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Home a ballet education Ballet West presents Nicolo Fonte’s CARMINA BURANA With Jerome Robbins’ GLASS PIECES

Ballet West presents Nicolo Fonte’s CARMINA BURANA With Jerome Robbins’ GLASS PIECES

by David King

Ballet West will revive Nicolo Fonte’s Carmina Burana with the Utah premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces in an electrifying evening of dance, music, and drama.

DATES: April 1 – 9, 2022
TIMES: April 1, 2, 7, 9 – 7:30 PM; April 2, 9 – 2:00 PM
LOCATION: Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT
RUNTIME: 1 hour 45 minutes with one intermission
TICKETS: balletwest.org

Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Programs, artists, and dates subject to change.

  • The evening includes 55 Ballet West dancers, an over 60-member chorus with three solo choral artists, and more than 50 musicians
  •  The program opens with the Ballet West premiere of Jerome Robbins’ 1983 Glass Pieces set to the music of Philip Glass
  • Carmina Burana is a unique partnership with Cantorum Chamber Choir and Westminster College
  • After Ballet West’s premiere of Carmina Burana in 2017, the work was instantly in demand and is now in the repertoire of three companies around the country

The great American choreographer Jerome Robbins is best known for his work in Broadway and film with such shows as West Side StoryThe King and I, and Fiddler on the Roof. But he also had an extensive history with classical ballet, shaping the international rise of New York City Ballet with George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. In 1983, Robbins created the groundbreaking work Glass Pieces to the pulsating, minimalist music of iconic American composer Philip Glass. The ballet reflects the hectic drive of our time as it juxtaposes with the magic in our souls. As the curtain rises to a graph paper backdrop, wave after wave of people randomly cross the stage as mystical dancers appear in their midst, unnoticed by the hordes. The work follows an hypnotic path to a spectacular conclusion. Adam Sklute said of Glass Pieces, “This world-renowned ballet is a reflection of our times. It is also a great showpiece for our corps de ballet as they are ultimately the stars of this magnificent work.”Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s 1936 cantata about the wheel of fate in Medieval times, is likely familiar to many audiences. The music has appeared for decades in many films, including Glory, The Hunt for Red October, and The Doors. It is also, thanks to its drama and power, a regular staple of television shows, commercials, and movie trailers.

Carmina Burana Ballet West Prinicipal Artists Beckanne Sisk & Chase O’Connell Photo by Luke Isley

Carmina Burana has a long history with Ballet West. BW Founder William Christensen daringly introduced Utah audiences to this provocative work in 1974, with John Butler’s historic 1959 version. It quickly became one of the most often requested ballets in BW history. In 2017, Artistic Director Adam Sklutecommissioned Resident Choreographer Nicolo Fonte to create a new, 21stcentury production of this seminal work, and the new production became an immediate hit.

Said Adam Sklute of the piece, “…Nicolo Fonte has an amazing gift for taking well-known pieces of music and illuminating them with his exciting and unexpected vision. Nicolo’s dynamic approach stays true to the classic text and concept while throwing us into a world of unexplored movement, art, and metaphor.”

For this exciting production, Ballet West is partnering with Utah County-based Cantorum Chamber Choir directed by Steve Durtschi, Artistic Director; and Westminster College Director of Choral Activities Jane Fjeldsted to provide this huge chorus of over 60 dancers who sing on a platform suspended over the dancers. The leading singers are Melissa Heath, soprano; Christopher Puckett, tenor; and Christopher Clayton, baritone, who interact with the dancers below on stage.

CARMINA BURANA

Choreography: Nicolo Fonte | Music: Carl Orff
Costume Design: Christine Darch | Scenic Design: Michael Korsch
World Premiere: November 13, 2017, Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, Salt Lake City, Utah

GLASS PIECES

Choreography: Jerome Robbins | Music: Philip Glass
Costume Design: Ben Benson | Scenic Design: Jerome Robbins and Ronald Bates (Production Design) | Lighting: Ronald Bates
World Premiere: May 12, 1983, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater, New York City, New York

(featured image: Carmina Burana Artists of Ballet West Photo by Luke Isley)

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