Set against the backdrop of 18th Century Venice and Paris, we meet passionate, adventure seeker, Casanova, a man consumed by his desire to experience life at its fullest and most satisfying without question.
Hugely respected for their narrative based work, critically acclaimed Northern Ballet breathe life and skillful artistry into this new production created by award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall. Together with Ian Kelly, Tindall devised the original scenario for this fresh and enthralling piece from sections of Casanova’s memoirs, revealing more of the man than just the legendary lover we are all so familiar with. We meet Casanova on a more human level and see how his priest training is thwarted due to the constant distractions of both his mind as well as his body.
Tindall’s stunning and innovative choreography captivates from start to finish. Sensual and thrilling, the powerful scenes featuring the corps de ballet move from contemporary to classical with ease, the two marrying beautifully together. Tindall’s choreography is electrifying, the traditional pas de deux are there and are entirely fizzing with emotion and sensuality, as Casanova (Giuliano Contadini) is seduced by M.M (aristocratic nun and mistress to Cardinal de Bernis). In a staged seduction, the passion between them is intense; they move as one and thrill with their skill and precision. In contrast to this, as Casanova dances with his true love Henriette (Hannah Bateman) we see a new tenderness and real depth of heartfelt desire, a stark contrast to the frenzied passion we have witnessed before. Giuliano Contadini is sublime as Casanova, dashingly handsome and physically perfect with just the right amount of cheeky swagger.
The striking set and costumes designed by Christopher Oram are partnered perfectly by Alastair West’s stunning lighting design. It is truly atmospheric and dramatic as we see spectacular shafts of light streaming through church windows, breathing fresh hope of liberty, more than the strict life of the church to a young and curious Casanova. The original score by modern classical, film and television composer Kerry Muzzey, is delivered superbly by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.
A special mention must go to the brilliance of the staging during the prison of the Inquisition scene; a corner of a giant gilt frame is lowered towards Father Balbi (Jeremy Curnier) as he is tortured by the Inquisition in order to force a confession naming Casanova, enormously powerful and visually absolutely magnificent.
Northern Ballet once again prove just how exciting and dynamic as a company they truly are. Casanova is utterly mesmerising, the piece literally smoulders as bodies slip and slide together flawlessly. Tindall has created a perfect work, creating a ballet that pushes the boundaries and delivers dance in a wholly stunning and accessible form. As the piece draws to a close and Casanova’s life flashes before him we are able to reflect on this truly remarkable production, an absolute must see.
On at the Lowry until Saturday, tickets available here www.thelowry.com/events/casanova
The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ, United Kingdom
0843 208 6000