Preludes And Carmina Burana

Premiere at the Romanian National Opera While in most theatres of the Capital premieres succeed one another at breathtaking speed, the Bucharest ballet season seemed on the verge of collapse. After a long wait, at the beginning of April the first ballet premiere of the season finally took place. The Romanian National Opera Ballet presented a triptych made of The Degas Ballerinas, set to the Piano Preludes by Claude Debussy, and Afternoon of a Faun, set to the homonymous Prelude by the same composer, closing with the ample Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.The choreography and stage direction of the entire show are signed by Alexa Mezincescu; Răzvan Cernat is the music director, and Nicolae Drăgan designed the stage set.The association of Debussy's music with Degas' painting and of both with dance is thoroughly justified, because the two artists influenced by the impressionist movement, though not fully integrated in it, were equally open to poetry, theatre and dance. When the curtain is raised, the image from Degas' Ballerinas suggests, through the dancers' arrangement on stage, pictures by Degas, as a rehearsal room where the maestro gives directions to pianist Livia Teodorescu, who plays Debussy's Preludes. The evocation stops here though, for the long suite of danced variations does not evince either the spirit of the age or fantasy, the only moment when the stage becomes animated being that of Cristina Uţă's unselfconscious and elegant dance.The second ballet, Afternoon of a Faun, reiterates one of Vaslav Nijinsky's famous works that, on its world premiere in 1912, roused waves of enthusiasm but also violent protests. It was later staged in many versions, the most popular of which belonged to Jerome Robbins, and in Romania it was Doina Andronache who staged it at the Opera. Alexa Mezincescu's choreography and Cristian Crăciun's interpretation of the Faun constitute the highlight of the entire show. The exceptional plasticity of this dancer's body renders the whole sensual lyricism of the faun at the boundary between myth and reality. Following each of Cristian Crăciun's moves is effectively a great and genuine esthetic joy. Monica Uţă, in the Nymph role, blends harmoniously in the unfolding moment of love of the couple.

by Liana Tugearu