On June 26th, 1973, John Cranko, founder of the Stuttgart Ballet, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 45. 50 years later we commemorate this dance visionary with a double bill titled REMEMBER ME.
In 1972, Cranko created Initials R.B.M.E. to the four movements of Johannes Brahms' monumental 2nd Piano Concerto for his entire ensemble. The four initials stand for four of his important muses, whose particular strengths he showcased in each movement: Richard Cragun, a dashing daredevil and masterful turner and jumper; Birgit Keil, an elegant ballerina with pristine lines and sparkling joie de vivre; the unparalleled Marcia Haydée, a radiant, soulful and heart-wrenching lyricist; and Egon Madsen whose virtuoso petit allegro was full of mischievousness and wit. Surrounded by a large corps de ballet and further soloists, this life-affirming ballet is a testament to Cranko’s seemingly endless choreographic inventions. Today, a new generation slips into the roles of their idols and celebrates John Cranko. As if the choreographer had foreseen his untimely death, the initials can also stand for "Remember me".
Kenneth MacMillan created Requiem in memory of John Cranko. Close friends and colleagues, Cranko was the first of the two to discover choreography for himself and encouraged his friend, who was plagued by stage fright, to give it a try as well. Whilst Cranko created in Stuttgart, MacMillan successfully created ballets in London. But their connection stayed strong and in all, MacMillan created six world premieres for the Stuttgart Ballet, including Requiem three years after Cranko's death. To Gabriel Fauré's Funeral Mass, MacMillan drew a portrait of a company coping with loss and pain but finding solace in each other and their love for their mentor. Famous for dramatic story ballets such as Mayerling, Requiem shows MacMillan's from his most musical side. With this symphonic ballet, MacMillan created an uplifting momento mori for his lost friend.