Vesalii Icones, Patrick Harding Irmer

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Patrick Harding Irmer in Vesalii Icones

Patrick Harding Irmer in Vesalii Icones

This is a rare opportunity for Sydney audiences to experience a classic music-dance-theatre work. A solo dancer, a cellist, an instrumental ensemble, a live snake, and the Images of Vesalius (14 engravings by the great 16th century anatomist from flayed gallows specimens) are the potent ingredients of music theatre innovator Peter Maxwell Davies’ Vesalii Icones (1969). This is not a music theatre dialogue between voice and accompanying instruments, but between a modern Christ, the dancer, moving through the Stations of the Cross, and instrumentalists with a theatrical life of their own, principally the cello, described by Paul Griffiths in Modern Music after 1945 (OUP 1995) as the dancer’s shadow, partner, or ideal.” Griffiths regards the work as “the most intense” of all Maxwell Davies’ creations, its blend of high seriousness and parodic pastiche a kind of violence—“the violence shown on stage is a violence which the music is doing to itself.” Patrick Harding-Irmer is the dancer, one-time Australian Dance Theatre artistic director Jonathan Taylor directs and choreographs, and Mark Summerbell conducts The Seymour Group.

Vesalii Icones, Music Theatre Sydney, Newtown Theatre, October 8 – 10. Bookings 9519 5081

RealTime issue #27 Oct-Nov 1998 pg. 14

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 October 1998
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