Carmina Burana is one of the best-known symphonic masterpieces of all times, which has long been a temptation for choreographers. The Cuban dancer and choreographer George Céspedes, along with performers of the Contemporary Dance of Cuba, has conceived and carried out this production for the entire company. Its complex and multi-layer structure makes a colourful and dazzling show, which naturally blends music, visual projection and movement.
The production has been widely acclaimed by both critics and the public in Cuba and elsewhere, especially in Mexico, where it won the Luna Award twice as well as the Special Villanueva Prize from the Association of Critics and Theatrology UNEAC.
Carmina Burana, or Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magical images, is a collection of songs by the Goliards of the 12th and 13th centuries, from a manuscript discovered in Germany in 1803, and made famous by the composer Carl Orff’s cantata of the same name. These texts, which celebrate carnal love and delight in nature, also ridicule and criticise the powers that be, and contain stories of the Crusades and tales of maidens abducted by knights. In other words, this poetry demonstrates the joys of living and an interest for earthly pleasures. Contemporary dance contributes to these themes without changing their substance. But the larger part of inspiration for the show’s authors and performers still lies in the present.
With the grand-scale premiere of Carmina Burana the Contemporary Dance of Cuba celebrated its 60th anniversary.