Earlier this year, we blogged the spectacular season opener of the Metropolitan Opera: a gorgeous (and perhaps scandalous) production of Bizet’s “Carmen.” I was fortunate to see the final performance last weekend — and while I must admit that opera has never been one of my favorite art forms, I was mesmerized by the short ballet pieces at the beginning of each act.
Choreographed by the outstanding Christopher Wheeldon, these preludes (less than 5 minutes each) transformed the entire experience. Watching New York City Ballet’s Maria Kowroski and West End star of “Dirty Dancing” Martin Harvey interpret the story before each curtain, I understood the passion, the disappointment, and ultimately the violence of that love story as I never could from watching the opera alone.
Here as opera superstar Renee Fleming interviews Christopher Wheeldon on his work with “Carmen”:
Wheeldon wasn’t the only important young choreographer spending time backstage at the Met this season: Dou-Dou Huang created dances for “Les Contes d’Hoffman” and Alexei Ratmansky worked on “Aida.” Those productions are still up. Have you seen one? We’d love to hear how the ballet affected your experience of the opera.
– Cary Barbor