Sydney Dance Company and Australian Chamber Orchestra Collaborate to Thrill Brisbane

Sydney Dance Company and Australian Chamber Orchestra Collaborate to Thrill Brisbane

Two of Australia's leading contemporary performing arts companies come together on stage in an exquisiteproduction inspired by the powerful French Baroque dance music of esteemed 18thcentury composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Directed by Sydney Dance Company's Rafael Bonachela and Australian Chamber Orchestra's Richard Tognetti, Project Rameau burst onto the stage in a sell-out season in Sydney last October. Bonachela's dynamic choreography and innate musicality blended perfectly with the Australia Chamber Orchestra's virtuosic and energetic performance style in a production adored by audiences and lauded by critics.

The Sydney Morning Herald described Project Rameau as "bristling with life and irresistible" while The Australian said the work "looks superb ... [and] sounds divine". Limelight Magazine declared: "If only we could get these two intrepid ensembles together for an annual collaboration". The Daily Telegraph agreed: "If marriages are made in heaven, then the union of Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Chamber Orchestra for Project Rameau has proved a divine one."

Now it is Brisbane's turn to experience Bonachela's stunning choreography, at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), performed by Australia's pre-eminent contemporary dancers from Sydney Dance Company, alongside the Australian Chamber Orchestra, "the finest string ensemble on the planet" (The Telegraph, UK), led by guest violinist and Brisbane native Dale Barltrop.

Jean-Philippe Rameau, one of the greatest figures in French musical history, had a flair for rhythm and melody, exceptional feeling for choreography and almost limitless inventiveness, making him a favourite of the French court and leading to frequent premieres of his works at Versailles.

Project Rameau uses 18 separate movements from eight of his acclaimed operas alongside three interludes from Vivaldi and Bach - a wide-ranging playlist spawned by Bonachela and Tognetti's mutual passion for Rameau's music.

During the creative process, Bonachela allowed the music to drive his choreographic decisions completely, bringing an incredible precision, detail, complexity and intricacy to the work, reflective of the pomp and ceremony of French courtly dancing but translated for the 21st century.

"This has inspired the use of some classical technique but in a way that deconstructs and surprises," Bonachela says. "Elegant, beautiful, dynamic and joyous, this is music that was made to be danced to. It has a vibrancy, immediacy and sense of gesture that translates beautifully to movement, and not just in its time in the French Court."

Tognetti adds: "This music can stand on its own but at its heart it is intended to be performed with dance and choreography. Once you fill that space it completely changes. The music itself works wonderfully well as concert music but with choreography, it is possible to hear and see more in the music. We can bring new life to the legendary composer through the imagination of a choreographer of the ilk of Rafael."

The Australian Chamber Orchestra, renowned for Baroque performances typified by stunning rhythmic force, will be led by dynamic violinist Dale Barltrop. Brisbane-born Barltrop is concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and has performed across North America, Europe and Australia. He has appeared as both soloist and director with the VSO and recently won ecstatic reviews for his solo performance of Benjamin Britten's fiendishly difficult Violin Concerto. According to The Vancouver Sun, "he played as if possessed by the music, besting its plethora of technical near-impossibilities".

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