Christian Spuck and the Ballett Zürich – it’s a success story the likes of which many opera houses dream of. It’s a story full of exhilarating artistic experiences, overwhelming audience enthusiasm, lasting international recognition, prestigious awards, and invitations to guest appearances. For eleven years, Christian Spuck directed Ballett Zürich, leaving his artistic mark on Switzerland’s largest ballet company, on the Opernhaus Zürich, and on the entire city.
The story began when we first met in the summer of 2009. As the designated Intendant of the Opernhaus, I was looking for a ballet director who was not only a manager but, like myself, an artist. A ballet director who shared my conviction that musical theater is first and foremost about storytelling – and a ballet director who had a command of large-scale, full-length forms, something that now, at the end of the Spuck era in Zurich, is not as commonplace in the ballet world as one might think today. In Christian, I found this partner.
He took on a leadership position for the first time and not only delivered on everything I had hoped for in a ballet partner, but he far exceeded it. Productions such as the ballet classic Romeo und Julia that kicked everything off in 2012, the genre-shattering Verdi Requiem, the fantasy-infused Winterreise, or, most recently, the large-scale poetic Monteverdi evening – all are lasting memories for all those who were there. Christian Spuck was instrumental in expanding the limits of ballet into forms like oratorio, opera, and song, moving towards an integral understanding of musical theater, which the whole of the Opernhaus Zürich has stood up for during my tenure. Furthermore, he has not only focused his company on its own artistic practice, but has additionally pursued an imaginative course of stylistic openness, extending invitations to choreographers as diverse as William Forsythe, Edward Clug, Crystal Pite, and Marcos Morau. He has also successfully fulfilled the mission to foster classical ballet in Zurich.
The strong, self-confident artistic personalities who dance in this ensemble are a trademark of the Ballett Zürich. The sensitive, compassionate, but also demanding and artistically consistent way in which Christian has led and developed his company has played a significant role in this. We are deeply indebted to this extraordinarily special ballet director in many ways.
Intendant of the Opernhaus Zürich