Ballet West Opens 2010 Season With Long-Awaited Return of "Carmina Burana"

Audience Favorite is one of three works performed, October 29 – November 6

Ballet West’s 2010-11 season – “A New Day Dawning” – will open with the much anticipated return of John Butler’s "Carmina Burana," October 29, 30 and November 3-6, 2010. Set to Carl Orff’s heart-pounding score, "Carmina Burana" will be paired with George Balanchine’s complex and inventive "The Four Temperaments." Together, these two mid-Twentieth Century masterpieces create a powerful and emotionally stirring evening.

Last seen three years ago, Butler’s "Carmina Burana" is a thrilling collaboration between dancers, singers, and orchestra. This choral and theatrical work is based on a collection of 13th century poems discovered in the library of the Bavarian Benediktbeuern Monastery that are combined with the powerful and well known music of Carl Orff. Orff took his inspiration from a group of 13th Century poems and songs discovered in a German monastery. Written by disenchanted monks and students who had embraced a secular lifestyle of sensual pursuits, the poems celebrate earthly pleasures such as physical love and the life of the tavern. Yet they also return again and again to the theme of man’s powerlessness against fate.

When "Carmina Burana" had its world premiere in 1959 at New York’s City Center, it was considered shockingly sensual and was even banned in some conservative European cities. Though "Carmina Burana" no longer shocks its audiences, its theatrical intensity makes it one of dance’s most memorable works. Music Director Terence Kern will conduct the Utah Chamber Orchestra, as well as The Salt Lake Choral Artists, who will be placed prominently on the Grand Tier of the Capitol Theatre. Guest soloists include soprano Melissa Heath, tenor Timothy Workman and baritone Christopher Holmes in this production of Carmina Burana.

Rounding out the program is George Balanchine's striking and complex ballet "The Four Temperaments." This work was inspired by the medieval belief that human beings are made up of four different humors which in turn determine a person's temperament. The music, created specifically for the ballet by Paul Hindemith, is a rich set of variations abstractly based on these humors.

Evening performances of "Carmina Burana" and "The Four Temperaments" will take place October 29, 30 and November 3-6 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on November 6 at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices range from $18 to $72. Single tickets are available for purchase through ArtTix by calling 801-355-ARTS or at www.arttix.org.