When “The Rite of Spring” premiered in Paris in 1913, it was a ballet for human dancers. Tonight, American puppeteer Basil Twist premieres his version — which has been reimagined for silk, paper and smoke.
The world premiere of Twist’s “The Rite of Spring” was commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts in 2009 for the centennial celebration of the controversial ballet.
“This is taking the music and interpreting it and taking it away from the human body,” Twist said.
“Walt Disney did that in ‘Fantasia.’ He took ‘The Rite of Spring’ and he did this incredible thing with volcanoes and dinosaurs and it was magnificent. And so, I kind of aspire to that.”
The piece — accompanied by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s — will be a defining moment in Twist’s artistic career, he said.
Twist said his production “Symphonie Fantastique,” which premiered in 1998, was his version of a psychedelic and trippy abstract puppet show — as opposed to representative puppetry.
“I always wanted to take that idea of doing an abstract show and doing it on a large scale, with an orchestra,” Twist said.
“I’ve been setting myself up to make this giant abstract show, in a way, for my whole career — and so here’s my chance.”
Emil Kang, executive director for the arts at UNC and head of CPA, said seeing the piece come from concept to curtain is very satisfying.