Pink Martini's Thomas H. Lauderdale Joins The Oregon Ballet Theatre In RHAPSODY IN BLUE At The McCallum

Pink Martini's Thomas H. Lauderdale Joins The Oregon Ballet Theatre In RHAPSODY IN BLUE At The McCallum

The McCallum Theatre presents the Oregon Ballet Theatre and "Rhapsody in Blue," with special guests Thomas H. Lauderdale and Hunter Noack, pianos, on Thursday, March 7, at 8:00pm. Oregon Ballet Theatre, OBT to its fans in the Pacific Northwest, is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, attracting artists from around the globe with a reputation for excellence. With this McCallum debut program, OBT showcases three ballets which reveal how the emotional, social, and artistic aspects of dance can create an experience that moves the audience and transcends the art form. The highlight of the evening is "Rhapsody in Blue," with choreography by Nicolo Fonte and featuring Pink Martini founder Thomas Lauderdale and his partner Hunter Noack playing live. Discover nuances you've never heard before punctuated visually by the lush, vibrant choreography that Fonte is known for the world over.

While the dynamic rhythms and melodies of "Rhapsody in Blue" are extremely familiar due to the iconic status of Gershwin's score, Thomas Lauderdale, together with concert pianist Hunter Noack, has created an innovative arrangement that will bring out nuances in the work of which audiences may have never been aware. Lauderdale, who has been playing this music since the age of 10, will imbue the score with emotion and resonance forged over a lifetime.

"Thomas's arrangement brings a dreamy and mysterious quality to the work that completely inspires me," explains Fonte. Through expanded lyrical phrases, Lauderdale and Fonte will seek to capture a magical time of day ripe with the potential of discovery - the blue hour. "L'heaure bleue" - when day becomes night, life becomes less linear, boundaries become more fluid - and there is an electric charge in the air. Themes of betrayal, discovery and triumphant realization are woven together into a narrative heightened by the mysterious strains of familiar melodies reimagined expressly for this production. Lauderdale and Noack will each be seated at a grand piano to perform the score.

The Oregon Ballet Theatre will also perform Presto. At a mere nine minutes, Presto is a riveting burst of energy. From the moment the piece begins, chorographer Nicolo Fonte observes, "The two couples should feel as though they have been shot from a canon. The dancers must not only be fearless and confident in themselves, but also committed to the group as they hang onto, lean into, and support each other." The devilishly complex and quick choreography in Presto is punctuated with unusual, angular postures: sharply arched backs, outstretched arms, reaching fingers, and breathtaking extensions. The music by Ezio Bosso, that inspired the work, has a haunting and mesmerizing quality, which is reflected in the overall stop-and-go movement and creates a sense of uncertainty and tension.

Following a musical interlude of Hunter Noack playing Franz Liszt's "Etude No. 3 in G-sharp minor," OBT will present Jardi Tancat. Created for NDT2 in 1983 for a choreographic competition in Cologne, Germany Jardí Tancat was choreographer Nacho Duato's first ballet. The unique movement, music, and subject matter garnered him first prize at the competition and immediate fame and recognition as a significant new voice in the dance world. As with so much of his work, Duato's inspiration came from the nature and people of the Mediterranean region. Duato has asserted (in a 1994 interview with Dance Magazine). "[I must create] pieces that involve a Mediterranean way of seeing life and movement...I was born in Valencia, and so many cultures came or went through there and left an influence - Greek, Tunisian, West African,'s very earthy." Jardí Tancat (Catalan for "Closed Garden") is based on Catalonian folk songs collected and sung by Maria del Mar Bonet. With a sweet, yet passionate melancholy, these songs, and their dance portrayal tell the story of the people who work the barren land, praying to God for the rain that does not come and endured with great spirit in the face of hardship.

Tickets for this performance are priced at $105, $85, $65 and $45. Tickets are available at the Theatre's website at or by calling the McCallum Theatre Box Office at (760) 340-2787.

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From This Author David Green

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