Suite Ballet Carmen
Sun 02 Apr 2023, 08 pm
Saigon Opera House
07 Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, District 1, HCMC
From the organizer:
The Carmen Suite ballet is a testament to art’s ability to transcend time, space and genre. Carmen, a 19th-century opera by French composer Georges Bize is one of the most beloved works of the classic Italian art form even though it initially shocked audiences for breaking conventions and expectations, particularly for its focus on the lawlessness and immorality seen in its working-class characters. Set in southern Spain, its titular character seduces a young soldier, Don José, into abandoning his duties and childhood love. But Carmen in turn falls in love with Escamillo, a bold and romantic bullfighter. The love-triangle results in jealousy, tragedy and murder leaving viewers scandalized.
In 1967, Russian Composer Rodion Shchedrin sought to radically interpret the four-act performance as a one-act ballet. Schedrin was assisted in his transformative vision by Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso who was traveling with Cuban dancers from the Nacional de Cuba at the time. Inspired by their bold style and talents, Alonso created the choreography with Schedrin’s wife, the ballet diva Maya Plisetskaya, in the titular role. Rather than an interpretation of the original opera, Shcerdrin described its creation as “a creative meeting of the minds.” In particular, the opera’s familiar melodies were playfully shifted and transformed via the removal of Bizet’s full orchestra in exchange for strings and an enlarged percussion section.
The Carmen Suite ballet was initially banned in the Soviet Union for being “disrespectful” to opera because of its reimagining of such a famous work and the sexual depiction of its characters. Some early critics had difficulty appreciating its use of disparate styles to tell an already familiar story, but audiences began it love it and it ultimately proved to be Shcedrin’s most popular work, continuing to be performed throughout the world more than fifty years later. The performance’s creativity connects with audiences across cultures in part because of the story’s timeless focus on love, freedom and the sometimes disastrous choices people make in the name of romance.
People’s Artist Kim Quy is bringing this famous work to the stage in Ho Chi Minh City with Nguyễn Thu Trang appraising the role of Carmen opposite Meritorious Artist Hồ Phi Điệp and Đặng Minh Hiền. The iconic ballet will be joined by two dance pieces that reflect neoclassical ballet: Dépaysement and Falling Angels. The works add a cohesive fullness to the evening as they offer their own interpretations of the human condition.
Dépaysement takes its name from the French word that describes the feeling of being away from home and disoriented by strange surroundings. Đo Hoang Khang Ninh plays a forlorn soul trying to find solace in others while dreaming, only to eventually find herself in solitude, as choreographed by Julien Guérin. The music is very much modern, employing excerpts from famous works by Frédéric Chopin and Ludwig van Beethoven. The melancholic, sometimes rigorously sorrowful musical elements make the story’s sadness only more beautiful.
Falling Angels by choreographer Nguyễn Phúc Hùng is a new composition performed by two young talents: Sùng A Lùng and Đỗ Hoàng Khang Ninh. The performance aims to juxtapose the female dancer’s pristine innocence and the male dancer’s masculine toughness. According to Nguyễn Phúc Hùng, purity itself can win over one’s heart and the dance moves thus explore this virtue with the understanding that contemplation, deep attention and sophistication are required to observe what is most valuable.
Ticket price: 750.000 – 650.000 – 550.000 – 400.000 – 80.000VNĐ (for student only)
Choreography: Nguyễn Phúc Hùng
Music: Eric Whitacre
Performing: Đỗ Hoàng Khang Ninh, Sùng A Lùng
Choreography: Julien Guérin
Music: Frédéric Chopin Nocturne in C Minor; Eric Satie & Company Gnossienne No. 1
Gabriel Faure Huit Pièces Brèves op. 84, V. Improvisation; Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight”, I. Adagio sostenuto; Tomaso Albinoni & Remo Giazotto Adagio in G Minor
Performing: Đỗ Hoàng Khang Ninh, Thạch Hiểu Lăng, Nguyễn Thu Trang, Trần Thị Hồng Vân, La Mẫn Nhi, NSƯT | Mer. A. Đàm Đức Nhuận, Phạm Thế Phương, Nguyễn Minh Tâm
SUITE BALLET CARMEN
Music: Georges Bizet – Rodion Shchedrin
Choreography: Alberto Alonso
Staging: NSND | People’s Artist Kim Quy
Carmen: Nguyễn Thu Trang
Don José: Mer. A. Hồ Phi Điệp
Escamillo – Toreador: Đặng Minh Hiền
Zúñiga, Captain: Mer. A. Đàm Đức Nhuận
Fate: Thạch Hiểu Lăng
Cigarette factory girls: Đỗ Hoàng Khang Ninh, La Mẫn Nhi, Bùi Thanh Ngân
& HBSO Ballet