Arts Review: Carmina Burana/Serenade by the Birmingham Royal Ballet
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On the day of the Solar Eclipse, it was obvious that there was something primitive, sinister and dark in the air. Oozing in sin, Carmina Burana was revived for the first time in twenty years at the London Coliseum. It's David Bintley's living, breathing legacy showcased by the Birmingham Royal Ballet to Carl Orff's iconic music, sung by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Ex Cathedra (commonly represented with Britain's Got Talent). The evening opened with Balanchine's "Serenade". Having previously seen the BRB perform the piece a month before, it was nice to find familiarity in the repertoire. The moon drenched piece in hand with Tchaikovsky's strings was just as romantic and perfectly executed as before. The sold our evening reached out to those of all ages, which, honestly, was so encouraging to see. A subjective narrative blurred with distinguished differences between the active and the passive; somewhat the sweet and sour of ballet. The ethereality of it all however, was just a tease for what was to come. If "Serenade" was an angel, then "Carmina Burana" was the antichrist, Armageddon and burning church to follow. Carmina Burana opens with Celine Gittens on stage, blindfolded and in stilettos; a hooker. She is quintessentially the company's Crown Jewels and it's immediately obvious as to why. Gittens begins dancing to the RB Sinfonia performing the most memorable and infamous of Orff's piece, 'O, Fortuna'. She is simultaneously stripped of all identity, yet completely empowered and aware of who she is as crosses suspend from the stage. It's beautiful. Carmina breaks away from more classical forms of ballet but still managed to hold onto the strictness and the discipline they the BRB are so famous for.
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