From October 24 to November 2, award-winning choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui presents his latest opera, “Shell Shock”, at La Monnaie in Brussels, the National Opera of Belgium, with the support of the BNP Paribas Foundation.
Twelve poems or cantos, written in English by Nick Cave, an Australian songwriter and novelist, and set to music by Nicholas Lens, a Belgian composer of modern music, evoke the anonymous protagonists of the war: an orphan, a nurse, a survivor, a prisoner, et al.
As Choreographic Director, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has created the movement sequences for five lyric singers and ten dancers, who are backed by a symphony orchestra and the resident La Monnaie choirs. The overall effect of this moving performance is to deliver a palpable shock to the audience.
In 2014, one hundred years after the outbreak of the Great War, its story continues to inspire artists. The horror of shell shock, a form of what is today known as post-traumatic stress, has come down to us through the 20th century, giving rise to the creation of works haunted by the weight of the past. The opera is subsequently scheduled to go on tour from this year until 2018 in countries that were impacted by this first great world conflict.
The BNP Paribas Foundation is a noted sponsor of modern dance and has promoted the careers of a number of choreographers. One of these is Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, whose dance company Eastman has enjoyed support from the Foundation since 2012. In Shell Shock, the BNP Paribas Foundation is delighted to be supporting a work of European scale.
Photography credits: ©FilipVanRoe-Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui-rehearsal Shell Shock