Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini Announces his Twentieth Season

Apr 30, 2014 in 14-15 Season Releases

Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini announces the 2014/15 season, which also celebrates his twentieth consecutive year with Tulsa Ballet. This monumental season aims to strike a unique balance between audience favorites and World Premieres by some of the world’s most in-demand choreographers, works that were instrumental for the development of the company during his tenure as well as some of his own favorite works of the past two decades.

Tulsa Ballet performances will take place at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Studio K at the Tulsa Ballet headquarters, as well as a spring series in The Lorton Performance Center on the campus of The University of Tulsa.

“I am truly thrilled about our upcoming 2014/15 season. My goal is to strike the right balance between new works and existing masterpieces, familiar choreographers and the introduction of new masters of choreography and content versus entertainment value. Do expect all this dance to be connected by a familiar thread: the quality of our dancers, the excellence of our company and the brilliance of our choreographers! As always, I am confident that there is something to love for each and every audience member.”


PROGRAM 1: Creations in Studio K

September 26-28 & October 2-5
Tulsa Ballet Studio K Theater

Choreography by Adam Hougland, Luciano Cannito and Ashley Page.

Expect to be moved when we showcase three exciting works created just for Tulsa Ballet by acclaimed choreographers from around the world. This season’s Creations in Studio K features fresh choreography by Adam Hougland, Luciano Cannito and Ashley Page, all of which have a personal connection to Artistic Director Marcello Angelini.

These world-renown choreographers were brought to Tulsa to craft the most important program of the season, one that focuses on the future of the art form. “Dance exists between the past, present and the future, ” said Angelini. “Creations are essential to the evolution of dance.”

Adam Hougland created Rite of Spring, which was performed by Tulsa Ballet in September 2012. He is Resident Choreographer for Cincinnati Ballet and Artist in Residence at The Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The power of his telling of the Rite of Spring moved our audience and sparked debate, which was the aim of this masterpiece a century ago when it first premiered. Hougland managed to modernize this work keeping its essence and yet revamping its language. As the curtain fell on its premiere Angelini asked Hougland to create a new work for Tulsa Ballet.

Luciano Cannito composed Viva Verdi for Tulsa Ballet in 2008, which was claimed an “instant success” by the Tulsa World. Since 2005 he has served as the Artistic for the ballet company of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Cannito grew up in Naples, Italy, the same hometown as Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini, where the two of them knew each other since their teen-age years. Their careers took different paths, with Cannito choosing to specialize in contemporary dance while Angelini focused on classical ballet. They reunited in Naples first, when Cannito called Angelini to dance his version of Marco Polo in 1992 at the San Carlo Opera House and then in Tulsa when Angelini called him to stage Mare Nostrum in 1998 and then to create Viva Verdi in 2008.

Ashley Page trained at the Royal Ballet Lower and Upper Schools and went on to join the Royal Ballet Company, being promoted to Principal Dancer in 1984. Page is one of the most iconic figures of British dance, having choreographed 18 new works for The Royal Ballet in London before being nominated Artistic Director at the Scottish Ballet from 2002, a post he held till 2012. As a guest choreographer, his works are performed by the likes of the San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and Vienna State Ballet among others. Audiences around the world know him for his spectacular choreography of the Vienna New Year’s Concert, televised and broadcast from Vienna in 73 countries and watched by over 50 million people every year. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Lawrence Olivier Award for choreography and the 2011 Critics Circle National Dance Award.

PROGRAM 2: Carmina Burana
October 31 and November 1 at 8pm, November 2 at 3pm
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Choreography by Ma Cong, Music by Carl Orff
with Bolero – Nicolo Fonte

Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Oratorio Chorus and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra join us to bring Ma Cong’s vision of Carl Orff’s powerful music to life.

This city’s largest performing arts organizations will gather at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center to present the ever-popular Carmina Burana. The return of this collaborative production has been anticipated since it was last enjoyed locally in 2010.

Carmina Burana is based on 800-year-old poetry written by the monks of a thirteenth-century Benedictine monastery and set to the musical score by composer Carl Orff. Choreographed by Ma Cong, retired Principal Dancer and Resident Choreographer for Tulsa Ballet, this interpretation was first performed as part of Tulsa Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Season.

“This performance takes the audience on a journey that examines the undeniable power of love and the unexpected discoveries it brings,” said Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini. “We will experience this roller coaster of emotions that include passion, jealousy, betrayal and reconciliation. When you combine the power of the subject matter with the raw intensity of Carl Orff’s score accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, a 100 voice chorus and the incredible body language used by contemporary dance, the end result is a full fledged theatrical experience like none other.”

Also included in the program will be Bolero, by acclaimed choreographer, Nicolo Fonte. Fonte, Resident Choreographer of Ballet West, is one of the most prestigious American choreographers of our time. He has created and staged works for the top companies of the world, companies such as the Stuttgart Ballet, Nacho Duato’s Compania Nacional de Dansa in Madrid, The Australian Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet and many others. Fonte has developed a unique choreographic voice with his daring and original approach to dance, a choreographic style Tulsa audiences have experienced last May with his creation Axis Mundi for Tulsa Ballet’s Studio K series.

PROGRAM 3: The Nutcracker

December 12,19, 20 and 21 at 7pm, December 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 2pm
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Choreography by Marcello Angelini, Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

A young girl’s fantasy unfolds in this remarkable production that mixes the visuals of a Broadway show with the heartwarming story of a fairytale Christmas. More than 100 local children join the professional company to help the larger-than-life Mouse King battle the Nutcracker Prince and his toy soldier brigade. New elements that premiered in 2012, including a brand new opening party scene and the return of beloved character Mother Ginger, return again as part of the 2014 production.

