A Ballet Based on Camino Real
by Tennessee Williams
Choreography by Helen Pickett
Music and sound by Peter Salem
Costume Design by Sandra Woodall
Lighting Design by David Finn
Set Design by David Finn and Emma Kingsbury
Live with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra led by guest conductor Ari Pelto
Kilroy is coming…For her fourth work and first full-evening ballet for Atlanta Ballet, Helen Pickett brings the world premiere of Camino Real. Inspired by the 1953 Tennessee Williams play of the same name, the story is told from the perspective of Kilroy, a character based on patriotic iconography from the WWII era. The work grapples with human mortality, the burning desire to connect, and the will to live. Atlanta Ballet has commissioned a brand new score for this full-evening ballet, which will be performed live by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. Let yourself be pulled into a mind-twisting yet poignant program with Camino Real.
‘We can all look at these plays and recognize the things we do to ourselves. We cringe, we laugh, and we have that moment of recognition...’
– Helen Pickett in a January 2014 Creative Loafing article
*Please be aware that there will be no late seating in the orchestra at all performances of Camino Real. Latecomers will be seated in the rear of the mezzanine or grand tier and can relocate to their ticketed seats at intermission. We appreciate your understanding.
Run time is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.
Program subject to change.
Image: Costume sketches by Sandra Woodall.
Rehearsal and marketing photos: Atlanta Ballet Company dancers Alexandre Barros, Jacob Bush, Peng-Yu Chen, Christian Clark, Heath Gill, Tara Lee, Nadia Mara, Miguel Angel Montoya, Brandon Nguyen, Rachel Van Buskirk, John Welker. Photos by Charlie McCullers.
Production photos: Atlanta Ballet company dancers Christian Clark, Kiara Felder, Heath Gill, Jonah Hooper, Tara Lee, Nadia Mara, Miguel Angel Montoya, Jackie Nash, Jared Tan, and John Welker; apprentice Brandon Funk; and Fellowship dancers Shaun Gheyssen, Devon Joslin, and Lydia Redpath. Photos by Kim Kenney and Charlie McCullers.
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the first major performing arts facility built in metro Atlanta in four decades.
Location and Parking
The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is located in northwest Atlanta near the junction of I-75 and I-285, at the intersection of Cobb Galleria Parkway and Akers Mill Road. Self parking is available on site for a $6 fee, and valet parking is available for select performances for a $10 fee. You can also pay for paking in advance online - click here for more information. Please do not park in the Toys"R"Us lot on Akers Mill Rd. This is not approved parking for the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, so your car may be booted or towed if left there.
Emergency Phone Number
(770) 916-2911 is the 24-hour public safety number for the Cobb Energy Centre. Please leave your seat location with your babysitter or answering service so that the house manager may find you in case of an emergency.
The venue is ADA compliant. Designated seats in various locations are available for guests with disabilities and those needing special assistance. The venue is equipped with wheelchair accessible courtesy phones, elevators, plaza ramps, wheelchair accessible ticket windows, and wheelchair accessible drinking fountains. For more information, please call (770) 916-2800.
Community and Corporate Group Tickets
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Click here for details and to submit a request to Myredith Gonzales, Group Sales Manager.
Pickett’s Camino Real is a surreal, dark-tinged world so intricately detailed that it’s sometimes disorienting. Like an intense roller coaster ride filled with sporadic, jerkily urgent twists and turns, the unstoppable action carries on, by turns wrenching, riveting and redemptive. It’s as if we’re invited into the playwright’s mind — a shadowy world tangled with the machinations of power over the powerless, of love and possessiveness and what confinement does to the human spirit. - See more at: http://www.artsatl.com/2015/03/review-atlanta-ballets-helen-pickett-camino-real/#sthash.c5S3hGpK.dpuf
Critics have said that Tennessee Williams was years ahead of his time when he wrote the play that inspired Pickett’s ballet. Nobody else was writing deconstructed plays in 1953. It was not a success until at least ten years later, and he didn’t use the same format again. I think this ballet will be an instant success, and is ultimately destined to become one of the classic works in the repertoires of major companies. You can say you saw it first in Atlanta.
Cynthia Bond Perry, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 16, 2015
But it is considered Williams’ most poetic writing, said Pickett, who sees it more as an “ode to the spirit of good and evil.” She aims to make the work “touch down” with audiences by presenting it as a hero’s journey with love stories between five empathetic characters, “peppered with text,” starting with Kilroy, an all-American fighter with a heart of gold.
