I miss out on a lot of cultural events here in Buenos Aires for various reasons. In Los Angeles I kept up with everything, and attended all big dance events since my childhood, and especially later on in life as a newspaper dance critic.
So it was just a piece of terrific good luck that I found out about Iñaki Urlezaga's world premiere performances of his new opera/ballet, Carmina Burana, at the Teatro Opera on Corrientes. And more luck that my friend Flo was up for going with me. By the time we got the tickets last Friday for the Sunday matinee performance, the best seats (85 pesos) were way, way up in the clouds. I got dizzy climbing up there and was very glad I remembered to bring my opera glasses.
The notices I had read in the newspaper didn't even mention that the music was by Carl Orff, so I didn't know what to expect. But the curtain opened with Orff's glorious main theme played by the full Colon orchestra of 100 (2 pianos, 8 tympanies, 3 trombones, tuba, etc), and sung by two choirs of another 100 people, and a giant Wheel of Fortune turning, turning on the stage. A stunning beginning.
Jean Pierre Aviotte did the choreography (ex- Star of the Ballet of Marseilles de Roland Petit and present director of Laterna Majita of Czech Republic), and of course the 32 year-old Iñaki starred, with help from Eliana Figueroa and Franco Cadelago and the Colon Ballet--plus a break dancer!
These organizations of hundreds of glorious artists have been homeless while the Teatro Colon is closed for renovations (hopefully to re-open in 2010.) And unfortunately a few technical problems were evident in this giant work due to displacement. But the artists outdid themselves.
Carmina Burana is a collection of Latin songs of the centuries XII and XIII, that have been conserved in a unique codex found in 1803 in the abbey of Bura Sancti Benedicti in Bavaria. Orff set them to music in his famous cantata of 1936.For more information on the work, read the Wiki.
It's just an hour long, but a full theatrical experience. Inaki hopes to bring it back on stage here soon, and also to take it on tour. But for now, these three performances of last weekend were all that was scheduled. Am I ever glad I saw one!
Click on the title above to read the article in La Nacion and to see a rehearsal video.