– P. Keres.
In the spotlight of the ballet stands Paul Keres, the master of Estonian chess, who holds a dignified status on the global chess arena and who has both enjoyed the glory of a national hero and carried on his shoulders the tragedy of the country and its people. As an active chess player he encountered the loss of a homeland, a failed attempt to emigrate, endless suspicion from the Soviet authorities and the obstacles set by the system to a possible world championship.
The inspiration for the composition originates from the rhythm and tempo of chess as an academic sport, the gracefulness of the chessmen, the minimalism of black and white, the immense contrast and tension, and on the sideline Keres’ involvement in the turbulent world politics. There occurs an inspiring parallel between the sense of time in music and chess: actual time vs perceived time.
MUSICIANS IN A BOX
Ülar Mark the architect designed six boxes on the stage, frames for six musicians – six instruments, six chessmen. Boxes are repressing, living in a box-shaped society makes a person’s actions predictable. As to sounds, boxes make it possible to approach every swing of the bow or the air individually, focus on microscopic nuances, create new syntheses and combinations.
Teet Kask, whose most recent productions include Anna Karenina and Swan Lake at Milano Ballet, is a choreographer of international recognition. He has worked at Estonian National Opera, Royal Swedish Ballet, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet. Kask’s oeuvre consists of more than fifty dance performances.
Sander Mölder is a multifaceted composer, music producer and a DJ. Having started as a classically trained cellist, his compositions are a mix of contemporary electronic soundscapes and classical music. As a musician and a DJ he has toured and played on several stages around the world including the Royal Albert Hall in London, Primavera Festival in Spain and Open’er festival in Poland.
Timo Steiner is a composer with an open mind whose music is characterised by playful stylistic contrasts, variant development and a mosaic-like or block-based structure. His pieces have been played in the United States, Germany and Russia.
Ülar Mark is an architect urbanist and the founder of KODA – a holistic solution for housing and accommodation that adjusts to the political, economic, social and urban needs. Mark’s most popular works are some gallery of Eesti Pank, Tallink Spa Hotel etc. In addition, he has successfully participated in many competitions, compiled urban city projects.
Andri Luup is the main link to sources in this production. He digs into books and interprets the consonance and dissonance of art and sport in chess playing. Luup has staged numerous plays and films, worked as a set designer, written scripts for narrative films and documentaries and acted in theatre.
Margus Vaigur is the head lighting designer of Endla Theatre in Pärnu. He has also worked at Estonian National Opera and teaches at Viljandi Culture Academy of Tartu University.
Kaarel Tamra, a creative concert and studio sound designer, is the embodiment of Keres’ humor and zestfulness. His task was to make the musical boxes sing, and make sure the acoustic creations of the composers reach the ears of the audience. His work is as exciting as a chess game, mixing different layers, six individual musicians, the choir singing magical piano, dancers jumping around… His previous experience is also impressive – Miljardid, Lenna, Estonian Voices, Liisi Koikson, Mick Pedaja, Siiri Sisask, Kirke Karja, Regatt, Kerli Kõiv, Levski, Gram-of-Fun, Maarja Nuut, Rasmus Rändvee, ERSO, Kristjan Järvi…
Taavi “Miisu” Varm is a visual artist who specialises in combining spatial design with projected media. Miisu has created video designs for numerous plays and performances, integrating hi-tech solutions to reduce the gap between technology and the performance unfolding on stage in real time. He also specialises in grand-scale mapping projects. Currently, he is pursuing a masters degree at the Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.
YXUS Ensemble, inspired by innovative approaches and musical experimentation, aims to touch the audience and engulf them in music in an unexpected and unique manner. Excitement and novelty are the keywords that best describe the approach taken by this musical collective. On the stage: Eneli Hiiemaa (flute), Egert Leinsaar (violin), Laur Eensalu (viola), Leho Karin (cello), Eduard Akulin (trombone), Jana Peäske (piano).
Kaspars Putniņš has served as the artistic director and chief conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir since the 2014/2015 season. As visiting conductor, Kaspars Putniņš has stood before such reknown European choirs as the BBC Singers, RIAS Kammerchor, the Berliner Rundfunkchor, NDR Kammerchor, Netherlands Radio Choir, Collegium Vocale Gent, Flemish Radio Choir, etc. He has been awarded the Latvian music grand prix (1998), and the Latvian Council of Ministers Prize for cultural and scientific achievements (2000).
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is the most renowned Estonian music collective in the world. Its repertoire reaches from Gregorian chant and baroque music to contemporary compositions.
The dancers of the Estonian National Ballet are the best of the best on the local dance scene. The company includes the most talented and proficient local talent, and also carefully selected dancers from abroad. Recently, the National Ballet successfully premiered “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Nancy Meckler and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, based on Tennessee Williams’ play of the same name.