The intensity of the dance, along with the lines peppered throughout, what Pickett calls the "evocative spice," will really connect the audience with the characters and the story, she said. Patrons will find many moments to relate to, said Pickett. (pg. 28-31)
Could the play about an American traveler straddling two worlds work better as dance than as dialogue? That’s the thinking behind Helen Pickett’s Atlanta Ballet adaptation, her first full-length show for the company since she became its resident choreographer in 2012.
"The play is deeply rooted in the heartbeat of life; that constant thump of renewal." Pickett notes. "It is full of warmth, hope, love, deep regret, loathing, revenge, utter despair, lonliness, yearning, vindication, ascension, dissension, passion," she continues. In other words, the stuff of life.
Pickett said: “I decided to make the characters the tangible and concrete aspects. I felt their ‘realness’ and knew this was where it would not be surreal. I also conflated and cut some characters. I did this so I could tell the story in the way I understood it. I ground my retelling in the romantic aspect. These characters are all speaking of love and justice and the will to live and love a free life. That is how I interpreted it. Then Tennessee has built beautiful power struggles between good and evil, which define many good stories.”
Peng was excited to return to the rehearsal process, especially for “Camino Real” because original choreography is constantly evolving and changing, and she’s enjoyed watching it all come together. She says there was a lot of trial-and-error involved as well as collaboration between the dancers and Pickett.
#“I love to be a part of it and to have input. Sometimes you do something that your instincts tell you and she (Pickett) is like, ‘Great, do that.’ It seems natural to us and her at the same time. It’s really on the spot, and you’re learning as you go and I really love that,” Peng said.
Amy Brandt, Pointe Magazine Online, March 19, 2015
This weekend, Atlanta Ballet presents the world premiere of Helen Pickett's Camino Real. Inspired by the Tennessee Williams play of the same name, it tells the story of an unlikely cast of characters trapped in a dusty, dead end town. Not only is it Pickett's first full-length ballet, but the five main characters also have speaking roles. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with Atlanta Ballet dancer Nadia Mara before opening night.
In her recent choreography at Atlanta Ballet and Scottish Ballet, she has incorporated text into the dances. Instead of strictly ballet, it's more “dance theater,” which will be the case with the "Camino Real" premiere.
"Creativity breeds creativity," Pickett says. "All too often, we got these categories, and we put people in boxes. You're a dancer, you're an actor, you're a painter, you're a sculptor. And the point is that if you open a door just a crack and say, why don't you try this, more often than not, you are going to have some sort of success."
Pickett, Atlanta Ballet’s resident choreographer since 2012, likes to blur the line between theater and dance, and often talks about the importance of humanity in her work. Pickett had a decade of work with choreographer William Forsythe and his Ballet Frankfurt, and several years of experimental theater and film work. Her last piece for Atlanta Ballet, The Exiled, also featured spoken words and was inspired by Sartre’s No Exit.
Dancing in “Camino Real” has been a rewarding experience. It has been a collaborative process between the choreographer, dancers, designers and staff. Just to be a part of a ballet that is a world premiere based on a play by Tennessee Williams is in of itself a success.
LaTria Garnigan , Neighbor Newspapers, March 17, 2015
For Welker, who will play the character of Gutman, he has five pages of lines to memorize alongside his dance numbers. “I have pretty much as many lines as I do dancing, and it is a very new thing for me; it is new territory but it is also a new opportunity to discover the subtleties of my character,” he said. Welker describes Gutman as the arch villain, who revels in his evilness and rules with a heavy hand. He said he hopes to do his job right and have audiences despise and love his character at the same time.
Hooper and Welker said they look forward to bringing the show to audiences and said the production will be filled with dancing and beautiful costumes.
Kathy Goldsberry , The Marietta Daily Journal, March 18, 2015
“(The story) is very complex. We all read the play before we started working on it. It’s really hard,” Barros said. “(Pickett) put every single detail from the play into the stage. The sets are amazing. They’re so beautiful. The music was just created. The choreography is brand new as well. There’s a lot of passion and a lot of love going into it — from Helen, from the dancers, from our company, just from everybody.”
Yoch said the story’s uniqueness, while challenging to portray, will have audiences thinking about it long after they leave the theater.
