Van Gogh echoes across Perth…

Oliver Edwardson, Matthew Edwardson and Isaak Westhead as Sunflowers in Wubkje Kuindersma's echoes of VAN GOGH. Photo by Bradbury Photograpy

Last year Perth audiences were mesmerized when the digital exhibition Van Gogh Alive came to town. Thousands of people poured into the specially built space which gave an insight into the life of the talented but desperately unhappy artist and his breadth of work.

This year West Australian Ballet have taken Van Gogh’s life and work to the next level with the world premiere of the contemporary ballet echoes of Van Gogh.

Celebrating a decade with the company this ballet is another triumph for artistic director Aurelien Scanella.

“Never before in the 71-year history of our company have we attempted a work of this ambition.

“I’ve always believed we are here to take risks and challenge our dancers and audiences alike and I could not be more proud of the incredible team for this extraordinary opportunity – to bring the world right to Perth’s doorstep,” said Scanella. 

Echoes of Van Gogh is the brainchild of Dutch choreographer Wubkje Kuindersma who visited Perth to present her award winning work Architecture of Hope, a co-production with West Australian Ballet and the Dutch National Opera at the Ballet at the Quarry season in 2020. 

Ludovico Di Ubaldo as Vincent in Wubkje Kuindersma’s echoes of VAN GOGH. Photo by Bradbury Photograpy

Scanella said he was captivated by her passion and perspective and during her tenure then asked her about producing a full length ballet.

For the last three years Kuindersma has spent creating this ballet saying that the inspiration and driving force behind echoes of Van Gogh has been the paintings and his turbulent inner life.

“It inspires me to see that Vincent van Gogh’s paintings still move people around the world today on a deeply personal level,” she said. 

The two act ballet features 21 Van Gogh paintings including Sunflowers, Starry Night, Café Terrace at Night and Sorrow. The artworks were featured on a huge curved backdrop screen which also allowed the dancers to pass through. The artworks moved and the effect of zooming in on the works added another level of discovery as the details of the brush strokes were highlighted.

This effect added a fluidity to the show and along with the specially written score written by Anthony Fiumara which captured the essence of the artist and his personal struggles and was superbly performed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Dancer Ludovico Di Ubaldo captured the soul of Van Gogh across the performance. The relationship with his brother Theo danced by Juan Carlos Osma was moving and heartfelt. 

The dancers and the costumes breathed life into this moving story which beautifully encompassed the man, his artwork and struggles.

This production highlights the breadth of talent found at West Australian Ballet. 

Echoes of Van Gogh is a moving feast of entertainment; dance, music and artworks celebrating the many joys of an artistic experience.

Playing at His Majesty’s Theatre Perth until September 23, this is not to be missed. Bookings