A unique fusion of music, dance and film at Forum Karlín

Ballets in film

Visitors to Forum Karlín on Thursday, 19 March 2020 will witness a performance by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in a form that can only be described as singular. Under the baton of conductor Marek Šedivý the orchestra will play a concert rendition of the famous ballets Daphnis and Chloe, by Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird.

There might not be anything so dramaturgically revolutionary about this were it not for the fact that both works are also to be accompanied by a big-screen projection of these ballets filmed in 2014–2017. Another point of interest is that the music will not follow the film; quite the contrary: the video recording will be continually synchronised with the current tempo of the orchestra. The mastermind behind this unique approach to connecting a film and live musical accompaniment is the renowned Dutch director Lucas van Woerkum, and Czech audiences will be seeing his work in this scope for the first time ever.

Even with his 2007 “Sophia” début it was obvious that uniting a motion picture or documentary with an unforgettable musical element was to be this filmmaker's main focus in the future. Back in his art student days in Utrecht, he attracted attention with the film “Mahler: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”, documenting preparation for a rendition of Mahler's Symphony No. 9 by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly. Subsequently, Van Woerkum made an impressive visualisation of part of Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 in the film “Moderato” and, under contract to the Netherlands Film Fund, he filmed the prose “Naar Anna” by writer Anna Maria Versloot.

In 2008 he made the film “Andante”, paying tribute to Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2. The film “Lento”, based on the composition “365” by Joey Roukens, won an award for best photography and best music at the 48 Hour Film Festival. In 2009 Van Woerkum made a music documentary about Dutch composer Willem Jeths, and also created TV broadcast portraits of the Matangi Quartet, Cello Octet Amsterdam and composer Arvo Pärta. In 2013 the director completed the documentary “The Making of Sunken Garden” about the creation and production of composer Michel van der Aa's contemporary opera.

The films “Daphnis and Chloe” and “The Firebird”, which are to be shown to the audience at the concert in Prague, are Lucas van Woerkum's most recent achievements and were created as part of his Symphonic Cinema project. Under this title, the director prepares motion pictures for screening in concert halls. The music is synchronised to the film using specially developed software. Van Woerkum first tried this idea out in June 2010 when presenting his first work, “Sophia”, in the Great Hall of the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with the University of Amsterdam orchestra. In that same year, using the same technology, he was commissioned to film composer Willem Jeths' “Scale” for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His film “The Isle of the Dead”, based on live music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, premièred in the spring of 2011. Due to major media interest, it was also shown at the Van Gogh Museum alongside Arnold Böcklin's picture of the same name. Van Woerkum subsequently gained recognition with both “The Firebird” and “Daphnis and Chloe” literally the world over: both works were successfully shown in locations such as the Great Hall of the Royal Concertgebouw, the Peking National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Barbican Center in London.

Tickets to the concert can be purchased here.