Mark Morris’s “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato,” a dance of exacting and distinctive artistry, speaks to the fortitude of the human situation in each physique and thoughts. There may be euphoria and disappointment, silliness and thoughtfulness, mirth and melancholy. There may be the best way you are feeling watching “L’Allegro,” too: overwhelmed and overcome, but one way or the other, additionally, at peace.
Morris was solely 32 when he made “L’Allegro.” It was 1988, and his youngish firm was in residence on the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the place he had changed Maurice Béjart, a much-loved choreographer of questionable style. Morris, a rising star in New York, was met with hostility. What would your subsequent transfer be if a newspaper headline instructed you to go house? Morris created a masterwork.
On Thursday, “L’Allegro” returned to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the place it had its United States premiere in 1990, with the corporate’s glorious music ensemble, led by Colin Fowler, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Road with Downtown Voices. In New York, this two-act work has additionally been carried out at Lincoln Middle; there, it has more room to breath. The academy, by comparability, is cramped, with problematic website strains.
However “L’Allegro” remains to be “L’Allegro,” and on this iteration there have been recent faces, in addition to the welcome return of veterans, together with Maile Okamura and Elisa Clark. Of its 24 performers, half had been new to the manufacturing, together with the apprentice Taína Lyons, at 22 the youngest dancer within the Mark Morris Dance Group, who was fleet of foot and lovable.
The manufacturing — set to Handel’s oratorio (1740) that attracts primarily from Milton’s poems “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso” — feels each prescient and uncanny. Now, together with articulate singing our bodies that sweep on and off the stage as if caught in sudden gusts of wind, there may be the ominous backdrop of the current. It’s the third 12 months of a pandemic. Opening evening was a month to the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Doesn’t a line like, “The place brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings,” from “L’Allegro,” tackle new, harrowing that means?
At a time when melancholy can simply overshadow pleasure, Morris’s “L’Allegro” is greater than an incandescent night of music and dance. It’s the place artwork, and the reflection of it, impart one thing concerning the motion of residing. It’s hope.
Within the work, the poems characterize totally different states of thoughts: L’Allegro is a cheerful extrovert whereas il Penseroso is a meditative introvert. Handel and Charles Jennens organized the poems, including “il Moderato,” written by Jennens, as a technique to even out the temper. For his dance, Morris was additionally impressed by William Blake’s watercolors that illustrated Milton’s poems. With its colourful, altering panels by the surroundings designer Adrianne Lobel; lighting by James F. Ingalls; and flowing, Grecian costumes by Christine Van Loon, “L’Allegro” doesn’t simply call to mind the concept of a shifting portray, it regularly is one.
Morris, repeating and layering gestures in a manner that renders the stage a imaginative and prescient of refined simplicity, has his dancers gliding out and in of scenes that remodel them into parts and species of the pure world — in a single scene, they’re a stunning flock of birds — in addition to nymphs, gods, lovers and buddies. There may be the camaraderie of people dancing; the sunshine, litheness of ballet; and the grounded shapes of contemporary dance. With playfulness, dancers run in place or, in a comic book male part, smack each other after which pause for a cheek-to-cheek kiss.
Arms curve generously; our bodies lean and bend, stopping simply brief, it typically appears, of toppling sideways. There may be daring inside the decorum. In a luminous strolling dance, the solid turns into a series by linking one hand within the bend of an elbow whereas the opposite rests on the waist. Morris rebuilds an historical world — one in all manners and restraint — proper earlier than our eyes.
In one other part, Dallas McMurray transforms himself right into a chook, hopping up and down with legs tightly cinched as his arms float at his sides, a imaginative and prescient of perpetual movement — so whimsical and but so delicate. And Sarah Haarmann, in her “L’Allegro” debut, was beautiful from the second she stepped onstage. She strikes as if she had been manufactured from air.
Within the “Candy Hen” part, Haarmann, with fluttering toes and trembling fingers, was virtually angelic whereas gliding by means of passages of choreography. With out dashing or blurring gestures, she allowed fragments of motion to path behind her — by means of her limbs, her head, her neck — even when she was onto the subsequent step. She was easy, virtually as if she was dreaming of dancing.
However a lot was spectacular: Mica Bernas and Karlie Budge holding palms for braveness as they fought their well beyond dancers posing as hounds; Lesley Garrison’s grounded, unguarded power; Brandon Randolph’s candy buoyancy. Actually, although, “L’Allegro” is a bunch expertise, amongst not simply the dancers but in addition the singers and the orchestra. They maintain your ear and eye as they create concord and connection. Their world and extra essential, the world, good and unhealthy, comes into candid focus.
If, at current, the road separating artwork and life appears a lot too thick to interrupt, “L’Allegro,” wherein emotion lives within the rhythm and line of our bodies, exists someplace on a 3rd airplane. Inside Morris’s theatrical body, we see exaltation and sorrow in addition to a group; however extra, we really feel a group and with it, resoluteness and energy.
As “L’Allegro” builds to its attractive finale, the dancers, greedy palms and flashing grateful smiles at each other, run onto the stage in neat, orderly strains and peel away into the wings misplaced within the rush of the second. Within the remaining few seconds, they collect on the heart of the stage and organize themselves into three concentric spinning circles. After which, all of the sudden, they cease. What simply occurred? In a phrase, all the pieces.
L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
By means of Sunday on the Brooklyn Academy of Music; bam.org