CB Co-Director Emily Hartka first met Michelle Krisel (Artistic Director, Charlottesville Opera) back in 2010…and they’ve been plotting for the two organizations to collaborate ever since! Both the Ballet and the Opera have had enormous growth over the past 8 years, and Oklahoma! will mark the first official collaboration between the two Charlottesville institutions. “The Ballet and Opera are a natural fit,” says Co-Director Emily Hartka, “and there’s so much history of collaboration within this production.”
For this show, former Charlottesville Ballet dancer Mary Hein has been commissioned to return to Charlottesville and choreograph an updated version of the Dream Ballet using three professional dancers. Emily Hartka (Laurey), Shady Mohamed (Curly), and Toma Mori (Jud) will who serve as “body doubles” for the opera stars at the end of Act 1. “We’ll be referencing the original staging [of Agnes De Mille],” says Hein, “but modernizing the choreography and bringing the feeling of a real community with the singers and dancers together.”
Hein will choreograph multiple dancing scenes throughout Oklahoma!, which include a children’s cast of twelve student dancers from Charlottesville Ballet Academy. “Some of our young dancers have never even seen an opera,” says Hartka, “and they’ll be working alongside the opera stars, the ballet principals, the ensemble, and the full orchestra.” Oh what a beautiful day for Charlottesville!
Charlottesville Opera presents Oklahoma! in collaboration with the Charlottesville Ballet with performances at The Paramount Theater July 29 – August 5. More information and tickets at www.TheParamount.net