Dedicated to Chekhov on the 150th anniversary of his birth.
In collaboration with the International Anton Chekhov Theatre Festival of Moscow, with support by the Government of Russia and the City Council of Moscow.
Premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at the Teatro Real (Madrid) on 17th February 2010.
“Jardín infinito (Infinite Garden)” is a homage to Anton P. Chekhov. I have attempted to impregnate myself with the personality of that great writer, of how he lived and what he felt for his fellow men and the world around him. Infinite Garden is not based on any specific work by Chekhov. I did not want situations, references or anecdotes related to them to constitute the basis for my work, which is definitively abstract. I have sought inspiration in his world, his personality and work to obtain a specific, personal vision of it all.
My first choice for the music was four hymns by Alfred Schnitke, both due to their intrinsic beauty, as well as due to considering them in tune with the tone of Chekhov. I also asked Pedro Alcalde and Sergio Caballero to create original music to shelter these hymns and locate them in a sound architecture to provide a backdrop to the overall ballet. To do so, they have produced a work based with words and texts taken from Chekhov’s Notebook, accompanied by non-rhythmic micro-compositions for different percussion instruments. The choreography does not use the words and texts literally, but it does always consider their extreme musical value. In their overall structuring work, they have added a Sacred Hymn by Schnitke for a capella chorus, and a small fragment with sounds from nature, although abstracted from all reference value.
The set, designed by Jaffar Chalabi, may transport us to unending very different sceneries. We may be viewing the skyline of Moscow or the landscape of the steppes. We may imagine the roofs of the houses or also a mountain. When the structure is placed at ground level, it also allows us to remember the space and suggest more intimate ambiances, such as the room where Chekhov wrote, or even an alley from one of his tales. When the structure is raised and suspended at a certain height, we may view open spaces in nature, landscapes and woods. However, it always maintains the abstract nature that this creation has always intended.
Another doctor and writer, Arthur Schnitzler, (a contemporary of Chekhov) defined the human soul as an “ample land”. That is the ample land that Chekhov spent his whole life observing, describing and cultivating with the care with which one cares for a garden. His clear vision of the fragile nature and complexity of human relations has reached us thanks to his work. The title, InfiniteGarden, refers to that. I also consider that the work of all great spirits is infinite, that it never ends and will never die.”