When does a ballet become larger than life?

When Nashville Ballet, the Nashville Symphony, the 200-voice Belmont Oratorio Chorus, the Nashville Children’s Choir, and vocalists Soprano Julie Cox, Tenor Brad Diamond, and Baritone Mark Whatley  join forces to present the new, family-friendly Carmina Burana.

The April 24 performance will begin with Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s The Golden Cage, a classically flavored piece which explores the social status of women in the 19th century. The music by Ludwig van Beethoven will be performed by violinist Christian Teal and pianist Craig Nies.

Both musicians are affiliated with Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. Nashville Ballet has a long tradition of joining forces with local talented musicians to bring live music and dance to Nashville audiences.

"The richness and variety of the music that Nashville offers are wonderfully inspiring, and we are always looking for ways to tap into Nashville's musical culture," said Paul Vasterling. "Our collaboration with Belmont University's School of Music Oratorio Chorus is a great example of our commitment to working with groups from our community."

After a brief intermission, the larger than life production of Carmina Burana will set The Wheel of Fortune moving.  The chorus will be onstage and the symphony will line  the sides of the stage creating a wall of sound as the dancers are in motion.

German composer Carl Orff set these irreverent poems to music in 1936 and this popular score continues to live on through countless television commercials, film scores, and concert performances around the globe. The lyrics and movement portray life’s pleasures, love, spring, and the uncertainty of the fates. Based on Latin verses written by German monks who lived in the foothills of the Bavarian mountains, this music remains one of the most popular classic pieces today. This choreography showcases the strength and versatility of the company.

"Carmina Burana is one of the most popular pieces of classical music with an expansive scope that ranges from romantic to dramatic, comic to ritualistic. The subject matter is the cycle of life and the fickleness of fortune. The evocative music and poetry along with Carl Orff's rhythmic versatility has attracted me for a long time, and I am very excited to be creating a work of this magnitude on Nashville Ballet," Vasterling said.

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This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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