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"M Stabat Mater" expresses Mary's pain and sorrow through dance

J-P Mauro - published on 05/26/17

A new type of setting for the hymn to Mary.

There is a new show making waves in Europe called M Stabat Mater. The work is closer to ballet than opera, but incorporates a chamber performance with passages of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, from which the dance piece gets its name.

Pergolesi wrote many Baroque operas and was pivotal in the development of the genre. Stabat Mater was his take on a 13th-century hymn about Mary’s vigil at the foot of the cross for which many composers have provided settings, much as they have for the texts of the Requiem Mass. Pergolesi composed this work during his final battle with tuberculosis, in a Franciscan monastery. He died weeks after its completion.

In 2013, Israeli choreographer Inbal Oshman debuted her work M Stabat Mater in Bangalore India, with the Attakkalari Dance Company. The performance was well met by critics and she has since taken it to Tel Aviv and currently a tour in Europe with Geneva Camerata, a celebrated European orchestra.

Geneva Camerata describes the piece in their video:

Based on Mary’s pain and sorrow, M Stabat Mater is a new show that explores the theme of maternity through the emotions of vulnerability, desperation, fear, and compassion. In this hypnotic journey through the meaning of Motherhood, dance and music will present an encounter between opposite poles: divine and earthly, godly and human, desperation and hope.

M Stabat Mater is scheduled to come to America mid-April, 2018. It will appear as part of the Peak Performance program at Montclair State University. The American performance will trade Geneva Camerata for New York Baroque Incorporated.

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