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PA Ballet's Messiah

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What amazing performances!!! The PA Ballet production of Messiah was a feast for the senses. It included amazing dancing, vocals and orchestra. When I had heard that it had 53 scenes and was 3 hours long, I was a bit hesitant. But it was glorious. I saw 4 of the shows and wished that I could have seen more. There was so much wonderful dancing. The pas de deux were beautiful. I especially appreciated Martha Chamberlain's performances. Her technical excellence was so clear. This was a perfect role for her. Both Zach Hench and Sergio Torrado were wonderful as the Messiah.

PA Ballet is known for its wonderful corps work. And this series was no exception. Standing ovation for the corps who danced most of the 3 hours in all of the shows (plus dress rehearsals) all week. Amazing stamina, technique and presence. The quartet of soloist women was also beautiful, techically strong and energetic.

The choreography was interesting and was interspersed with tableaus, which I think, were scenes from famous paintings. It all flowed except for a few scenes. The story of the Messiah was not in chronological order, so some of the scenes were a bit confusing. I am still not sure what the war scenes were about. War scenes would have made more sense without Confederate and Nazi flags. This section seemed very out of place. But, I would not have wanted to miss Jermel Johnson grand jeteing across the stage carrying the flag in the dim light of war. Gave me chills. The other scene that I didn't quite appreciate was the angel with the huge golden wings. Corps dancers held the wings behind the angel as she was carried about the stage. Although a pretty scene, it was awkward since the angel often moved and left her wings behind. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the winged pas de deux between James Ady and Arantxa Ochoa, in one cast and James Ady and Amy Aldridge in the other. It was very beautiful and flowing.

The audiences loved this production. On Friday night they were on their feet cheering even before the curtain went up for the bows. There were standing ovations in every show that I saw. This is a production that I would love to see again.

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When I heard that Pennsylvania Ballet was going to do the Messiah I really did not know what to expect. Of course the score is some of the most beautiful music that I have ever heard but in reading about the ballet on line I was not quite sure what I was in for. All I can tell you is if you missed seeing this ballet you really missed a spectacular visual experience. From the dramatic lighthing, simple but elegant costumes, interpretive choreography and electrifying dancing, this ballet was phenomenal and certainly one that I recommend seeing.

This score lends itself to so many types of movement and Weiss takes advantage of this by including movements reminiscent of Petipa to Graham.

While most of the ballet is en pointe, there is a touching and emotional pas de deux which was danced in bare feet by Zach Hench and Barette Vance. The two dancers did a fabulous job of capturing the movement and getting the story across. The other glorious pas de deux was danced by James Ady and Amy Aldridge. Equally as moving this pas was danced in elegant white costumes with wings and the dancers seemed to float across the stage together.

Hopefully the company will perform this ballet again in the near future and if you missed it this time, I would make it a point to go see it the next time around.

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I know they toured to City Center in NY last November, and are also going to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in June but to my knowledge I have not heard of an plans for them to come to CA. But I agree with you, it would be nice for them to come out to Ca and I would love to see OCPAC add this company to next years performances.

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