Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness

Nacho Duato

In co-production with Weimar 1999, Cultural European Capital

Pre-premiere in Spain at Teatro Calderón, Valladolid, on the 9th of April, 1999.

Vielfältigkeit. Formen von Stille und Leere is the result of the co production between the city of Weimar -European Cultural Capital in 1999- and the CND. A ballet was commissioned to Nacho Duato which somehow had some special link with the city. For Duato the answer could only be one: Bach. Nacho’s ballet is therefore inspired in the music and life of Johan Sebastian Bach and is divided into two parts.


The first one, Vielfältigkeit, is a choreographic reflexion which arises mainly from the wonderful music of the brilliant composer. This first part is characterized by a choreographic variety and diversity which matches the linked different musical excerpts by Bach. Continuos changes in costumes and settings highlight visually this musical collage.

The second part, Formen von Stille und Leere, maintains a more introspective tone, more mystic and spiritual, reflecting upon the subject of the death, so present in the work of Bach. Musically speaking it is based mainly on the Arte of Fugue.

Folding: towards a visual conception

Stage design, J.S. Bach Vielfaeltigkeit, Formen von stille und Leere

Vielfaeltigkeit, i.e. multiple-folds, diversity, multiplicity, labyrinth, refers to the processual idea of folding. The Baroque refers not to an essence but rather to an operative function to a trait. It endlessly produces folds. The Baroque trait twists turns its folds, pushing them to infinity fold over fold, one upon the other. The Baroque unfurls all the way to infinity.

An architectural conceptions invisions the thematic of Baroque music of J. S. Bach, through the process of folding. In architecture, the fold provides a model for theories of metamorphosis and covering (Bekleidung, Gottfried von Semper). Folds are maneuverable borders which separate an interior from the exterior, yet also create an interior within the exterior and an exterior within the interior. Considered abstractly, it is only the type of bend -concave or convex- that determines inside and outside, meaning the gender of the space. In this unfixed state, the fold provides a model of transformation.

A scaffold set at the back of a stage acting as building retaining a curtain wall, that transforms itself from opened to closed entity. This architectural gender of the Baroque, represents the separation of the façade (exterior) and the closed room (interior), the outer facade of reception and the inner rooms of action. Baroque architecture is always confronting to principles, a bearing principle and a covering principle. The geometrically ordered scaffold enhances several floors all connected through ramps creating a fluid movement. These ramps represent vertical folding, spatial continuum, all set in diagonal relations (dynamic) within a rigid structure (static).

In contrast to the building, the façade consist of an elastically membrane that transforms itself through contractions and extensions. These contractions provide literal models of folds, simulating zones of intervals and densification.

Jaffar Chalabi