Forty dancers, 60 musicians and 120 singers will storm the stage as Dance St. Louis presents the thunderous and thrilling “Carmina Burana” from Nov. 6 to 8 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Nashville Ballet, University of Missouri-St. Louis Orchestra & Singers, Bach Society of Saint Louis and the St. Louis Children’s Choirs will once again join forces for three breathtaking performances of German composer Carl Orff’s dramatic masterpiece.
A stunning spectacle to behold, organizers say the massive scope of the production will rock audiences to the core through powerful voices, energetic dances and moving music. Coming off three sold-out performances of “Carmina Burana” in 2013, this year’s production promises to be even more epic, with a world premiere opening act choreographed by Dance St. Louis artistic and executive director Michael Uthoff and performed by Saint Louis Ballet.
After two years of planning and two months of rehearsals, organizers say nervous excitement is in the air as each group prepares separately and the full team of more than 200 veteran performers and new talents come together at the last minute. Together, they say, the magic happens. Nashville Ballet’s artistic director and CEO Paul Vasterling recently gave Ladue News a glimpse into the creation of the grand production.
Describe what its takes to bring together this show.
It will take a good four weeks to put this show together – longer if you count the amount of time it takes to get the choruses, orchestra and vocal soloists rehearsed. There are lots of different moving parts involved in this production to create what you’ll see on stage.
What are some of the expected highlights of the performance?
Seeing the enormous amount of people participating in the grand finale is always a highlight. I also really love the last soprano aria, “In Trutina (In the Balance).” In my choreography, there is a pas de deux (duet) that I find works beautifully with that music.
Describe the costumes and sets for the show.
The costumes and sets were designed by Eric Harris. Together, we concentrated on the idea that the original poems were written on parchment paper. This inspiration permeates throughout the piece in terms of the costumes and sets. At one point, the dancers will have the actual words of the poems projected onto them. There are several sections of the work, including “In Spring,” “In the Tavern” and “The Court of Love,” and each has a different costume stemming from this overarching inspiration.
What are the biggest challenges of putting together this production?
The biggest challenge of putting together this production is getting it all in sync. There are a lot of moving parts. But when it all comes together, it’s quite magical.
Will there be any changes from the 2013 show?
There will be new dancers taking on different roles, and that always changes the performance. Nashville Ballet dancers continue to hone their technical and artistic skills, so I’m betting it is going to be even more exciting than last time.
What else can audiences expect from this unique performance?
“Carmina Burana” as a work has a transformative power – people come out of it completely moved. For me, the ballet is about universal love, and the circle of life within the context of that universal love. Many people find it to be almost a spiritual experience.
Presented by: Dance St. Louis
Starring: Nashville Ballet
Featuring: University of Missouri-St. Louis Orchestra & Singers, Bach Society of Saint Louis and St. Louis Children’s Choirs, with opening act, Saint Louis Ballet
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 6 and Nov. 7; 2 p.m. Nov. 8
Where: Touhill Performing Arts Center
Cost: $38 to $72
Tickets and info: 314-534-6622 or dancestlouis.org