ATLRetro caught up with Alessa for a quick interview about her trek into the dancing world; fully immersing one’s self into a character; her take on Helen Pickett’s ballet adaptation of Williams’ CAMINO REAL; and the sweet, sweet smell of vampires.
Howard Pousner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 11, 2015
Gill’s all-American demeanor — curly red hair, comedic sense and a face that’s a window on his emotions — make a strong match for Kilroy, based on patriotic World War II-era iconography. Unlike previous parts including Mercutio in “Roméo et Juliette” and Jonathan Harker in “Dracula,” this is Gill’s first role (since his early musical theater days) that requires voice-acting.
This spring, Atlanta Ballet will present the world premiere of a ballet based on "Camino Real" by Tennessee Williams, the renowned playwright who authored such American classics as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Choreographed by Atlanta Ballet choreographer in residence Helen Pickett, Williams' "lost classic" of love, redemption and courage will debut March 20-22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Check out pictures and renderings from the show below!
Andrew Alexander, Creative Loafing, February 18, 2015
Things will be busy over at the ballet this month because in late March, the company will perform an all-new world premiere adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Camino Real created by the company's new choreographer-in-residence Helen Pickett. The work represents a number of significant firsts: the first ballet ever based on Camino Real, the first time the Atlanta Ballet has approached performing the work of Tennessee Williams, and it's Pickett's first full-length ballet (no pressure or anything).
In Camino Real, Pickett has employed many of these methods. Since it’s a narrative, she has really focused on the intention of each movement and how to convey the story. She admits that she keeps coming back to the text, pulling out her copy of the script for emphasis and showing all the tabs and dog-eared pages.
This spring, Atlanta Ballet will present the world premiere of a ballet based on “Camino Real” by Tennessee Williams, the renowned playwright who authored such American classics as “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Choreographed by Atlanta Ballet choreographer in residence Helen Pickett, Williams’ “lost classic” of love, redemption and courage will debut March 20-22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
A wonderful departure from the usual
by Raney on March 25, 2015
I enjoyed every aspect of this ground breaking ballet. I had done some prior research so knew a little of the play but I can agree that the audience could have benefited from some play notes in the program. I loved the choreography, the music and of course, the lithe, lyrical dancing of some segments and the high energy of others.
Camino not Real
by James Taylor on March 24, 2015
Wonderful performance by the cast, great music by the orchestra, great production and costumes, but the overall choice of Camino Real as the production is not evocative of the Atlanta Ballet that I know. Speaking during the production I feel diminishes the performances in a way. Please leave the theater out of the ballet, but if there must be a theatre production, pick another play.
Another fantastic ballet by atlanta ballet.
by Ronald Huet on March 23, 2015
Camino real was another example of the high quality ballet we have in Atlanta, GA,
We enjoyed the performance. The costumes were great and the scenery was exceptional.
The dialogue was at times difficult to understand because of the sound system.
Alessa Rogers was fantastic as Esmeralda. I would put Atlanta Ballet company up against any ballet company in the world.
Highly recommend this ballet. Good job to everyone.
by Atlanta Dancer on March 23, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The set, costuming, and dancing were all incredible. I do have to say that I thought some group dancing sequences could have been more together...and there were some dancers in minor roles that I would have liked to see in feature roles-- I felt they had more commitment to the characters that they were portraying than some lead dancers.
Overall though, it was fantastic. I left feeling that I had just witnessed something truly groundbreaking in the world of ballet.
by Craig Allen on March 22, 2015
A bold and brash production in every sense. Set design, costumes, and especially the choreography, dance, and original music - awesome! We would see this again, and this ballet should appeal to a wide range of audiences. Thank you for an entertaining afternoon!
Original, creative, novel use of the performance space
by Henry Brent on March 22, 2015
All of the performances Were top-notch. Dancing was superb as were costumes and sets. An extremely original approach. I agree with the earlier reviewer, however, that due to the complex story line, It would have been very helpful to include better plot summary notes in the program so that the audience would have a better idea of what was going on --but congratulations on developing new, refreshing content and new ways to present the ballet to wider audiences.
Camino Real, Awesome
by Jane Wilson on March 22, 2015
My daughter and myself thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The dancing, performing and the speaking was great. I loved the interaction with the audience, during and before the ballet began. It was a great experience! Thanks to everyone involved for making this amazing ballet.
