Project Description


About the Work

Originally mounted with the Akron Symphony Orchestra this past May, David Shimotakahara has created an exciting new adaptation of Carl Orff’s scenic cantata, Carmina Burana. Composed by Orff in 1935 and 1936 and quickly becoming a principle piece of classical music repertoire, the beloved work is based on 24 poems and dramatic texts from the medieval collection Carmina Burana. Orff’s Carmina Burana has a nearly universal appeal. It is dramatic yet accessible, mixing elements that are both primal and ethereal. The music’s driving rhythms and rich imagery are sublimely suited for dance and Shimotakahara has realized the huge range of Orff’s dynamic score in a way that is uniquely “GroundWorks.”

Carmina Burana is one of the most recognized and popular pieces of classical music in the canon. From its full Latin title, “Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanæ cantoribus et choris cantandæ comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis” (meaning “Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magic images”), it was clear GroundWorks would focus on the magic. The structure and libretto of Carmina are loosely based around a collection of 24 poems from the 13th century, covering a wide range of topics having to do with the fickleness of fortune, the ephemeral nature of life and the pleasures and pain of love. “I have taken full advantage of these universal themes, freely interpreting their context, and responding to Orff’s dynamic and expressive score,” says Shimotakahara. “I have framed this production from the perspective of one who is looking back at life’s experience. How each of us looking back, must come to terms with our limitations in the face of all that life has to offer, in order to appreciate our own experience and recapture its wonder.”


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Choreography: David Shimotakahara

Music: Carl Orff

Lighting: Dennis Dugan

Costumes: Janet Bolick

Set pieces: Ian Petroni

Dancers: Felise Bagley, Lucie Baker, Conner Bormann, Lauren Garson, Damien Highfield, Michael Marquez, Alex Soulierre, Stephanie Terasaki