Atlanta Ballet’s production of David Bintley’s edgy, contemporary Carmina Burana returns to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for its final weekend of performances from February 10-11. Carmina Burana is set to Carl Orff’s 1937 dynamic choral work of the same name and performed live by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and The Georgia State University Singers and Master Singers. The texts of the songs are taken from medieval poems about fate, love, revelry, and passion.
The 70-minute ballet, first performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1995, follows the exploits of three seminarians who set off in quest of earthly pleasures. Atlanta Ballet’s Alexandre Barros portrays one of those seminarians and describes his character as “abandoning his position as a religious and pure man and embarking on a journey of self-discovery. In such a journey, he is exposed to drinking and eating excessively and to a bad crowd that teaches him how careless and mean people can be.”
The episodes in Carmina Burana are guided by “Fortuna,” the embodiment of the force of fate sung about in the work’s iconic chorus, O Fortuna. “The role of “Fortuna” represents the wheel of fortune, your fate, and the strength and power behind that,” says Rachel Van Buskirk, who dances the part. “I love that David Bintley has taken such an immense song and pared it down to one female in a vulnerable outfit–in high heels, blindfolded. He’s taken a stereotypical “sexy” look and empowered it from a female perspective.”
Van Buskirk feels that Bintley’s modern retelling of Carmina Burana’s texts through dance gives the work relevance and accessibility. “It’s amazing to imagine monks centuries ago going through the same common issues as us today,” she says. Barros adds that Carmina Burana is one of his favorite ballets. He says, “The production is incredible: ballet dancers, singers, and musicians come together to create something truly mesmerizing.”
From Atlanta Ballet’s website: “Parental discretion is advised.”
Tickets start at $25. Purchase here.