Camino Real, Totally Awesome
by Mary Jane Wilson on March 22, 2015
My daughter and myself thoroughly enjoy every aspect of this amazing performance. Wonderful cast of dancers, and performers. Engaging the audience was a bonus on stage and in lobby.. Thanks for the entertainment! I loved the speaking, added more to it than just dancing!
a great performance
by Richard Utz on March 22, 2015
Music, dance, and stagecraft united in the performance into a great experience.
The Atlanta Ballet Shines again.
by Tarek Takieddini on March 21, 2015
I thought the Ballet was very good,the choreography was great, the lead dancers did a great performance, the orchestra was amazing.
The atlanta ballet company did it again, looking forward to the next performance.
I enjoyed it, but…
by Allan Little on March 21, 2015
I thought the dancing, particularly by the two leading ladies, was very good. The problem with the presentation stems from the surrealistic nature of the story. It would be very helpful to include better plot summary notes in the program so that the audience would have had a better idea of what was going on. This is a difficult play even by Tennessee Williams' standards and the audience needs to be better prepared. The voices were difficult to understand and, to us, created more confusion than clarification. Nonetheless, it was a boldly original presentation which I'm glad I saw.
Camino Real, Thrilling Experience
by Warner Maney on March 21, 2015
I loved the multi-layered choreography and how the characters and dance overlapped so that there was always something going on in every part of the scene/stage. Cheers to Helen Pickett and her wonderful cast of dancers.
Helen Pickett, born in San Diego, California, studied dance in her hometown and at The San Francisco Ballet School under the direction of Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin, and Helgi Tomasson.
Since 2012, Helen has been resident choreographer for Atlanta Ballet. In 2014, for her ballet, The Exiled, she was named Best Choreographer in Atlanta. And in 2015, Helen premieres her fist full-length ballet, Camino Real by Tennessee Williams. The commission includes a new score by Peter Salem, set by David Finn and Emma Kingsbury, costumes by Sandra Woodall, and lighting design by David Finn.
In 2005, Mikko Nissinen, director of the Boston Ballet, offered Helen her first choreographic commission entitled Etesian. The New York Choreographic Institute awarded her a Fellowship Initiative Grant in 2006. In the same year and through 2008, Helen choreographed for Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Louisville Ballet, and Ballet X. In 2007, Dance Magazine named Helen one of "25 to Watch." She received a choreographic residency from Jacob’s Pillow in 2008. Helen was one of the first choreographers to receive the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works Grant. From 2009 through 2011, Helen created new ballets for Royal Ballet of Flanders, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. In the 2012/2013 season, her commissions included Semper Oper/Dresden Ballet, Vienna State Opera, Scottish Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Smuin Ballet. Future commissions include: Les Troyens, Opera by Hector Berlioz, Chicago Lyric, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet West, Kansas City Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Scottish Ballet, and Boston Ballet.
Helen has collaborated, as an actress and choreographer, with installation video artists and filmmakers including Eve Sussman, Toni Dove, and Laurie Simmons. Helen, a founding member of Eve Sussman’s The Rufus Corporation, created the role of the Queen in 89 Seconds at Alcazar, which was shown at the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and now is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2007, Helen acted in Sussman’s feature length film, The Rape of the Sabine Women. She choreographed the bubble dance and played Sally Rand in Toni Dove's video installation and feature film, Spectropia. Helen choreographed the dance sequences for Laurie Simmons’ The Music of Regret, which had its world premiere in 2006 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For over a decade Helen performed with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. During her last season with Ballet Frankfurt, Helen simultaneously performed with The Wooster Group and director Elizabeth Le Compte. She acted with the group for five non-consecutive years in the OBIE award-winning House/Lights and North Atlantic. In 2005, Helen returned to the speaking role, Agnes, as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet of Flanders in William Forsythe’s Impressing the Czar. In 2009, Impressing the Czar received the Laurence Olivier Award, and in 2012, the Prix de la Critique award for outstanding performance of the year. In spring 2015, Dresden Semper Oper will revive Impressing the Czar.
Helen teaches Forsythe Improvisation Technologies throughout Europe and the United States. In addition, she has created a motivational creative workshop, entitled "The Expansive Artist," and a choreographic intensive for college-aged choreographers titled, "Choreographic Essentials."
In 2006, Dance Europe published Helen’s article, "Considering Cezanne." In 2012, Emory University published her writing for the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, director Martha Fineman, that appeared on the Emory University School of Law website.
