What do a manuscript of student-penned, medieval, satirical poems written in Latin, rediscovered in 1803, and set to music in 1936 have to do with dance in Atlanta in the 21st Century?
“Carmina Burana” is a modern interpretation of those poems. Choreographed to the sometimes-melodic, sometimes-dissonant, always-passionate score by Carl Orff, it will be ours for a weekend in April, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet, the official state Ballet of Georgia. “Carmina” follows three seminarians who have rejected their faith in favor of the quest for pleasure. “It’s really about what can happen if you abandon your spirituality and seek gratification in temporal appetites,” said choreographer David Bintley (who wears other hats as Artistic Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Japan), during a 2011 interview about the ballet.
“It is beyond sensational, beyond moving, beyond thrilling,” wrote Andy Richardson of The Shropshire Star in a 2011 review. “BRB director David Bintley has created a masterwork that will live long in the memories of those who witnessed his electrifying, tender and deeply intelligent work. The dancers, set alongside Carl Orff’s spellbinding choral tour de force, were a feast for the senses. Live entertainment does not get better than that.”
Artistic Director John McFall says he has wanted to include this work in the Atlanta Ballet’s repertoire for nearly twenty years, adding, “It’s sexy, fun, provocative, and inventive, while honest and socially relevant. It redefines the way you think of story ballets….”
Just in case this opulent and sensual ballet isn’t enough by itself to send you rushing for tickets, McFall has upped the ante by opening the show with “Petal,” a ballet by Resident Choreographer Helen Pickett that first graced the local stage in Atlanta Ballet’s 2011 season. New York Times critic Claudia La Rocco has said, “‘Petal’ combines a sophisticated sense of spacing with a resonant exploration of emotional discovery.” Other reviewers have been equally enthusiastic in describing Ms. Pickett’s choreography, using such terms as “distinctive,” “inventive,” and “freshly imagined.”
“Anything else?” you ask? Throw in the live performance of Orff’s “Carmina Burana” score by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia State University Singers. Oh, and add four performances. And some tempting special offers.
David Bintley’s Carmina Burana runs Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre – 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339. Tickets are on sale now. To purchase yours, get more information, or find out about those special offers, visit www.atlantaballet.com or call 404-892-3303.