In yet another beautiful showing, the Alberta Ballet’s performance of Celebrating Mozart was a beautiful commemoration of the composer through music and movement. While I can say I was expecting no less from the company, I was still surprised by what the show presented.
The evening began with the world premier of Yukichi Hattori’s Pomp Without Circumstance, a playful and lively start to a night in which the mood would eventually become much darker. The choreography was set to some of Mozart’s beloved classics, showing off both the classical and humorous characteristics of the music in context of French aristocracy. Engaging to say the least, Pomp Without Circumstance had the audience laughing along with it, and in awe of the energetic finish of Eine Kliene Nachtmusik. I also must say, I could not keep my eyes off of the beautiful sparkling slippers throughout the opening act, and I truly believe the dancers enjoyed themselves as much as the audience did.
The evening continued with Mozart’s Requiem, choreographed by none other than Jean Grand-Maître, the Artistic Director of the Alberta Ballet. Starkly contrasting the first performance, the Requiem was a tribute to lives lost in modern suffering, staged to some of Mozart’s most hauntingly beautiful pieces. In one of the largest shows the Alberta Ballet has ever staged, the production featured a live, on-stage chorus and four soloists in a collaboration between the Alberta Ballet, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Richard Eaton Singers Chorus. I first have to give credit to Hattori himself for his passionate performance as Mozart, almost exclusively through upper body expression. As the performance unfolds, death takes the lead and weaves its presence through the rest of the show. The darker aspects of the ballet portrayed the depth and gravity of Mozart’s Requiem, which conveyed emotion and drew in the audience as it ought to. The performance in itself was dramatic, magnified by the backdrops and lighting, as well as the on-stage chorus. I was drawn in most by the mother and daughter rendition, which packed a well of emotion, and added accessibility to the performance. Mozart’s Requiem, while presenting some large and difficult issues through even more daunting music, rose to the occasion (as did the audience in conclusion) and was definitely successful.
While it was only presented for a weekend, the Alberta Ballet hosts many top-notch ballets over the course of the year. Up next is Balletlujah! a celebration of the music of K.D. Lang, which also features the music of other acclaimed artists such as Joni Mitchell, Sir Elton John and Sarah McLachlan. Balletlujah! hits the Jubilee auditorium May 3rd and May 4th.
Photograph courtesy of the Alberta Ballet, found here.