In 2011, Helen earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University. For her Master’s thesis, she collaborated with Christopher Janney, sound and light architect.
Please visit helenpickett.com for more information on Helen Pickett and her work.
Photo by Tatiana Wills.
Tennessee Williams, Playwright
Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for A Streetcar Named Desire and in 1955 for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Other plays include Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real, Baby Doll, The Glass Menagerie, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer, The Night of the Iguana, Sweet Bird of Youth, and The Two-Character Play. Tennessee Williams died in 1983.
David Finn, Lighting & Co-scenic Designer
Camino Real is David’s first professional scenic design for the stage. He worked previously with Helen Pickett as lighting designer on The Exiled for Atlanta Ballet last season. David’s lighting design credits for dance include The Nutcracker and Cinderella (Birmingham Royal Ballet), Romeo & Juliette for Sasha Waltz (Paris Opera Ballet), Swan Lake (Bayerisches Staatsballett), and works for renowned choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, James Kudelka, José Limón, Helgi Tomasson, Liam Scarlett, Yuri Possokhov, and Dana Reitz, as well as for leading international companies. David was the resident lighting designer for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project from 1993-2000. His opera work includes projects for the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Paris Opera, La Scala Milan, Salzburg Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Berlin Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, La Monnaie (Brussels), Opera de Lyon, Opera Communale (Florence), Het Muziektheater (Amsterdam), Stuttgart Opera, Opera Australia, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and San Francisco Opera. For film, Finn’s work includes stage lighting for Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence and producer/director of the PBS documentary The Green Monster. David has designed two shows for Cirque du Soleil: ZED in Tokyo and MICHAEL JACKSON ONE in Las Vegas. Future plans include Hansel & Gretel for Het Muziektheater (Amsterdam), The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Australia, Waiting for Godot for the Theatre du Nouvelle Monde (Montreal), and a world premiere of Frankenstein for The Royal Ballet. David Finn photo courtesy of roh.org.
Emma Kingsbury, Co-scenic Designer
Emma Kingsbury has completed a Bachelor of Design from NIDA and a Bachelor of Creative Arts from The University of Melbourne. Emma is a proud recipient of 2011 The William Fletcher Foundation Grant for Excellence in Design. Emma has designed for film, television, theatre, opera, and dance. Most recently, Emma was costume designer for Atomic The Musical for Off-Broadway in New York and was set and costume designer for the Salieri opera The Chimney Sweep for Pinchgut Opera in Sydney. In 2014, she was also costume buyer for Gods of Egypt to costume designer Liz Palmer and wardrobe supervisor Helen Dykes (January 2014- May 2014). She was assistant designer to Dan Potra on the Dreamworks/Global Creatures arena spectacular How To Train Your Dragon (November 2011-March 2012). She is currently an associate designer (Oedipus Rex) for Belvoir Street Theatre and costume designed the multi-award winning The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe. Emma was costume design assistant to costume designer Isis Mussenden and assistant costume designer Gypsy Taylor on The Wolverine Fox Film Australia (June 2012- December 2012). Emma was production design mentor for The Shoot, a co-production between Samsung, Baz Luhrmann, NIDA, and Sydney Opera House. She was head of th art department/art director for Channel 9 and Ambience Entertainment’s Seasons 4 and 5 of Magical Tales, working out of Fox Studios Sydney. Emma has worked as costume designer and concept artist for Jim Sharman’s film Andy X The Movie, featuring at the Brisbane Festival and Melbourne International Arts Festival. Other production design highlights include I Have Had Enough (Sydney Chamber Opera), SANTAFEST (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority), Two by Two (45 Downstairs), Return To Earth (Griffin Theatre Company), Nightbook (Can You See Me? Theatre), The Criminals (Old 505), The Tempest (AADA), The Winter’s Tale, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, The Lonesome West (Theatreworks), Into The Woods, and Ekkentros and Ubu Roi (PipeDream) and music videos for Planet Love Sound, Emma Birdsall, Twin Lakes, and Jinja Safari. Emma Kingsbury photo courtesy of emmakingsbury.com.
