The choreography in Matah Ati is a creation that puts emphasis into the vocals as the main medium of expression, and the Javanese dance moves as its physical expression. This creation interprets and explores a dance style that originated from the Mangkunegaran Palace, more specifically known as Langendriyan, created by Mangkunegoro IV himself. The Langendriyan forms the main concept of the performance and serves as basis of the dance performance entitled Matah Ati.
This dynamic masterpiece is developed based on the element of sound, from the performance by the dancers and orchestration by the musicians all the way to the vocals by soloists and the choir. All are most poetic, hoping to add color and to craft this dance opera into a very expressive performance.
The dance movements are equally important. The movements display a ritual and meditative dance and transform the atmosphere into a sacred and even magical performance. Graceful well defined flowing movements, reinforced by the contrasting theatrical element established by the dancers, exhibit the performance’s poetic and artistic tone.
The story unfolds through dialogues among the characters, expressed through Javanese songs just as it is in the Langendriyan. It recounts the story of the struggles of Raden Mas Said, or Pangeran Samber Nyowo, including his battles against the Dutch colonizers’ insolence and injustice. It was within that environment of war where the love story between Raden Mas Said and Rubiyah was born.
The musical accompaniment, harmoniously performed through vocals and Javanese musical instruments, accents the performance and intensifies the content and meaning of each scene. Undoubtedly, this masterpiece was created to offer a majestic presentation of dance, Gamelan music and play. These blend towards a unified whole involving an artistic stage design that propels Javanese opera into a whole new light within the artistic landscape of dance throughout Indonesia and the rest of the world.