Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa
Music and geometry have always been central to the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. In Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa, these interests form a bond through a symbol—the rose. With a long history of symbolism in art history and literature, the rose often represents secrecy and mystery. ‘Sub rosa’—Latin for ‘under the rose’—refers to ‘that which is not spoken’, but here we can consider this through the lens of ‘that which is danced’.
run time 150 minutes
language Language no problem
Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa
De Keersmaeker’s oeuvre is full of partnerships with musical compositions, and now she establishes another with the Mystery or Rosary sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. Written around 1676, the Mystery Sonatas is a musical translation of the fifteen Sacred Mysteries of the life of the Virgin Mary. Composed with the intention of serving a religious practice, these sonatas assisted the recitation of the rosary beads. Just as the rosary is typically divided into three ‘decades’, Biber’s Mysteries are divided into three cycles: five joyful, five sorrowful, and five glorious sonatas.
Although the music is intrinsically filled with biblical narratives, it is simultaneously an invitation to dance. Found inside are musical dance forms such as gigues, allemandes, and courantes. This dancing nature combined with a cyclical and numerological approach, makes Biber’s work a terrain rich with inspiration for choreography. Similar to other works of De Keersmaeker, a ‘basic phrase’ provides a foundation, this time created through memories of the past.
In this choreography, roses are not simply at play because of their beauty, but because of their resistance—with every rose comes its thorns. The dancing body, as an individual or a community, becomes an act of resistance, while Biber’s music, rich in virtuosity and narrative, opens a door to it.
Intriguingly, this music enlists the technique ‘scordatura’, where the violin is tuned in a way that what is played according to the score is not what will be heard. This highly virtuosic technique is performed live by violinist Amandine Beyer, along with her ensemble Gli Incogniti. They share the stage with six dancers as they move chronically through the sonatas.
This work is dedicated to women of resistance—Rosa Bonheur, Rosa Luxemburg, Rosa Parks, Rosa Vergaelen, and Rosa, the 15-year-old climate activist who died in the Belgian floodings of 2021.
Choreography Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
Danced by Lav Crnčević, Sophia Dinkel, José Paulo dos Santos, Rafa Galdino, Frank Gizycki, Mariana Miranda, Mamadou Wagué
Music Mystery Sonatas, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
Music direction Amandine Beyer
Musicians Gli Incogniti:
Amandine Beyer, violin
Baldomero Barciela Varela, viole de gambe
Ignacio Laguna Navarro, theorbo and baroque guitar
Francesco Romano, archluth
Anna Fontana, harpsichord and organ
Set and lighting design Minna Tiikkainen
Rehearsal director Diane Madden
Costumes Fauve Ryckebusch
Research Lieze Eneman, Tessa Hall
Technical director Freek Boey
Artistic coordination and planning Anne Van Aerschot
Artistic assistant Martine Lange
Tourmanager Jolijn Talpe
Costume coordinator Alexandra Verschueren
assistedbyEls Van Buggenhout
Sewing Emmanuelle Erhart, Ester Manas, Martha Verleyen
Wardrobe Chiara Mazzarolo, Emma Zune
Stage Management and Light Jonathan Maes
Sound Alban Moraud, Guillaume Jay
Stage Technicians Jan Balfoort, Calvin Ferdinando Carrier, Jarno Drofman, Quentin Maesr
Coproduction Concertgebouw Brugge, De Munt / La Monnaie(Brussel/Bruxelles), Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels, Théâtre de la Ville à Paris, Spoleto Festival dei due Mondi
Acknowledgements Ester Manas, Steven Fillet, La Fille d'O, Boštjan Antončič, Michaël Pomero, Marie Goudot, Yuika Hashimoto, David Durán
Premiere 16.02.2022, Concertgebouw Brugge
This production is realized with the support of the Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government, in collaboration with Casa Kafka Pictures –Belfius.
Rosas is supported by the Flemish Community and by the BNP Paribas Foundation.