BWW Reviews: TWISTED Enthralls Columbus on Opening Night

From the first bombastic notes of Richard Wagner's "Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin" to the last pieces of gold confetti raining down onto the stage after the show-stopping finale, "Twisted: A Trio of Excellence" delighted opening night audiences with a unique fusion of movement and sound set to classic music from beloved operas.

Featuring more than 200 artists from BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony and Chorus, and Opera Columbus, "Twisted" made its world premiere at the historic Ohio Theatre on Thursday night.

"As we 'twist' the three art forms--ballet, opera, and symphony--together, we are blurring the lines between them and creating something totally unique," the program's artistic letter states. "Great art is only made by taking risks."

And in the case of this performance, the risks definitely paid off.

The show began with a short video featuring candid interviews with Edwaard Liang, Artistic Director for BalletMet, Peter Stafford Wilson, Associate Conductor for the Columbus Symphony, and Peggy Kriha Dye, Artistic Director for Opera Columbus.

In this "behind the scenes" look at the creation of "Twisted," the audience began to get a sense of what exactly these three creative masterminds had in store for approximately two hours of never-before-seen performing arts collaboration.

When the curtain rose, the audience was met with the first of many aspects that set "Twisted" apart from traditional performances--the full orchestra had been taken out of the pit and appeared seated front and center on stage.

As the music began and the lights dimmed, more surprises began to unfold. Dancers emerged, stepping gracefully out from the wings, weaving between the rows of brass and strings.

The dancers' choreographed steps perfectly complimented the natural movement of the musicians, who in turn underscored the soaring lyrical notes of Opera Columbus' artists. The result was a comprehensive performance experience that seamlessly blended three distinct forms of artistic expression into one cohesive vision.

With a diverse program ranging from Rossini to Bizet, each "Twisted" vignette transformed favorite melodies and characters from beloved operas into something entirely fresh, imaginative, and thought-provoking.

From a siren-inspired retelling of Heitor Villa-Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 -- Aria (Cantilena)" to a mandolin-accompanied rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Deh vieni alla finestra from Don Giovanni" that required some audience participation, each story took on a new life of its own.

As the opening performance of the 2014 - 2015 season, "Twisted" is truly a celebration of Columbus as a growing metropolitan city focused on growth and innovation in the arts.

"(Twisted) is also a beginning--it is the start of a partnership that holds unimaginable potential for this city," the program's artistic letter states. "Together, the arts in Columbus are stronger than any single organization could ever be alone."

"Twisted" will be presented at the Ohio Theatre on Friday, September 26, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, September 27, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, September 28, at 3 p.m.

Tickets begin at $10 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.) or at

Tickets are also available for purchase by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.

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

Photo Credit: Jennifer Zmuda

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From This Author Amanda Etchison