The ballet Peer Gynt by Heinz Spoerli with music by Edvard Grieg, Brett Dean, Marc-Anthony Turnage at the Finnish National Opera has had diverse response in the media. In the major Helsingin Sanomat the unenthusiastic reviewer said it was varied and probably confusing to those who didn't know Henrik Ibsen' story while Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, and some others were very favourable.

At first I was surprised to see that Peer himself is on stage in triplicate, as a dancer - the wonderfully light Sergei Popov, an actor (Antti Luusuaniemi), and a singer (Jussi Merikanto), but I soon saw it as brilliant. Even Solveig had a singer as her double - well of course. Especially the end where Peer is left dead on the scene in the shape of the actor, while the dancer stands in the distance facing the horizon was impressive. Nor did the mixing of styles disturb me: classical ballet during Grieg, and contemporary dance during the more modern music. As usual, I preferred the contemporary bits. I wonder what my old Finnish teacher, who thought In the Hall of the Mountain King was "lively," would have made of the ballet version with its gray alien like trolls?

For me the problem lay with Ibsen's story. I can't help seeing it just as an adventure story preassuming to have something profound to say about "the condition of man" and typical 19th century symbolism. But then, I'm not a man in the literal sense.