WHEN two of the nation’s foremost performing arts companies join forces there is an expectation that something pretty special will emerge.
In this case, it’s a masterwork which exceeds all expectations for the sheer perfection of its exquisite melding of music and dance to illuminate both art forms.
“Project Rameau” is performed to a collection of opulent baroque dance music, originally written by Jean-Philippe Rameau for long-forgotten operas and ballets, into which compositions by Vivaldi and Bach have been seamlessly interpolated.
Taking his inspiration from this exhilaratingly complex music, choreographer, Rafael Bonachela has responded with an equally fascinating contemporary choreographic vocabulary that brilliantly matches the kaleidoscopic musical mood changes, practically note for note.
His choreographic invention never flags, as his stunning ensemble of impeccably groomed, stylishly costumed dancers perform it with an electrifying élan that is simply mesmerising.
The physical presence of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, performing on a raised stage behind the dancers, adds to the power of the presentation with the dancers appearing to take inspiration from the orchestra’s intense music-making to respond with their own stunningly physical interpretations.
Wide-sweeping, upper-body movements contrast with complex hand gestures as duos, solos and ensemble passages follow each other in quick succession reaching its emotional heart in a gorgeous duet performed by Charmene Yap, dancing with Bernhard Knauer, to a Bach Sarabande, exquisitely played on solo violin by Dale Barltrop.
The third essential component of this marvellous work is the inspired set and lighting design of Benjamin Cisterne that ensures every significant gesture of dancer or musician is brought to the attention of the audience. “Project Rameau” is a project not to be missed.