The Chambre d’amour is a legendary cave on the Basque coast where two lovers perished long ago. Located on the side of a cliff, this cavity formed by the sea’s ebb and flow echoes all of the mysteries connected to life and death.
The tale says they were named Ura and Ederra (water and beauty in Basque). They had taken shelter in the cave when, in the throes of love, the incoming tide took them by surprise. The next morning their bodies were found locked in each other’s arms on the sand. By dying, Ura and Ederra joined the ranks of other literary star-crossed lovers such as Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona … our Chambre d’amour reminds us of them.
I like to think that these shattered fates originated from the parable of Genesis. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were banished from the Garden of Eden. Their immortality taken away, they then entered the dualistic material world; a world which from then on would be punctuated by the cadence of life and death.
So is love a nostalgic quest for lost unity? It is said that our lovers transcend this love when they die. Is the darkness just a passageway, the night before the sun that rises every morning over the Chambre d’amour?
Performed on 13 May 2000
at the Gare du Midi in Biarritz
Music Peïo Çabalette
Choreography Thierry Malandain
Set design and costumes Jorge Gallardo
Lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié
Coproduction Théâtre de Saint-Quentin en Yvelines Scène Nationale, Esplanade de Saint-Etienne, Orchestre Régional Bayonne Côte Basque, Biarritz Culture, Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, Malandain Ballet Biarritz
Full length of the performance 60 minutes
Ballet for 14 dancers
Dancers Giuseppe Chiavaro, Mikel Irurzun del Castillo, Isaïas Jauregui, Olivier Jedrasiak, Lyane Lamourelle, Cyril Lot, Carole Philipp, Adriana Pous Ojeda, Magali Praud, Christophe Roméro, Luisa Sancho Escanero, Thierry Taboni, Brigitte Valverde, Nathalie Verspecht
Video by Georges Flores