Richard Wherlock’s full-length ballet “Tevye" premiered on November 20, 2015 at the Basel State Theater. The masterful modern narrative ballet was an instant success.
Tevye is forced to watch as his family falls apart and his home is taken away. Yet he never loses his faith in God and his truly irrepressible humour. This story, made popular by the hit musical “Fiddler on the Roof” (“Anatevka”), serves as a memorial to the lost world of the shtetl. No nostalgic romanticism or prettified idylls distort its view of the bitter reality of life for the Jews of Eastern Europe and the catastrophes which began to loom on the horizon at the beginning of the 20th century: revolutions, pogroms and banishment.
Richard Wherlock transposes the story of the moving hero from Sholem Aleichem’s classic of Yiddish literature and re-tells it through dance. Joy, suffering and the pains of love all find expression here as does the theme of tradition, handing down beliefs, rituals and customs which at that time and in that place repeatedly provokes people to revolt against stifling convention.
Wherlock’s style of contemporary dance blends with the exhilarating and moving music of Olivier Truan, who has written the newly created full orchestra score for “Tevye”. Truan composes fascinating and stylistically open music which combines Jewish musical traditions and Eastern European styles with jazz improvisations and the unique sound of his quintet Kolsimcha.
Coupled with this thrilling music, Richard Wherlock’s ballet “Tevye” promises a whirlwind of dancing virtuosity, exuberant pleasure and surprising moments of beauty.
An evening of world class dance and music, not to be missed!
Born in Bristol (GB). After studying at London’s prestigious Ballet Rambert School, he joined their company as a dancer. Wherlock was Ballet Director at Hagen Theatre in Germany from 1991 to 1996, then spending three seasons as director of the Lucerne Ballet before moving to Komische Oper Berlin as artistic director and choreographer of BerlinBallett. He has been director and head choreographer of Ballett Basel since the 2001/2002 season, and artistic director of the renowned festival “basel tanzt” from 2004 to 2009. Richard Wherlock has been Director and Head Choreographer of Ballett Basel since 2001/2002 and has created many choreographies
for the company. He has enjoyed particular success with his adaptations of great classics such as “A Swan Lake”, “James or La Sylphide”, “Traviata – a Ballet”, “Carmen”, “Giselle”, or “Eugene Onegin” and other fulllength narrative ballets which he has reinterpreted using contemporary dance techniques. He worked as choreographer with, among others, the following companies: New English Contemporary Ballet, Tanzforum Köln, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Finnish Dance Theatre Helsinki, Ballett Staatstheater Braunschweig, Romanian National Ballet, The Icelandic Ballet, Ballet National de Nancy et de Lorraine, Ballet National de Marseille, Ballet de l’Opéra de Nice, aalto ballett theater essen, Europa Danse (UNESCO), Ballett der Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, Singapore Dance Theatre, Ballett der Vereinigten Bühnen Graz, Introdans in Arnheim/Holland, Ballett des Badischen Staatstheaters Karlsruhe, Phoenix Dance Theatre Leeds and Ballet Contemporaneo del Teatro San Martín/Argentina. Wherlock also created a full-length ballet for Les Étoiles de l’Opéra National de Paris. His film and TV work includes the choreography for Claude Lelouch’s cinema production “Hasards ou Coïncidences”, presented in 1998 at the Venice Biennale and at the Montréal and Chicago festivals. In 2000, Wherlock received the Prix Italia for the award-winning dance film “Passengers”, produced by the Swiss broadcasting company DRS, RM Associates and 3SAT. His most recent film success “One bullet left” – also produced by Swiss broadcasting company DRS – was awarded the Golden Rose of Montreux in 2003. In 1999 he was nominated for the international dance award “Benois de la Danse”. Richard Wherlock’s particular interest lies in supporting talented up-and-coming dancers. He serves on the juries of numerous international dance competitions and president of the Migros scholarship jury.
