A Feast for the Senses! Choral Artists of Sarasota Presents “Carmina Burana in Motion”

Saturday, February 22, at Venice Performing Arts Center

Sunday, February 23, at Venice Performing Arts Center

A free “Concert Insights” event is February 11 at the Center for Arts & Humanity with Joseph Holt and Leymis Bolaños Wilmott

This lush reimaging of the choral masterpiece “Carmina Burana” features dynamic choreography by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott performed by members of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. Set to Carl Orff’s masterful score, the production features the entire percussion section of the Venice Symphony, two pianists, and 72 combined voices of the Choral Artists of Sarasota, Sarasota Young Voices and three soloists.

“Everything that’s important in life is in this piece.”

—Marin Alsop, Director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

 

(Sarasota, FL) Carl Orff’s classical choral masterpiece “Carmina Burana” will burst into life in a lush production designed for two choruses, three soloists, the entire percussion section of The Venice Symphony, two pianists, and dynamic choreography by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott performed by members of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. “Carmina Burana in Motion” is presented by Choral Artists of Sarasota, Saturday, February 22, 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 23, 3 p.m., at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave, Venice. Tickets are $25-$60. Tickets may be purchased only through the Venice Performing Arts Center at 941-218-3779. For more information about the concert, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org or call 941-387-4900. A free “Concert Insights” with Joseph Holt and Leymis Bolaños Wilmott is February 11, 10 a.m., at the Center for Arts & Humanity, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

“Carmina Burana in Motion” offers a bold, multisensory reimagining of the classic parable under the direction of Joseph Holt, the artistic director of Choral Artists of Sarasota. The production will artfully integrate the glorious sound of the human voice with the visual spectacle of dance. Members of Sarasota Contemporary Dance will perform Leymis Bolaños Wilmott’s original choreography which was commissioned by Choral Artists in 2017. The production also features the Sarasota Young Voices, and soloists Catherine Wethington, coloratura soprano; Luis González, baritone; and John Kaneklides, tenor. The Venice Symphony percussion ensemble, Dean Anderson, Gavin Dougherty, Paul Keesling, Dana Kimble, Al Lyman and Jeff Ridgeway, will perform four selections during the first half of the program. The program also features pianists Michael Stewart and Andrew Lapp.

Holt explains that Orff composed two different instrumental arrangements of “Carmina Burana”—one with full orchestra and the other in a two-piano, percussion ensemble version. As a chamber ensemble, Choral Artists will be presenting the masterpiece in the two-piano, percussion ensemble version.

According to Holt, “Carmina Burana” is a 20th-century choral masterpiece expressing ancient themes. “Orff composed this scenic cantata in 1936 based upon a bawdy collection of medieval poetry written by monks discovered in the spine of an ancient book.” He explains that Orff’s cantata explores the caprice of fortune, the transitory nature of life, sensual love, drunken monks, and the joy of spring’s return. The triumphant choral work is often referred to as a “gothic melodrama” and a morality play; it remains one of the most popular pieces of the classical music repertoire. “Orff designed this piece to be part of a multimedia experience from the beginning,” Holt adds. “Dance was always meant to be a key element.”

To honor Orff’s original intention, Holt sought out Leymis Bolaños Wilmott—the celebrated choreographer and artistic director and founder of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. Wilmott was immediately intrigued when Holt first approached her with this commission three years ago.

“I spent hours learning more about ‘Carmina’—and fell in love with the rich music and multidimensional story,” says Wilmott. “This piece is truly a feast for the senses; there’s so much movement and drama that creating the choreography has been a joy.” She adds that creating a literal interpretation was never her goal. “There are times I play against the music,” she says. “When the music is dramatic, the dance doesn’t have to be.”

The Choral Artists of Sarasota comprises 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers. Eight young singers, ages 16 to 22, are also invited to join the group each year, as part of the organization’s educational outreach. One of these gifted singers will be awarded the Barbara Diles Apprentice Scholarship, a funding program to support either private lessons or vocal training at an institution of higher learning.

 

About the Choral Artists of Sarasota

The Choral Artists of Sarasota, entering its 41st season, features 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers and eight apprentice singers. The group celebrates the rich, artistic expressiveness of choral music through innovative repertoire, inspired performances and stimulating educational outreach. Under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, Choral Artists of Sarasota performs a repertoire spanning four centuries, and includes symphonic choral works, intimate madrigals, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music. The ensemble also specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works—particularly music by living American composers. Choral Artists of Sarasota has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker and James Grant. As part of the organization’s educational outreach, eight young singers from area schools, colleges and universities, ages 16 to 22, are invited to join the group each year. For more information, visit www.ChoralArtistsSarasota.org.