B-Boying Mozart brings the house down at Menuhin Festival

  04.09.2022 Arts & Culture

Who knew that Mozart could break dance? Christoph Hegel, conductor and director, and the DDC Dancefloor Destruction Crew reinterpreted the work of the Salzburg child prodigy in “Breakin’ Mozart” to the delight of an enraptured audience at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival.

F ounded in 1957 by the world-famous violinist, conductor and humanist and Gstaad resident, Yehudi Menuhin, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival has attracted some of the world’s best and most exciting talent in classical music. Since its founding, the Festival has had a tradition of innovation- a tenet which Artistic Director Christoph Müller continues to develop through an open and creative programme philosophy which includes unexpected encounters between various music styles and cultures. And yet, including “Breakin’ Mozartclassical meets breakdance” on the 2022 program must have raised some eyebrows. Could Mozart really be a B-Boy? The answer is: yes.

But how is that possible? With a little magic of course. The performance, which took place in the large Festival Tent in Gstaad, began with supernatural forces catapulting Mozart from the 18th to the 21st century. There he was confronted by a group of young men and women who, dressed in “strange” clothing, perform novel jumps , head-spins, acrobatics and dance steps. Quickly, Mozart realized that the future is about the same thing as his operas: women. And so he decided to play cupid among the group of youths, which led to dramatic dance-offs and many comical moments. Mozart took inspiration from his experiences in the future to compose his later works, including the Finale of the “Jupiter” Symphony.

“Breakin’ Mozart” is the creation of the Echo Award winning conductor and director, Christoph Hegel and the two-time breakdance world champions DDC (Dancefloor Destruction Crew) from Germany. Following its acclaimed premiere at the Mozartfest Würzburg in 2013, the show has toured throughout Europe, including France, Greece, Spain, Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland. If their performance at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival is anything to go by, it’s easy to understand why the show has been met with such enthusiasm.

Hegel, who specializes in large crossover shows such as “Flying Bach” with over 300,000 visitors in 27 countries, managed to bring together a singer and break dancers accompanied by live piano music, pre recorded orchestral arrangements, modern hip-hop and thumping techno beats to reinterpret some of Mozart’s most iconic works. The combination was electrifying. Hegel led the troupe from his seat at the piano, while the performers acted out the storyline through their audacious moves. As rightly noted in the Festival program, the highlight of the show was undoubtedly the rendition of the Queen of the Night coloratura arias juxtaposed with a dazzling display of acrobatics and breakdancing. The audience, a refreshing mix of generations, clapped and cheered throughout the performance, excited by the novelty of what they were seeing, and thanking the artists for this breath of fresh air with a standing ovation at the end.

Yehudi Menuhin would have been proud. “Breakin’ Mozart” was a terrific display of innovative energy, which gathered a diverse group of people to enjoy world famous music in a new and exhilarating way.


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