The story of Ibsen’s five-act verse drama Peer Gynt (1867) takes place in various very distant places (including Egypt) and depicts the fate of the opportunistic globetrotter Peer Gynt who returns home Norway as an old man after many adventures in order finally to meet with Solveig, who waited faithfully for him her whole life and represents his last chance for redemption. Following the tradition of the contemporary ballet story-telling, a new ballet creation by an internationally acclaimed Slovenian choreographer Edward Clug will take us to realms of intoxicating self-irony, absurd and surrealism, which are reflected also in enchanting melodies and poetic dreams of Grieg’s incidental and concert music.
Peer Gynt is daydreaming about hunting a white stag. He shares his story with his mother Ase who accuses him of being a liar and idler. The mother scolds her son for missing out a unique opportunity of marrying Ingrid, Peer’s friend since the childhood, so he could both put an end of their poverty, in which they were left behind by Peer’s negligent father. Ingrid is getting married to Mads Moen, the wealthiest bachelor in the region. Peer joins the wedding guests, but his mother is afraid he could ruin the celebration.
The feast begins and the wedding party is cheering out to the bride and groom. Only Ingrid seems to be distracted, thinking about Peer, with whom she once had an affair. In spite of Ingrid’s disinterest, the groom seems to be satisfied with the wedding. Peer’s presence at the event attracts the eye of women, who seem to be enchanted with Peer’s dance. However, the men are annoyed and provoked by Peer’s attitude. Solveig and her little sister Helga are also attending the wedding. At some point, Solveig and Peer come together, and their dance instigates Ingrid’s jealousy and people’s discontent. Helga takes Solveig’s hand and drags her away. Peer then approaches Ingrid, and they begin to dance, which causes a stir among guests. Aslak, the blacksmith, starts to quarrel with Peer, while the villagers try to sedate him with liquor. However, Peer does not quit the fight and mortifies Aslak in front of everyone. Aslak grabs his axe to avenge himself, but the Death intervenes. Peer seizes the opportunity and elopes with Ingrid. Ingrid and Peer spend a passionate night together, even though Peer grows tired of her rather quickly and sends her off.
Three dairymaids suddenly approach Peer and they try to seduce him. The next moment, a mysterious girl in green finds Peer all alone and shows him the way to the troll kingdom. Peer, intrigued by its wealth, agrees on marrying the girl in green, who is in fact a troll chief’s daughter. The troll chief is eager to offer him the hand of his daughter, and slowly uncovers her true face.
The girl in green then begins with her awkward dance. As she approaches Peer to kiss him, he is horrified with her appearance and wants to escape. Nevertheless, the girl in green wants him all for herself, as she is carrying his yet unborn child. Peer protests and denies paternity, which provokes the troll chief, who wants to take revenge. The troll’s wrath is eventually casted away by little Helga, who also gives a punch to Peer, thus reminding him of his promise to her sister Solveig.
The Death enters into the troll kingdom and stops the angry trolls. When the threat is gone, the Death paints Peer and the surrounding landscape on canvas. Helga and Solveig then come to see Peer. When alone, Solveig and Peer promise to each other eternal love. Their romance is interrupted by a stag’s cry that announces the death of Ase. Peer then decides to return home, where he finds his dying mother. To alleviate her pain, Peer tells her a beautiful story, which takes them back to the most beautiful times of Peer’s childhood.
Several years have passed, and Peer has become a very rich capitalist. He undertakes a journey to Morocco desert, where he meets Anitra, a daughter of a Bedouin leader. Peer is irresistibly attracted to her exotic appearance, but Anitra only wants to rob him off his wealth. When she manages to steal everything he has, she leaves him in the foreign land completely alone – well, almost alone, as Peer meets a mysterious stranger, with whom he shares a cigarette. A certain doctor Begriffenfeldt meets Peer, who is wandering around, and invites him to join him in some special place. Peer soon realizes he has ended up in a lunatic asylum, where he is introduced to four lunatics, who seem to be excited by Peer’s arrival. Begriffenfeldt runs a few psychological tests on Peer and writes down his reactions. Peer is now completely exhausted and on a brink of a nervous breakdown. His immense wish of becoming someone else is now finally fulfilled – his friends at the lunatic asylum are crowning him as his king.
Peer hits rock bottom and is deeply disappointed with his life: he has to confront the truth that seems to evade him. In his mind, he sees a vision of the unfortunate wedding between Mads Moen and Ingrid. The wedding guests, joined shortly after by the green girl with a new-born child, shout happiness to the newlyweds.
Peer is now on a trial by his own conscience, which leads him to Solveig. But Peer’s path is once again crossed by a mysterious stranger, who begs him to step inside his coffin. Peer refuses to do so, as he wants to buy himself some time.
Solveig has faithfully waited for Peer all these years and has grown old and blind. Peer bitterly realizes that he has thrown away all things that really matter in his life – most of all, Solveig’s love. He finds his final rest in Solveig’s arms, only their life journey has finally come to an end. They might find love and happiness in some other life, in some other time…