The Danish paper "Weekendavisen" brought an interview with Thomas Lund last Friday under the headline" Triumph For a Masterpiece". Lund has been in Vienna to stage Harald Lander's "Etudes" with the Vienna Opera Ballet". He has done it twice before, once with the RDB in 2010 together with Nikolaj Hübbe and Lander's widow Lise Lander, and again in 2012 with the Boston Ballet. The ambition for their version was to scrape off the many layers of use and tighten it up musically and stylistically.
Lund tells (in my translation): "We stayed a week with Lise Lander in her wonderful place in the south of France. Harald Lander in his time entrusted her with the management of his artistic heritage, and he taught her to understand the dance from inside. Lise has taken part in most of the productions all over the world. She knows everything even though she has never been a dancer herself. She has the final say. When we visited her in 2010, we viewed 12-15 versions: from the 1969 television-version, which was produced by Lander himself, till newer versions from Paris, Boston, The Royal Danish Theatre [e.g. the RDB], the St Petersburg-version from 2010 etc. Even though the work is laid down to some extent, a ballet remains a living organism. There are always small details, which can be discussed. We dug into things like style, technique, timing, pauses, lighting, scenography, costumes, headpieces – and we listened to tempi. Completely down to the nerdy level."
About the the collaboration with Manuel Legris, former star dancer of the POB (a company who has its own history with "Etudes" because Lander mounted it there, when he was maitre de ballet at this company from 1956-63), now head of the Vienna State Ballet, Lund says following: "Manuel Legris, who has his French eyes on the work, has also been both an inspiration and a help. This meeting of the French and the Danish gives some special finer points. […] It is as if one here in Vienna see a melting together of Danish and French traditions, and with a company of brilliant dancers, of whom many come from Russia. […] This mixture is somewhat different from what we had in Boston, where the more physical – american – approach dominated."
"Etudes" was premiered on the 15th of December and will run again in February.