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A ballet at the Moulin Rouge and a symphony in space

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The recent calendar has been a little busy, starting with a surprise party for Jean last Friday (at Verses), and a Valentine’s Dance on Saturday (at which we received some nice comments on our dancing, actually), and ending with another Verses dinner this Saturday, with a dance class and practice night fit in there as well.

And we also attended…

Moulin Rouge: The Ballet

The first ballet we’ve been to since, I think, the Ballet Béjart tribute to Freddie Mercury, quite a few years ago, in Montreal.

This one featured the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and took place in our home town concert hall. It was inspired by the Bahz Luhrmann movie, but didn’t imitate it so closely as to get into copyright trouble. So though it is still a love triangle between a woman who works at the Moulin Rouge, an impoverished artist, and a more powerful man, they aren’t the same characters as in the movie. We still get a tango scene, and green fairy scene, but not at the same points, nor for the same reasons, as in the movie.

No matter. The plot isn’t the point in a ballet; it’s just window dressing for the dancing. And that setting and themes made for some really lively dancing. It particularly came to life, of course, with the extended can-can scene inside the Moulin Rouge. That part begun with an unfortunate flub, in which one dancer was nearly dropped, but otherwise the dancing was nothing but impressive. (Not that I’m any expert.) I wasn’t sure what Jean thought of the whole thing, but he assured me he found it enjoyable—even though he knows this may mean has had to attend another ballet in another 10 years or so.

And Friday, we had tickets to Symphony in Space.

Space image

This was a KW Symphony Pops concert intended to feature music with a astrological theme. So there was some Star Wars music, some Star Trek music, and some things you wouldn’t expect, like Bach’s Bradenburg Concerto, which apparently is out there on a space capsule somewhere, searching for intelligent life.

I’ve never seen conductor John Morris Russell before, but man, what an enthusiastic, lively personality he is. Along with being interested in science as well as music, he’s quite passionate about education, so the show also featured some young performers. The most adorable thing was seeing all these tiny violin players trot out to join the symphony in Suzuki’s “Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Brought back memories of my own violin-playing days. But these kids were much better.

The second half was hosted by an astronaut, Bjarni Tryggvason, who guided us through the planets of our solar system as the symphony played excerpts from Holst: The Planets and a bit of Mozart (Jupiter). This part was also accompanied by these gorgeous NASA photos of the various planets. It was really hard to get bored during this concert.

The conclusion featured the Eastwood Collegiate Concert Choir accompanying soloist AJ Bridel on “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Man, does that girl have chops. Remember that name: She might be someone someday.

All in all it was one of the most enjoyable symphony performances of the season. Well worth making time for!

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