To get your brain in the right frame of mind for our upcoming production of
Petrouchka/Carmen, we wanted to give you a few different multimedia opportunities to explore the themes of both ballets.  Sure, you could watch a recording of a past production of Carmen the opera, or Fokine’s original choreography of Petrouchka, but these productions have been so radically reimagined from the traditional versions that it will be a completely different experience.  But if you want to enrich your experience at the ballet, here are a couple of things we recommend.

The “Am I Real?” Variety Show

A multimedia exploration to get your brain all warmed up for Petrouchka

Themes. “What seemed most powerful to me in the original scenario of Petrouchka was that the character of the puppet Petrouchka had more life than he was supposed to have.  So much life, in fact, that it brought him incredible joy and terrible suffering.  This character with ‘too much life’ is the basis for my Petrouchka.  Only now he is not only full of life, he is also full of creativity and courage – so much so that he is able to affect a profound change on those around him.  Placing this simple story in a fairytale-like setting has allowed me to explore through movement (as opposed to mime) the darker themes – as well as the lighter ones – contained in both the music and the original scenario in a way that feels to me both modern and complex.”  –Choreographer Nicolo Fonte

Listen. We asked OBT Music Director & Conductor Niel DePonte for his recommendation for a great recording of Petrouchka, and he told us you can’t go wrong with the Birmingham Orchestra’s recording conducted by Simon Rattle and released by EMI Records.  Buy it on iTunes through the link below!

Read.  Petrouchka is based on a Russian folk puppet character, but much like Petrouchka’s British counterparts (Punch & Judy) or the Italian commedia dell’arte characters Harlequin and Columbine, he was never really a character in a book.  (If you look for books about Petrouchka, most of what you’ll find will be books based on the ballet.)  But if you want to soak in a little of Stravinsky’s brooding, haunting, Russian atmosphere, this anthology of Russian fairy tales has a number of great stories about beloved Russian folk characters like Baba Yaga and the Firebird.  (Just don’t come to the ballet expecting dancing bears and men in fur hats.)

Watch.  If you can get your hands on a video recording of a past adaptation of Petrouchka, by all means check it out.  But bear in mind that this production has been so radically reimagined that it may look – and feel – nothing at all like what you see.  We recommend, if you want a flavor of the choreography you’ll be seeing, that you check out some of Nicolo Fonte’s past works at OBT. 

We Asked, You Answered:

“What’s Your Favorite Book, Movie or Piece of Art About Questioning Reality?”

“Relativity” by M.C. Escher

We asked our 5,000 Facebook followers to share their favorites with us.  Here were their suggestions, running the gamut from Renaissance literature to Oscar nominees, and from beloved children’s stories to creepy Gothic horror tales.  Intrigued?  We linked the book suggestions to Powell’s and the movies to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to make your pre-show preparation easier!



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