Sunday, April 17, 2011
From one extreme to another; after that bad exposure to the Beach Boys last night, my wife and I went to today's performance of Carmen at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando.
The performance was excellent.
We haven't seen any decent ballet in years; the last performance we attended in Orlando was over 24 years ago on Christmas of 1987, when Ballet Orlando (BO) attempted to perform "The Nutcracker." There wasn't anything good about that performance. The strongest memory I have of that performance was seeing the rope that was underneath the bed, pulling the bed from behind one of the stage curtains onto the stage. And it wasn't a smooth transition; you could see every pull on the rope as the bed slowly jerked its way onto the stage.
That performance left such a bad taste in our mouths that we never went back.
Which is probably our loss. We saw Carmen because my wife picked up two tickets through Groupon at half their regular price. In other words, "buy one, get one free." I was very ambivalent about attending this performance. My wife told me that if Carmen turned out as bad as Nutcracker, we could leave at the intermission. As it turned out, that wasn't necessary.
The performance was excellent. Even though we were sitting up and to the left, we had a clear view of the performance. The pacing, energy and flowing athleticism of the performers on stage was superb. There were none of the miscues and bad timing of 24 years before. Even the youngest performers who played the gypsy children performed at a level far beyond what I would have expected.
This wasn't classical ballet. During certain scenes the dancers stamped their feet (and in one scene, clapped their hands on the stage) in unison and following the beat of the music. It was reminiscent of River Dance. I found it a welcome touch; it added energy and interest to the performance.
The stage and costumes were a welcome change to the ascetic whites of classical ballet. The colors were a lusty mix of strong reds, oranges, and deep purples, almost a harvest color scheme.
Carmen lasted nearly two hours including intermission. I never felt it was too long or too short. When Carmen finally ended, as we were walking back to the car, my wife and I were discussing those aspects we liked about the performance. My wife is now talking about what performances to see next. There's the Vampire's Ball in October, just in time for her birthday. And then, in December, there's The Nutcracker.
Yes, I guess I'm going to attend Orlando Ballet's version of The Nutcracker. Hopefully after 24 years they've found a better way to move the bed on-stage. I actually think I'm looking forward to it.