The St. Paul Ballet (SPB) brings audiences at The O’Shaughnessy back to the F. Scott Fitzgerald era with a fresh adaptation on the Bizet opera, Carmen. St. Paul Ballet fully embraces Fitzgerald’s description of the 1920s: “the parties were bigger. The pace was faster, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser, and the liquor was cheaper” (The Great Gatsby). The birthplace of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Twin Cities was known for successful bootlegging, supporting women’s rights, and speakeasy hot spots. St. Paul Ballet fuses a multitude of local Minnesota artists together to create and revisit a celebrated time period.
The project began two years ago with inspiration from the original story of the opera and George Bizet’s score. Zoé Emilie Henrot (Artistic Director) and Richard Erickson (Company Piano Accompanist and Company) worked to arrange and expand the score into a jazz style and interpret the original storyline to fit the 1920s time period. Henrot’s choreography not only features iconic dances such as the charleston and the shag, but also incorporates other artists throughout the metro such as Aaron Preusse, fight choreographer of Fake Fighting Company and professional swing dancers from Uptown Swing. In addition, this performance will showcase live a five-person jazz band on stage with conductor Yuri Ivan of the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, new sets painted by Macalester graduate Annie Henley, and era costumes by MaryBeth Gagner, costumer at Hamline University. These artists bring together and create a unique telling of Carmen completely enveloped in the booming 1920s culture and themes.
Carmen in the 1920s remembers this bebop flare and presents a full evening of live music, classical and swing dancing, and exhilarating story-telling. Audiences will be left in complete amazement of the many art forms displayed by local Twin Cities artists.
This project is funded in part by The McKnight Foundation.