Ballet West celebrates artistic director’s 10th anniversary with ‘Carmina Burana’ |

Ballet West celebrates artistic director’s 10th anniversary with ‘Carmina Burana’

 Original ballet opens 54th season

Submitted by Ballet West
Ballet West resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte created an original ballet, “Carmina Burana,” that will premiere in November.
(Photo by Beau Pearson)

“Carmina Burana,” a Ballet West world premiere, will open the 54th Season, and herald Artistic Director Adam Sklute’s 10th anniversary with the company.

Resident Choreographer Nicolo Fonte has created a ballet just as dynamic as the music of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” one of the most popular classical music pieces of music of all time.

Accompanying the 18 Ballet West dancers on stage will be a 76-member choir, backed by the 50-member Ballet West Orchestra. Also on the double-bill, George Balanchine’s sweeping ballet, “Serenade.”

This diverse program will open at the Capitol Theater Nov. 3 for just seven performances through Nov. 11.

“Our resident choreographer, Nicolo Fonte, has an amazing gift for taking well-known pieces of music and illuminating them with his exciting and unexpected vision,” said Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “From ‘Bolero’ to ‘The Rite of Spring,’ he has thrilled audiences with his unique and dynamic approach. Pairing ‘Carmina Burana’ with George Balanchine’s elegant, windswept ‘Serenade’ is to me, the perfect way to open my 10th anniversary season.”

“Carmina Burana” was first performed in Utah when Ballet West founder, Willam F. Christensen staged John Butler’s version in 1974.

Since then, it has been performed more than 100 times, making it one of the most popular titles in the Ballet West repertoire. The “Carmina Burana” is an 11th-century text, which was re-discovered in a Bavarian monastery in 1803.

In 1936, composer Carl Orff set 24 of the poems to music and it quickly became a popular piece of classical repertoire, featured in film, television, video games, and sampled by Michael Jackson and Ozzy Osbourne.

“Carmina Burana” is a co-production of Ballet West and Cincinnati Ballet, who will perform the production in February, 2018. Costumes were built by Cincinnati Ballet and a truss set is being fabricated in Tennessee, which will lift the 76 choir members above the dancers. Decorative set elements have been built by San Diego Opera.

The program opens with “Serenade,” set to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

It was the first work created by Balanchine in America. “Serenade” was originally created in 1934 as an exercise for the newly formed School of American Ballet.

Attendance at those rehearsals was sporadic, so Balanchine, undaunted, made due with whomever he had in the studio, and turned random accidents such as a ballerina falling, a dancer arriving late, and someone’s hair coming undone into the final product.

“Serenade” is filled with lush musicality and moving drama without telling an actual story. The work has since gone into the repertoires of companies around the world.

In conjunction with “Carmina Burana,” Ballet West offers Warm Ups before each performance.

These informative discussions with members of the artistic staff are free of charge to ticket holders and begin promptly one-hour prior to each performance.

Attendees will get insider information on the evening’s program including background on the ballet, information on the choreographer, and other interesting behind the scene facts.

Tickets are available for “Carmina Burana” with “Serenade” by calling 801-869-6920, or visiting this website