Peter Salem, Music and Sound Designer
Peter Salem's compositions range from scores for television dramas and documentaries to film to music for theatre, dance, and concert hall. His full-length ballet, A Streetcar Named Desire, which was commissioned by Scottish Ballet, won the Southbank Sky Arts award in 2013 and was nominated for an Olivier Award. It is currently being revived in the UK and will tour the US in May. He has a new ballet commission from English National Ballet for 2016. Peter's many television scores include music for the hugely popular series Call the Midwife. Other dramas include Great Expectations, the award-winning 5 Daughters, and, most recently, Cider with Rosie, all for the BBC. He has scored crime dramas such as Trial and Retribution, Painted Lady, and TheVice and documentaries like Francesco’s Venice and Simon Schama’s The Power of Art, as well as writing music for the ballet movie Alive and Kicking. Peter has composed music for many theatre productions in London's West End, at the National Theatre, and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as for the multi-award winning physical theatre company Shared Experience Theatre. His music for the concert hall includes a series of pieces for strings, including Windhover for piano trio that was recorded by the Fidelio Trio. Peter Salem photo courtesy of petersalem.co.uk.
Sandra Woodall, Costume Designer
Sandra Woodall has contributed scenic and costume designs to San Francisco Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Georgian National Ballet, The Norwegian National Ballet, the State Opera Ballet of Austria, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Project, Singapore Dance Theatre, National Ballet of Finland, and other companies around the world. Recent productions include visual design of Winter Dreams. Ms. Woodall’s artwork and designs have been shown in solo exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut and the San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design and in numerous group exhibitions, including the 2011 Wearable Art exhibit in Hong Kong. In 1999 and 2000, she was a Fulbright scholar teaching at what is now the Taiwan National University of the Arts (TNUA); she has contributed designs and visual consultation to many productions in Taiwan and China, including 2009’s stadium-scale opening pageant for the Deaf Olympics, scenic designs for the 100th anniversary-celebration of Taiwan National Day, and in the 2015 scenic and costume design of Winter Journey by Wan Fang and directed by Stan Lai in Beijing. Sandra Woodall photo courtesy of cballet.org.
With performances that have been called poetic, earthy, vigorous and highly individual, conductor Ari Pelto is in demand in opera houses throughout the United States. Since his debut in 2004 conducting Verdi's La Traviata at the New York City Opera, Mr. Pelto has been engaged as a regular guest conductor for the company, conducting Madama Butterfly,Carmen, and La Bohème in subsequent seasons. Highlights from his most recent season include Romeo et Juliet at Minnesota Opera, Magic Flute at Portland Opera, La Bohème at Boston Lyric Opera, and The Cunning Little Vixen at Chautauqua.
Mr. Pelto works regularly at some of the country's most prestigious conservatories and young artists' programs. In 2005, he conducted Don Giovanni at Wolf Trap and returned in 2006 to conduct a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro. At San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, he conducted Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia in 2004. He has conducted operas at the Oberlin and San Francisco Conservatories, the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Curtis Institute of Music. He has also been engaged as a regular faculty member and conductor at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, where, in the spring of 2008, he conducted Le Nozze di Figaro.
Mr. Pelto spent the fall of 2002 conducting 30 performances of La Bohème in 20 states with the Western Opera Theater (San Francisco Opera's national touring company), after bringing Cosi Fan Tutte to 21 states the previous year. In 1999, he made his international debut in Germany with the Bochumer Symphoniker, and the same year conducted Lucia di Lammermoor at the Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, CA, returning the next year to lead Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He returned to Festival Opera in 2006 to conduct Tosca. In recent seasons, he has had repeat engagements with the Florida Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and Atlanta Ballet.
At age 24, he became assistant conductor of the Spoleto Festival USA, where he led symphonic and chamber orchestra programs to critical acclaim and was responsible for the musical preparation of productions of Fidelio, Janacek's Excursions of Mr. Broucek, and Britten's Curlew River. From 2000-2002, he served as assistant conductor of the Florida West Coast Symphony in Sarasota, FL, conducting over 30 concerts there.
Mr. Pelto has had the good fortune to work with a number of the world's finest teachers of conducting, including Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, and Mendi Rodan. At the Indiana University School of Music, he studied with the eminent conductor Imre Pallo. While pursuing his degree there, he also served as assistant conductor of the Opera Theater, where he led many performances including those of Don Pasquale, The Marriage of Figaro, Idomeneo, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Falstaff.
He holds a degree in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory and has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral violinist in Europe, China, and throughout the United States. www.aripelto.com.
Photo courtesy of www.aripelto.com.
Choreographer Helen Pickett's Latest Posts about Camino Real