Production runs through May 5

By: Apr. 28, 2024
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Not a typical ballet.

The Joffrey Ballet’s current production is Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Opera House. It runs through May 5. The Lyric Stage is used to it’s best for Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s vision. To be truthful, this piece in no way has any connection to Shakespeare. This is a tribute to the summer solstice and to the centuries old Scandinavian midsummer holiday. The music, by Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, is pop but very edgy. The music ensemble is on the stage. It is comprised by members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra. The cast consists of 50 dancers. They are also actors. Anna von Hausswolff – a Swedish indie rock star – serves as narrator. There is so much to be written about this work but in truth, the only way to experience this sexy, eye-popping, larger than life “dream” is to see it. Even before the curtain rises, a man (Dylan Gutierrez) gets into the bed center stage, pulls up the covers and goes to sleep. As the curtain rises, he begins to have his wildly imaginative dreams. They are brought vividly and expressively to life. The stage is covered in what appears to be wheat with everyone dancing and throwing the wheat into the air with no care at all. Dancer Victoria Jaiani is the only dancer wearing shoes while everyone else is barefoot. At the beginning of the second act, all the wheat has been cleared away. The new set now has a smaller version of the bed being suspended above the stage. The huge crowd is celebrating the solstice and they are seated at a long line of tables that goes across the stage. There is so much going on at this point. One doesn’t know where to look. There are some dancers en pointe but not for long. The end of this sequence leads into the incredibly sensual midnight swim. It is important to note the Lyric has content advisory notices throughout the lobby. The staging and lighting for this sequence is stunning.

This production is setting records at the Lyric with large audiences. It’s a short run. If you have been timid about attending a ballet performance, this is a wonderful introduction. Seeing is believing. Just be careful what you eat before you go to sleep. The Solstice is just around the corner….


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