Audiences in Santa Barbara will be treated to a rare full-collaboration performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, featuring world-premiere choreography by William Soleau and performances by the State Street Ballet and Santa Barbara Choral Society and Orchestra, under the baton of Santa Barbara Choral Society music director JoAnne Wasserman.
“This event brings together our area’s highest-caliber talent to perform what many consider to be a multimedia masterpiece,” Wasserman says. “We are all very proud of this accomplishment and what it means to the Santa Barbara arts community and our audiences.”
Carmina Burana is familiar to both contemporary culture and the classical world. Its opening and closing movement, O Fortuna, has been used in hundreds of films and TV commercials and is a mainstay of classical music performances. The piece was selected for its appeal to modern audiences and to showcase the collaborative talents of The Granada’s resident companies, State Street Ballet and the Santa Barbara Choral Society.
Based on a selection of poems, ballads, songs and tavern tales transcribed by monks in the 12th century, Carmina Burana is a rich blend of movement and sound that combines original choreography with music, voices and visual design. Unlike performances solely featuring music, this event stays true to Orff’s concept of Theatrum Mundi, in which music, movement and song blend to provide a wholistic theatrical experience.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at The Granada, 1216 State St. Tickets are $20, $30 and $50, and can be purchased through the Granada box office by calling 805.899.2222 or visiting www.granadasb.org.
“This will be a unique staging of an important work that appeals to all audiences because it reaches beyond the stereotypical choral, ballet or orchestral performance,” State Street Ballet artistic director Rodney Gustafson says. “Soleau’s choreography honors traditional ballet movement while featuring multimedia effects to create contemporary entertainment. All of this — combined with the talents of the Choral Society and Orchestra — makes for a must-experience event.”
Carmina Burana is made up of three major sections: Spring, In the Tavern and The Court of Love. The work addresses a wide range of human emotions and stages of life, from innocence to passion, and from simple pleasures to worldly pleasures.
“The choreography is not a literal rendition of the songs, but an impressionistic account of the words depicted within the songs,” Gustafson says.
Barbara Burger represents the State Street Ballet and the Santa Barbara Choral Society.