Carmen/The Goldberg Variations

Dates and Venue 26 & 27 February 2009, 8pm and 28 February 2pm & 8pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography James Kudelko (Goldberg Variations) and Jean Grand-Maitre (Carmen)

Reviewer Susan Peake

BalletBC is back, and back with an impressive "double feature". Thursday evening (February 26th) was opening night for both James Kudelka’s The Goldberg Variations and Jean Grand-Maitre’s Carmen.

The evening began with a message from Graeme Barrit, Chair and President of the Board, expressing his heartfelt appreciation to the supporters who successfully resurrected Ballet B.C. from its financial doldrums.

Next, The Goldberg Variations Side 2: Adam & Eve & Steve choreographed by James Kudelko took the stage and for the next forty-five minutes the audience was captivated. Kudelka, known for his expertise in fusing classical and contemporary dance, succeeded once again in creating a clever, innovative vision. The music, courtesy of J.S. Bach was arranged by Dimitry Sitkovetsky, by arrangement with G. Schirmer.

The spotlight was on Jones Henry, Shannon Smith and Simone Orlando who incorporated robotic movements with perfect pair and trio synchronicity that was fascinating to watch.

The ever-popular opera, Carmen, translated into Ballet, was next on the programme. This colorful, highly energetic and passionate story was beautifully told through stellar performances by the corps. Particularly impressive was the pas de deux with Smith (Don Jose) and Makaila Wallace (Machella). Their graceful, fluid partnering movements were mesmerizing.

Carmen (Marianne Bauer-Grobbelaar) combined a provocative, passionate presence with a wicked defiance that commanded the stage. Also engaging was Escamello (Jones Henry) who stole every scene he entered as he strutted in his flamboyant matador’s traje de luces.

A wonderful evening at the Ballet – let’s hope that BalletBC continues for many years to come so that we can all enjoy such first-class performances.

© 2008 usan Peake