BWW Reviews: KING ARTHUR'S CAMELOT Captivates Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Ballet blew audiences away with its World Premier of King Arthur's Camelot. The completely original ballet truly shows the world what the Cincinnati performing arts scene is capable of. This was my first experience with the Cincinnati Ballet and I am officially a super fan. I have always loved this classical form of dance, and King Arthur's Camelot is definitely the best ballet I have ever seen.
The score, the music that the ballet dancers perform to, and the choreography elevated each other to an ethereal level. The Music Composer John Estacio describes the process of composing the score in the performance program: "My goal throughout the yearlong collaboration was to create music that would inspire Choreographer Victoria Morgan who in turn would motivate her dancers. The process was in many ways like writing music for a film without ever having seen the film. But Victoria encourages me every step of the way and willingly took a leap of faith on my musical telling of King Arthur's heroic story." This dynamic creative team also included Dramaturge Eda Holmes who helped decided which version of King Arthur's story to tell. In the performance program Eda answered the question, "Why King Arthur's Camelot?", to which she answered: ".... As I have delved into all the versions, permutations, adaptations, and re-inventions of the story it has become clear that certain stories survive through the ages because they expose human nature in all its glory and terror. Love vs. passion, conflict vs. peace, loyalty vs. betrayal - opposing forces that the mythical King Arthur attempted to tame in the brief moment of honor and brotherhood that we have come to call Camelot." All of these contrasting themes that both John and Eda were again elevated by the Set Designer Joe Tilford, Projection Designer John Boesche, Puppet Co-Designer and Builder Eric Van Wyk, Trad A Burns the Resident Lighting Designer, Fight Director Regina Cerimele-Mechley, and finally the Costume Designer Sandra Woodall. The set was beautiful, spritely, scary, dark and integrated technology in a way I had never seen before. There we multiple scrims which had numerous moving images projected on them, and there were painted fly-ins that were also projected upon which gave those 2D set pieces a 3D element. However the most incredible part of the set was a combination of both 3D platforms and smoke mixed with a lighting element of fire. Guinevere truly looked as if she was burning at the stake. The butterfly puppet was beautiful and gracefully moved across the dance floor, and the horse puppets/costumes moved effortlessly across the stage. All of the costumes were superb, especially the Ladies of the Lake, but there was one that I did not like. Mordred's dark, shinny cape looked as if it was designed to constantly mirror the movement of the Ladies of the Lake costume, the character from which he is born, however the cape ended up swallowing him, and being extremely distracting. Unfortunately this costume piece looked like a Glad Bag and the women next to me laughed every time he came on stage.
The backstage production quality was amazing, however the true stars were the musicians and the dancers. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carmon DeLeone sounded as professional and gorgeous as it always does. They performed every bit of choreography and fighting sequences flawlessly. The Prima Janessa Touchet was stunning, and graceful as Guinevere. She was partnered extremely well by both King Arthur played by Cervilio Miguel Amador, and Lancelot played by Patric Palkens. Mordred played by Rodrigo Almarales was convingly evil while also being strong yet fluid. The Corps De Ballet was also wonderful.
I encourage all you Cincinnatians to attend the rest of the Cincinnati Ballet season!