I'm fortunate to be one of the people who have had the chance to see one of the four performances celebrating Jorma Uotinen's 40 year career at the opera. The ballets shown were Ballet Pathétique (Finnish National Ballet), La Diva (Jorma Uotinen), and Black Water (Skånes dansteater).

Ballet Pathétique and La Diva were gently comical, but Black Water was dramatic and dark - one of the best contemporary ballets I've ever seen, in every respect very much to my liking. Knowing about its origins in Uotinen's experience of driving on dark roads was in no way essential to appreciating the performance but it could be felt.

The recorded music strangely disturbed me with Ballet Pathétique, being as it were on a different level of reality from the dance, while in La Diva the music is more in the mind of the character, and for me the type of music played in Black Water is something that exists only as a recording. I was surprised to learn that in the first performance in Malmö they had had a symphony orchestra and a choir. It must have been a completely different experience.

After the performance there was a short meeting with Jorma Uotinen in the foyer. Having told us of the background of the ballets we had just seen he continued that the Royal Danish Ballet will soon perform his ballet Jord (Earth) in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, and having done red Earth and Black Water, he ought to do also Clear Air...

Jorma Uotinen is a remarkable person, theatrical and natural at the same time - drama is an essential part of his nature, and there is no pretense, condescension, or arrogance, although he is demanding. I can't believe he wears his public persona as a mask. As his favourite quote of Fernando Pessoa says: "Put everything you are in the smallest thing you do, do not exaggerate anything in yourself, do not exclude anything. Be open to everything: even the moon fits into every pond because it shines from so high."