BWW Review: TWISTED 2 a Celebration of all Things Columbus

(Left to Right): Karen Wing (BalletMet), Calvin Griffin
(Opera Columbus bass-baritone), and Caitlin Valentine-Ellis
(BalletMet). Photo Credit: Jennifer Zmuda

Columbus performing arts organizations proved that collaboration is the key to creativity with the debut of "Twisted 2."

The production, which celebrated opening night Thursday at the Ohio Theatre, featured performances that highlighted the artistic cooperation of BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Opera Columbus.

It served as a sequel to 2014's season opener, "Twisted," which reimagined favorite operatic and symphonic compositions on a stage shared by Columbus musicians, dancers and performers.

The theme of celebrating a unified vision of the Columbus community was apparent throughout the evening. From the red carpet outside the theater lined with mascots from local sports teams to a documentary-style, behind-the-scenes video featuring testimonials from sponsors, "Twisted 2" aimed to entwine not only art forms but also other facets of life in Ohio's capital city.

Showcasing local talent, "Twisted 2" opened with brilliant fanfare as BalletMet dancers soared across the stage to Richard Wagner's "The Ride of the Valkyries" while Columbus Symphony Orchestra musicians' bows pierced the air with frenetic movement. Opera Columbus singers were front and center for this opening piece, and their voices formed a powerful chorus that captured everyone's attention.

Apart from its bombastic opening, the first act generally focused on slower songs. The selections included pieces that filled the stage with performers from all three organizations, as well as arrangements that allowed for more intimate, individual features.

The act one finale, an entrancing interpretation of Maurice Ravel's "Bolero," was an audience favorite, featuring a methodical build-up to a satisfying ending. This piece also made the most effective use of the large video screens suspended behind the orchestra, as the close-up monochrome video footage of dancers' pointe shoes and dramatic facial expressions added an additional sensory dimension to the performance.

Perhaps incorporating similar accompanying videos for other pieces could have helped maximize the limited amount of performance space on stage. The large screens -- essentially blank canvases beckoning further artistic interpretation of the music through another medium -- were mostly used to project landscapes of clouds and flowery fields.

Since "Twisted 2" was meant to showcase Columbus's collaborative spirit, working with local videographers or photographers to curate visually dynamic pieces to accompany the live performances would have been more appealing and meaningful to the audience.

(Left to Right): Karen Wing (BalletMet), Calvin Griffin
(Opera Columbus bass-baritone), and Caitlin Valentine-Ellis
(BalletMet). Photo Credit: Jennifer Zmuda

Following a brief intermission, the theme of collaboration continued into the second act, which took on a more lighthearted tone than the first.

The young talent of performers from the Columbus International Children's Choir, the Columbus Children's Choir and Momentum was showcased in arrangements of Georges Bizet's "Overture - Les Torédors" and "Chorus of Street-boys" from "Carmen," and the final piece, Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

The latter featured Claire Ferguson of the Columbus Children's Choir, who provided a beautiful introduction to the layers of instrumentation that gradually grew to a climax as more and more performers filled the front of the hall.

As golden confetti streamed down onto the packed stage and an image of the city skyline lit up the video screens, "Twisted 2" concluded triumphantly, full of Columbus pride.

"Twisted 2" is scheduled to be performed at the Ohio Theatre Thursday, Sept. 22 - Sunday, Sept. 25.

Tickets can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center, located at 39 E. State St., as well as via Ticketmaster. Ticket prices and more information can be found on the Ticketmaster website.

The Ohio Theatre is located at 39 E. State St.

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From This Author Amanda Etchison

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