Richard Wherlock could be described as a gentle innovator of Ballet in Switzerland: building on the legacy of the classic and modern vocabulary, he choreographs contemporary dance that is brimming with energy and brings it to the stage in traditional story-telling form, as full-length narrative ballets. His choreographies are a mix of effervescent, athletic tension and playful virtuosity and his pas de deux in particular reveals a highly creative imagination. Today, the company comprises 30 male and female dancers and is hugely popular with audiences in Basel. Particularly successful are his adaptations of the great classics, such as A Swan Lake, Traviata-Ein Ballett, Carmen, Giselle, Eugen Onegin or his enchanting fairytale ballet Snow White and other full-length narrative ballets, which Wherlock has reinterpreted in his own, incomparable way. As well as his own choreographies, full-length narrative ballets and short pieces, Wherlock regularly invites guest choreographers such as Jirí Kylián, Mauro Bigonzetti, Angelin Preljocaj, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger and many other big names to work with his Dance Company.
Olivier Truan studied piano at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he received a Bachelor of Music with Magna Cum Laude. After further studies at the Manhattan School of Music and the Academy of Music in Basel, he collaborated on a number of recordings and concerts with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lew Soloff, Rick Margitza and many others.He has been composer and musical director of many theatre plays in Germany and Switzerland, including “Bullets over Broadway”, “Ghetto”, “Der Revisor”, “Die Vögel”, and “Hochzeit” at the state theatres of Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf.
Olivier Truan co-composed the Jazz musical “Marilyn” for the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in München, and composed the ballet “La Fermosa”. He also composed music for the choreographies “Mayday” and “Ballettabend II” at the state theatre of Basel and the music for the play “Das Geisterschiff” featuring Kolsimcha.
He co-wrote the soundtrack to the motion pictures “Gripsholm” by academy award winner Xavier Koller, and “Anna annA” by Jürgen Brauer. As a classical composer he has written many concertos and pieces for small ensembles, which have been performed throughout Europe. He was commissioned by the “Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt” to write 4 concertos for performance by François Leleux, David Frühwirth, Beni Santora, Ariel Zuckermann, and Michael Heitzler.Olivier Truan has also become one of the world's leading sound programmers. His award winning sample CD- ROMs are regarded as standard works in digital piano libraries and are used by artists such as Elton John, Chick Corea, Prince and Stevie Wonder.
Started his career at Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague, The Netherlands, making his first light designs for
company dancer and choreographer Jorma Elo.
As a freelance set and light designer Jordan has since worked for internationally acclaimed companies such as the Royal Ballet (UK), Bolshoi Ballet (RUS), Dutch National Ballet (NED), Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Scottish Ballet (UK), Royal Ballet Flanders (BEL), Royal New Zealand Ballet, Atlanta Ballet (USA), Stanislavski Music Theatre (RUS), Ballet BC (Can), Aspen Santa Fé Ballet (USA), Opera Nova Bydgoszcz (POL), Croatian National Ballet, the Tbilisi State Opera & Ballet Theatre (GEO) and a multitude of theatre companies and commercial- and governmental institutions in The Netherlands.
At Ballet Basel Jordan has designed the lights for almost all of company director Richard Wherlock’s extensive oeuvre in the last 11 years, amongst which “Swan Lake”, “La Traviata”, “Carmen”, “The Fairy Queen” and now “Tevye”.
Bruce French is a visual artist, a multidisciplinarian working across the creative spectrum, as well as exhibiting art works internationally Bruce has worked creatively designing projects from Dance to Drama, Opera, Music, Fashion, TV and unique immersive events.
In Dance he has worked with Ballet Theatre Basel, Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Rambert, Atlanta Ballet, Czech National Ballet, National Ballet of Bulgaria amongst others.
Commercially he has created many shows for performers such as The Rolling Stones, Florence and the machine, the Killers, Kylie Minogue, Mariah Carey, the Brit awards and ground breaking immersive fashion shows for L’Oréal.