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Ballet San Jose presents 'Carmen' and 'In the Upper Room'

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This week marks the final performances of Ballet San Jose’s first repertory season under new Artistic Director, José Manuel Carreño. The second largest professional ballet company in California, Ballet San Jose has a reputation for bold and creative programming, and this production is no exception. Entitled Masterworks of Movement and Theatre, it features Roland Petit’s seductive interpretation of Carmen, and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, which takes its place amongst her most accomplished and compelling works.

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Roland Petit - one of France’s most creative choreographers - wrote Carmen in 1949 for his wife, the dancer Renée (Zizi) Jeanmaire, creating the role of Don José himself. Petit set his highly theatrical work to Bizet’s colorful and popular score for the opera Carmen, basing his ballet on the 1845 novella by French dramatist, Prosper Mérimée. So popular was the ballet that it was performed over 5,000 times around the world in the 50 years following its premiere by ‘Les Ballets de Paris’ at the Prince’s Theatre in London on 21 February 1949. (Wikipedia)

The performance of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room this weekend marks its debut in the repertoire of Ballet San Jose. The score was commissioned from composer Philip Glass, who - with his achievements in the world of opera, the concert hall, dance, film and popular music - can justly be regarded as one of the most influential composers of our times. His pulsating rhythms in this work are admirably suited to Twyla Tharp’s physically demanding choreography.

Symphony Silicon Valley, led by Paul Polivnick, accompanies Ballet San Jose in these performances which take place at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts from Friday May 9 to Sunday May 11. Artistic Director, José Manuel Carreño, will dance the role of Don José on May 9 and 10. For more information, performance times and tickets, visit www.balletsj.org or call 408-288-2800.

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