‘Carmen’ and ‘Don Quixote’ at the El Portal Theatre Sept. 12, 13
Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre will present “Carmen” and “Don Quixote (Act I)” in a fiery, progressive production called “La Pasión de España.” Based on Bizet’s opera, “Carmen” tells the story of a seductive Spanish Gypsy who loves wildly, and dangerously. “Don Quixote” is a romantic comedy, full of chivalry and fantasy. Performances at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood are Saturday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m.
The program will blend neoclassical ballet (PBDT’s distinguishing specialty), flamenco, and theatrical drama. Choreographing is Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, Natasha Middleton. “Carmen is a hot and fiery ballet, the ultimate tale of love and obsession, then betrayal. I once danced the role of Carmen, and knowing her personality made it easy when recreating the ballet from scratch. She is sensual and passionate.” Using the music of Bizet and Schedrin inspired Middleton to incorporate the flamenco dancers. “Don Quixote, Act I, is the opposite of Carmen. It’s a tale of friendship, love and loyalty. It is about a romantic old knight who invents stories to fulfill his need for chivalrous adventures. I keep the ballet in its original choreography by Marius Petipa, with a few added trick lifts and leaps here and there.”
The cast of “Carmen” includes principal dancers Taylor Swantek as Carmen and Grigori Arakelyan as Don Jose. Damara Titmus is Micaëla, Artur Aleksanyan is Escamillo, Marine De Vachon is Frasquita, Natalie Grina is Mercédès, Brandon Forrest is Remendado, Ottavio Taddei is Dancaïre, and Zachary Leighton is Zuniga. Emily Braff, Lauren Farrell, Charlotte Harrop, Aimee Ozeki, Musetta Rubin, Julie Sanches, and Grace Tiangco are the Cigarette Factory Girls and Gypsies. Moses Navarro is a featured flamenco dancer, along with special guest dancers Oleg and Nataliia Loparevi.
The cast of “Don Quixote” includes principal dancers Edgar Nikolyan as Basilio, Irina Gharibyan as Kitri, and Alexander Fost as Lead Toreador. Damara Titmus is Gypsy Girl, Marine De Vachon and Natalie Grina are Kitri’s Friends, Craig Dickens is Don Quixote, Moses Navarro is Lorenzo, and Philippe Leibzig is Gamache. Artur Aleksanyan, Brandon Forrest, Zachary Leighton, and Ottavio Taddei are Toreadors. Emily Braff, Musetta Rubin, Julie Sanches, Grace Tiangco, and Lauren Farrell and Chloe Tilton are Villagers.
Tickets, priced at $49 for center seats and $41 for side seats, are available at www.elportaltheatre.com or (818) 508-4200. Very limited $100 VIP packages for the Sept. 12 show only include best seat ticket, a wine and cheese pre-show reception, show poster, Playbill credit, and photo opportunity with a principal dancer. VIP and group tickets can be purchased by calling (818) 842-0647.
The El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood CA 91601 in the NoHo Arts District. Ample public parking is available around the venue as is public transportation. Beer and wine will be available in the lobby.
Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, under the direction of Natasha Middleton, is celebrating its 14th season. Over the past decade, the company has become one of the major dance companies in Los Angeles. The dancers come from such companies as the Dresden Ballet, Armenian National Ballet, Nevada Ballet, and Denver Ballet. Find out more at pacificballetdancetheatre.com.