Rising Alternative

Hamburg Ballet

Bach Christmas Oratorio

Johann Sebastian Bach

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John Neumeier comments: “My choreography to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is not a religious undertaking. It is not ‘sacred dance’ and should neither be regarded as an alternative to a church service, nor as the propaganda of a Christian missionary. In the past, I took a similar approach in creating Bach’s St. Matthew Passion – choreographing movements, characters and situations, intended for presentation in a theatre, inspired by music that still touches us today. We perform to Bach’s music, for a few hours unifying individuals of many different cultural and religious backgrounds. For me, the basic human values expressed through the choreography are always the most important thing. Therefore, in my ballet, Mary is known simply as ‘the Mother’ and Joseph as ‘her Husband’.”

John Neumeier choreographed the first three parts of the Christmas Oratorio as a complete ballet in 2007. Six years later, in 2013, he continues his work changing parts of the earlier version and combining them with a newly created second part to the last three cantatas of the oratorio to create a new ballet. For the choreographer, it is important to emphasise that two different but equally valued ballets exist alongside each other. “The opus number of the ballet set to the first three parts is different to that of the entire Christmas Oratorio. What we are now presenting is in fact the premiere of a new work that comprises all six Bach cantatas”, adds John Neumeier.


ConductorAllesandro de Marchi

ChoreographerJohn Neumeier

CastLloyd Riggins | Anna Laudere | Edvin Revazov | Carsten Jung

Number of actsBallet in 6 parts

Total running time163 min

Running time by actTBA

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