You won’t want to miss LYRIC OPERA and THE JOFFREY BALLET’s stunning new production of Gluck’s ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE, directed, choreographed and designed by John Neumeier, and sung in French with projected English translation.
In a marriage made in heaven, the Joffrey and Lyric Opera combine to create a ballet opera that unites the two art forms in a seamless blend of sublime dance and music. (Civic Opera House, through October 15).
One of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces, Gluck’s exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, in Neumeier’s version a choreographer whose wife, Eurydice, is to dance the lead in his new ballet, “The Isle of the Dead.” When she arrives late for rehearsal, the two have words, and she storms out, only to be struck by a car and killed in the street outside the rehearsal studio. Orpheus, whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice, refuses to accept her death and courageously journeys to the Underworld to bring her back to life. The music reaches true heights of eloquence and emotion. Lyric presents Orphée et Eurydice in the Paris version, for which Gluck composed extensive additional ballet music. Neumeier infuses dance into every fiber of the opera in Lyric’s first-ever collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet, one which is to continue as Joffrey becomes the resident ballet company of Lyric Opera, beginning officially in the fall of 2020. lyricopera.org // Get tickets
A footnote: Neumeier, longtime artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet, has dedicated his production, co-produced by L.A. Opera and Staatsoper Hamburg, to Chicago dance pioneer Sybil Shearer, a formative influence on the Milwaukee native’s artistic development. (Click on “Reviews” for seechicagodance’s full coverage.)
Following their triumphant performances in Spain in 2016 and their fiery 40th anniversary finale at the Auditorium Theatre last fall, ENSEMBLE ESPAÑOL returns to the Auditorium to open the 2017-18 “Made in Chicago” Dance Series. (October 6, Auditorium Theatre, 7:30 PM)
The company’s new program brilliantly blends flamenco, classical, contemporary, and traditional forms of dance, and features the piece Defalla, Fuera de la Caja (Defalla, Out of the Box), Angel Rojas’ contemporary take on part of the classic ballet The Three-Cornered Hat (first performed at the Auditorium Theatre in the 1930s by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo), set to the music of La Vida Breve (The Brief Life) by Manuel de Falla. The program also includes audience favorites Iroko, choreographed by Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez (of the Nuevo Ballet Madrid), and Founder Dame Libby Komaiko’s 1983 piece Ecos de España, as well as Komaiko’s celebrated signature work Bolero. DAME LIBBY was just honored by the dance community with the Audience Architects Inaugural Legacy Award for her outstanding contribution to dance. ensembleespanol.org // Get tickets
VISCERAL DANCE CHICAGO continues its fifth season with performances of its Fall Engagement program, (October 7, Harris Theatre, 7:30 PM).
The company is at its sparkling best in Mark Godden's technically dynamic “Minor Threat,” Nick Pupillo's newest visual sensation “Synapse,” the Irish capriciousness of crowd favorite “Ruff Celts” by Marguerite Donlon, and Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Recipient Danielle Agami’s satirical world premiere, “Pick A Chair.” visceraldance.com // Get tickets
THE JOFFREY BALLET premieres Lola de Ávila’s new production of “Giselle,” (October 18-29, Auditorium Theatre) a sweeping tale of passion beyond the grave.
His visionary Giselle elevates one of the greatest Romantic ballets to new heights. When a young peasant girl discovers her lover is betrothed to another, she dies of grief, only to be enlisted by the vengeful Wilis, a ghostly army of maidens who haunt the forests, dancing to death any male mortal who crosses their path. When her beloved wanders into their grasp, Giselle carries out the ultimate act of love to free him from his fate. An ethereal descent into madness, desire, and sublime beauty will leave you breathless. joffrey.org // Get tickets
GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO (GDC), now celebrating its 55th year, debuts world premieres by award-winning choreographers Ray Mercer and Brock Clawson during its fall engagement at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (October 27-28, 7:30 PM).
Mercer’s new full company work, “Tossed Around” (working title) is based on a highly entertaining, Broadway-inspired concept and will be set to an original music composition by South African composer and performer Sbongiseni “Bongi” Duma. Clawson’s new work for GDC, “If I Could,” is an athletic psychological portrait of intimacy in a pas de deux frought with passion and play. Works from GDC's acclaimed repertoire complete the program and will include Nan Giordano's newly restaged classic, “Giordano Moves” (2005), “Grusin Suite” originally choreographed by Frank Chaves in 1993, and restaged on GDC in 2017, Liz Imperio's “La Belleza de Cuba” (2013), and Autumn Eckman's “G-Force” (2012). giordanodance.org // Get tickets
This feature is brought to you by SeeChicagoDance.com, the definitive guide to Chicago's dance scene and your source for a full calendar of dance events, ticket deals and reviews. Read the complete selection of dance highlights for October.