“Firebird: Reimagined” heads to Mann, Wolf Trap, Ravinia, Hollywood Bowl

Posted on: June 15, 2016

The Firebird “unfurls its familiar dark Russian mysticism with glints of impressionism at the Mann [Center] next month,” writes Peter Dobrin in Sunday’s (6/12) Philadelphia Inquirer. “But the production will also be sending out some unexpected cultural signals. The full Firebird will be performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, but the story playing out on stage will reflect … the national experience of its creative directors—from South Africa. Dubbed Firebird: Reimagined, the piece receives its live-orchestra world premiere at the Mann on July 20 [and] will move on to Wolf Trap, Ravinia, the Hollywood Bowl, and other summer venues.” IMG Artists “approached South African artist Janni Younge about adapting something for her medium: puppets. What Younge came up with is hardly of the papier-mâche-over-chicken-wire variety. The dragon of this production has a wingspan off 33 feet, and weighs in at 440 pounds.” For Younge, and for Cape Town choreographer Jay Pather, Stravinsky’s score “had tremendous personal resonance. ‘There are two conversations going on in the piece—one is an individual striving toward balance of power…. At the same time, there is a sense in South African society … of both a very positive transformative energy in the last 20 years, and at the same time a reexamination of us as a country, which is not where we want to be.’ Firebird: Reimagined, Younge says, is ‘a metaphor for an evolving society.’ ”

Posted June 15, 2016

Pictured: One of the high-tech puppets that will appear in “Firebird: Reimagined”