws me even further into the world of magic and the thrill of expectation. The traditional signal coming from of an old iron rod being hit, makes the orchestra seize the warming up as well as making the mumblings in the crowded hall come to a mute, while the lights dim. My girlfriend kisses me on the cheek, squeezing my leg just as the conductor, Geoffrey Paterson, arrives to the appreciation of the audience and the orchestra.
Prokofiev's overture is now playing and I can yet again pleasantly confirm that the sound and the physicality (which cannot be achieved by simply playing a recording) can only be felt with a large, full orchestra, playing live. For us. Right now. Right here.
I love the harmonies of Prokofiev's work and am grateful for how much Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Rodgers & Hart and all the of their contemporaries have "borrowed" from, among others, Prokofiev which in turn gave us all the songs we know and love from the American Song Book.
The curtain goes up and I'm greeted by a sight, sound, a stage, dancers, a choreography, a scenography and lighting that attests to talent, care, a team, a will and not least a passion for creating the very best we can. On stage we now see Cinderella - and we're off. Throughout three acts I am immersed in the orchestra's sound, the dancers, the stage design and the story. Once again, I'm shown what music physically looks like. With a glass of wine during each intermission and with my girlfriend who appreciates it all as much as I, only adds to the whole experience.
After a few hours in the real world of the imagination, we go out through the doors to Kongens Nytorv square. Once again surprised by the beautiful square that is no longer hidden, but nearly back to its former glory. I feel so much in love with my girlfriend, with Copenhagen, with music and with what music looks like: dance. I feel a need to shout this love from the roofs of the city, but I end up kissing my girlfriend in the back seat of the taxi.
This morning I woke up and thought about the old theater in the middle of Copenhagen. It is so great that we have this fine, old place. A place where they still grow, refine and develop the fine arts. The arts that require talent, patience, dedication, craftsmanship and passion. It is so great that there is both tradition and innovation - and everything in between, while understanding that both ends are connected. And it is so great that there's always a full house (Cinderella is already, nearly sold out). It is so great that every time I am at the theatre, I see all ages and types. It is so cool that in we in Copenhagen have the Royal Danish Orchestra. And that they are so insanely good. It is so great to experience dancers who are so dedicated, skilled and make this poetic extreme-sport look so playfully easy (they are all superheroes!!). It is so great to see the ballet company give one of their own principle dancers (Gregory Dean) the (well-deserved) trust in creating a full evening ballet - and that he so naturally enriches us all with his talent. An undeniable talent that can only assure that it will not be the last time we will see this side of his talent!
And to think, we have all of this in Copenhagen!
I love our beautiful capital and everything it has and gives. I'm so proud that we have such an old, beautiful theatre in Copenhagen where dedicated people continuously, inspire and enrich us all. A theater that is a living proof that we are a true European capital. It makes me all so very proud !!
Have a great Sunday!
The Royal Theater Gregory Dean The Royal Danish Ballet The Royal Danish Orchestra
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