Mozart & Salieri Maxime Quiroga (Mozart) with Laura Bosenberg (Constanze). Picture: Michael Groenewald
Maxime Quiroga (Mozart) with Laura Bosenberg (Constanze) in Mozart & Salieri. Pictures: Michael Groenewald

MOZART & SALIERI. Two-act ballet. Choreography and concept: Marc Goldberg. Music: Mozart and Salieri. Presented by Cape Town City Ballet. At Artscape Opera House until 1 September 2018.

SHEILA CHISHOLM reviews

Six months after its February 2018 world premier, Marc Goldberg’s two-act ballet, Mozart & Salieri (re)opened to an enthusiastic reception on Friday 24 August. Once again Daniel Szybkowski danced Salieri. Maxime Quiroga, French born, international dancer, teacher and choreographer guested as Mozart.

Surprisingly, CTCB’s recent “domestic” changes in no way dimmed company morale for this performance as, to every scene, every dancer brought a joie de vivre not always recently evident.

Marc Goldberg anmd CTCB -Mozart and Salieri world premiere at Artscape Opera HouseRemarkable technical skills

Perhaps responsible is Quiroga’s presence? Perhaps responsible is the time St Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy expert Aleksei Ilin spent teaching and coaching? Certainly the fresh international influence these two men injected has re-ignited the company. Indeed Ilin’s teaching that technique requires ongoing growth, and Quiroga’s remarkable technical and interpretative skills have proven inspirational.

Most energized company member is Daniel Szybkowski. With his sound basic technique he has always been a reliable performer and assured partner. However, imperceptibly he’s let his technique slip below the high level he arrived with a few years ago.

On Friday night technically he rose again – and beyond that standard. He’s also thought about the Salieri character of Pushkin and Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus to bring out his many different personality facets.

Marginally taller than Quiroga, Szybkowski could dominate, and his commiserations to Mozart after Constanze (Laura Bosenberg) leaves him, projected total evil. Two other outstanding scenes were the once-pious Salieri’s rejection of Christ, and bullying Mozart’s maid Luisa (Kirstel Paterson) handing over the key to Mozart’s house.

Quiroga’s interpretation showed Mozart’s known quirks and musical intensity. Soundlessly as Quiroga leapt, turned and moved through Goldberg’s capricious, angular moves then, flowed seamlessly into choreographed classical vocabulary, Quiroga’s reading hit home just how much music meant to Mozart. Even to the point where he chose music over wife and son.

Mozart & Salieri Maxime Quiroga (Mozart) with Laura Bosenberg (Constanze). Picture: Michael Groenewald

Insight into the composers

Danced, among others, to excerpts from Mozart’s G Minor Symphony No 25, Piano Concertos No 21 and 22 in E Flat, and Salieri’s Armida’s Overture, together, Quiroga and Szybkowski showed insight into the contrasting talents between these two 18th century composers.

Bosenberg, coupled for many years with Thomas Thorne has, since his departure, risen to the challenge of working opposite alternative partners. To her credit she’s adapted to these changes with true professionalism and opposite Quiroga, the pair presented secure, finely tuned interpretations.

Goldberg’s music choices, stylised costumes, wigs and magical 3D images take one right into Mozart’s Vienna. In what could be termed a “male dancers ballet” Goldberg’s choreography clearly unfolds the myth behind Mozart and Salieri’s relationship. Were he to trim overlong (padded) pas de deux, duet and corps de ballet passages to create one act instead of two, Goldberg’s Mozart & Salieri concept would earn five stars.

What: Mozart & Salieri review M&S
Who: Cape Town City Ballet Spring Season
Choreographer: Marc Goldberg ballet
Where: Artscape Opera House, Foreshore Cape Town
When is Mozart & Salieri: 24 August to 1 September 2018
Mozart Salieri tickets: R120 – R280, 021 421 7695, https://online.computicket.com/web/event/mozart_and_salieri/1225129824/0/87650969
Cape Town City Ballet: https://www.capetowncityballet.org.za/
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