Atlanta Ballet presents “Carmina Burana” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
This large-scale production by British choreographer David Bintley follows three seminary students as they reject their faith and explore the pleasures of the flesh, including lust, love, greed and gluttony.
“It’s really about what can happen if you abandon your spirituality and seek gratification in temporal appetites,” Bintley said in 2011.
Carmina Burana, Latin for “Songs from Beuern,” is the name for a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th and 12th century.
Written by students and clergy in mostly Medieval Latin, the pieces are bawdy, irreverent and satirical.
Composer Carl Orff’s score is a staple piece of classical music repertoire and has been used in numerous films. It will be produced by the full Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the 49-member choral ensemble, the Georgia State University Singers, who will flank the stage from the boxes of the theatre.
Dancers Jackie Nash and Health Gill, Cobb residents, said the music is awe-inspiring.
“It’s a really, really fun piece,” said Gill, who plays one of the seminary students. “It’s high energy. The music, of course, is mind-blowing. I’m really looking forward to working with the singers. And everything else, too.”
Gill said his character struggles between a spiritually-driven life and one lead by indulgence and ecstasy.
“He’s the one who wants to experience life, fall in love,” said Gill, who is in his third season at Atlanta Ballet. “All the things he had to give up by going into the seminary. That’s his struggle. He meets one of the ponytail girls and it’s love at first sight. Fate has other things in store.”
Nash might play a character called the ‘roast swan.’ She will also play one of the girls that the seminarians fall in love with.
“In the first section, I am a ponytail girl,” said Nash, who is in her second season with Atlanta Ballet. “We’re kind of the flirty, fun loving party girls. There’s a flirty little, cute dance that we do.”
Nash, 21, has been dancing since she was 4 years old and knows from experience that “Carmina Burana” is something special.
“(The audience) can expect a whole range of emotions,” she said. “They’re gonna laugh for sure. They’re gonna fall in love with the seminaries. It’s just very visually striking. It’s very showy.”
David Bintley’s “Carmina Burana” runs at Cobb Energy Centre at 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. Tickets start at $20 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit www.atlantaballet.com or call (404) 892-3303.