PROGRAM 4: The Sleeping Beauty
February 20 and 21 at 8pm, February 22 at 3pm
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Choreography by Marcello Angelini after Marius Petipa, Music by Peter Tchaikovsky

Tulsa Ballet brings one of the world’s most beloved romantic fairy tales to life with its blockbuster production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, February 20th – 22nd. This timeless classic about a princess, a spell and a kiss transforms the professional dancers of Tulsa Ballet into a vibrant cast of characters that includes: magical fairies, an evil queen, delightful animals, a beautiful princess and, of course, a handsome prince who ultimately proves that true love conquers all.

This lavish production will feature scenery and costumes suitable for royalty. Originally created for Houston Ballet by Tony Award winning designer Desmond Heeley, this production overflows with stunning visuals that have been described as “eye-popping” by Dance Magazine.

Tulsa Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty will be staged by Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini, featuring the original choreography by Marius Petipa with additional choreography by Angelini. The ballet features one of the world’s most recognizable scores by composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. All performances will be accompanied by live music from the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

Marcello Angelini says, “The Sleeping Beauty is the ultimate classical ballet. By the same token, it’s a production that resonates with all audiences on many different levels. When you add to the magnificent choreography, a story that every child age 5 to 95 knows, the opulent sets and costumes along with the glorious music by Tchaikovsky, which was also used in the Walt Disney epic movie, the result is a truly extraordinary show that can rival any and all modern Broadway sensations.”

As for his staging of Beauty, Angelini adds: “It’s very important to stage these works with the outmost technical and sylistic accuracy while, at the same time, bringing their essence to life. It’s equally important to distill and filter the original Petipa choreography as; 125 years after its premiere, audiences’ attention span have significantly decreased. The original score, with all the musical cuts open, spans four acts and almost four hours. When crafting a version for Tulsa Ballet, I tasked myself with streamlining the story, upholding the traditional concept and choreography while adding choreographic bridges to connect the essential elements of the ballet. The result is a two act piece running two hours and fifteen minutes, that keeps intact the cardinal pieces of the work while moving through the story at a pace commensurate with the times we live in”.

PROGRAM 5: The Three Musketeers
March 27 and 28 at 8pm and March 29 at 3pm
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Choreography by Andre Prokovsky, Music by Giuseppe Verdi

This one is for the guys! With every major role danced by men, The Three Musketeers is sure to thrill everyone in the audience, regardless of their gender. This swashbuckling tale choreographed by Andre Prokovsky swings into Tulsa for the first time in over a decade. Based on the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas, the adventures of the "Three Musketeers" come to life in a full-length ballet described by the New York Times as "a rollicking fast-paced production."

Follow Athos, Porthos and Aramis through a combination of action, romance and comedy as the musketeers set out to protect the honor of Queen Anne. The Three Musketeers has delighted and charmed audiences since its premiere by the Australian Ballet, in 1980.

PROGRAM 6: XX (TWENTY) – 3 World Premieres

May 8, 9, 15, 16 at 8pm and May 10 and 17, at 3pm
Lorton Performance Center at The University of Tulsa

The final production of the season, titled XX (Twenty), will celebrate Angelini’s 20 years’ tenure with Tulsa Ballet. Starting with this goal in mind, Angelini went on to craft a program encompassing works that represent some of the most significant milestones of his tenure. The program will open with Val Caniparoli’s Going for Baroque, which was the first of over 30 works Mr. Angelini commissioned for the company. Going for Baroque was also featured in the opening program of Tulsa Ballet’s first international tour to Sintra, Portugal and earned the company the headline “One of the best in the world” by the weekly publication El Semanario.

Following Going for Baroque, the program will feature a World Premiere by Ma Cong. Angelini says “A program celebrating the milestones of my 20 years with Tulsa Ballet would not be complete without a new work by Ma Cong. Ma came to Tulsa in 1999, grew through the ranks as a dancer, started choreographing for our company and now, 15 years later and after a rewarding career as a Principal Dancer, he is creating and staging his works for companies all over the world. He is truly a product of Tulsa Ballet’s artistic philosophy. With his new work we will celebrate our company’s artistic culture”.

The program will close with Age of Innocence by Edwaard Liang, a ballet that Angelini describes as “love at first sight”. Again Angelini “Closing this program, and my 20th anniversary season, was an interesting task. I needed to schedule a work that complemented well the other two in the program, a work that showcased the growth Tulsa Ballet has experienced during my time and a work that meant something to me. It didn’t take long to realize that Age was ‘the one’. First, it offers a great balance to the rest of the program, both stylistically and musically. Then it’s one of my all-time favorite works. It’s also from one of my favorite choreographers of the past decade and a dance maker that promises to shape the field of dance for the next quarter century. Lastly, it is from the individual that created our first, and only to date, original full length story ballet: Romeo and Juliet. XX will celebrate creativity, the past 20 years of the company and the future of both Tulsa Ballet and the field of dance”.

Going for Baroque
Choreography by Val Caniparoli

Age of Innocence

Choreography by Edwaard Liang

Brand New World Premiere from Ma Cong
Choreography by Ma Cong

Tulsa Ballet II, the second company of Tulsa Ballet, will have its own season of two productions: "On Your Radar," Sept. 5 and 7, and "Emerging Choreographers Showcase," April 17 and 19, held at Studio K.