A revival of Basil Twist’s aquatic-ballet “Symphonie fantastique,” with live piano

Posted on: March 29, 2018

“ ‘Pull, pull, pull!’ Basil Twist called out the other day as two puppeteers struggled to drag a waterlogged blue curtain out of a five-foot-deep tank filled with 1,000 gallons of water,” writes Marina Harss in Sunday’s (3/25) New York Times. “The tank sat in a bunkerlike room near Canal Street and Sixth Avenue [where] Mr. Twist [was rehearsing] his musical puppet-reverie ‘Symphonie Fantastique.’ Now 20 years old, the show returns to the HERE theater … for a 12-week run on Thursday…. His ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ is reminiscent of the ‘music visualizations’ by dance pioneers like Loie Fuller, who used light and fabric to mimic the aural experience of listening to music…. When Mr. Twist first conceived ‘Symphonie,’ he used a recording, but now the music is played live in a transcription for solo piano written by the great Romantic-era showboat Franz Liszt. It’s a monster of a piece, which, as played by the pianist Christopher O’Riley, adds a new level of theatricality to the visual spectacle. In Mr. Twist’s eyes, the pianist becomes a stand-in for the love-crazed composer in Berlioz’s original concept. Or as he put it: ‘He is the person having this fever dream.’ ”

Posted March 29, 2018