Les Grands Ballets Canadiens presents

Léonce & Léna


Christian Spuck’s fifth full-length ballet was inspired by the comic political satire Leonce and Lena (1838) by Georg Büchner, author of Woyzeck. It premiered at the Aalto Ballett Theatre in Essen, Germany, in April 2008. Prince Leonce of the Kingdom of Popo is languishing in never-ending boredom; Princess Lena, from the neighbouring Kingdom of Pipi, acutely feels the insularity and absurdity of the world around her. Before a romance can blossom between the unsuspecting royal pair, the two must escape from the farcical conventions of their respective microstates. Well aware that their marriage has been arranged since childhood, they each decide to flee their homeland. At a bustling inn just beyond their borders, they meet and fall in love incognito. Can the court, reduced to an absurd puppet show,” finally celebrate their union? It is the satiric elements, employed by Büchner to criticize the absolutist, end-of-reign society in which he lived, that are highlighted in this choreography. Among other pieces, Christian Spuck uses the ethereal—and at times grotesque—compositions by the Waltz King, Johann Strauss, to galvanize this tragicomic tale and underscore its parodic aspects.

Christian Spuck
Born in Marburg, Germany, Christian Spuck received his ballet education at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart from which he graduated in 1993. Before joining the Stuttgart Ballet in 1995, he danced with Jan Lauwer’s Needcompany and with Anne Teresa de Keersmaker’s Company Rosas. In June 2001, Stuttgart Ballet Director Reid Anderson promoted Christian Spuck to Choreographer in Residence of the company. Since then, Spuck has created fifteen world premieres, including two full-length ballets, and has contributed significantly to the modern profile of the Stuttgart Ballet.

Georg Büchner
Georg Büchner was born in 1813 in Germany to an army doctor and physicist who primed him from an early age with a scientific approach to the world, which would later manifest itself in the sharp, realistic, and critical nature of his writing. Büchner studied medecine in Strasbourg where he immersed himself in French literature and political thought. Caught up in the movement inspired by the Paris uprising of 1830, he founded a radical society, the Society for Human Rights. He escaped arrest by fleeing to Zürich, where he wrote most of his literary work, including Leonce and Lena. Long regarded as a light, romantic comedy, the play is however a satire employed by Büchner to criticize the absolutist end-of-reign society in which he lived. His three plays were clearly influenced in style by William Shakespeare and by the German Romantic Sturm und Drang movement. Georg Büchner is now recognized as one of the outstanding figures in German dramatic literature.

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Beginning an hour before each performance, spectators are invited to pre-show talks. These exciting half-hour talks are a rare opportunity to gain insight on the work presented.  Each pre-show talk will be hosted by journalist Shelley Pomerance who will share anecdotes on the production’s creative process, inspiration, music and costumes.

Purchase a ticket at the cost of 5$ at Place des Arts ticket office counter. Admission is free for Les Grands Ballets subscribers. Please note that for individual ticket holders, both the performance ticket and the pre-show talk ticket will be required at the entrance.

For more information on the 2014-2015 season, please visit : www.grandsballets.com

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