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UW Performing Arts to Present Carmina Burana

November 13, 2013
People in performance
Dancers rehearse a number from the UW production of “Carmina Burana” which shows Nov. 19-23 at the University of Wyoming. (Donald P. Turner Photo)

Composer Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” a fusion of live orchestral and choral music, dance and drama, can be seen Tuesday, Nov. 19-Saturday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. on the University of Wyoming Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage.

Tickets cost $16 for the public, $13 for senior citizens and $8 for students. For tickets, visit the Wyoming Union or Performing Arts box offices, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at

The performance, which features more than 100 performers on stage at the same time, is choreographed by Lawrence Jackson. UW Department of Music faculty members Michael Griffith and Nicole Lamartine are co-conductors.

“Carmina Burana” has most often been presented as a cantata since its creation in 1937, but choreographer Jackson says Orff had a much more encompassing dramatic concept.

“We are attempting to recapture the spirit and intent of the composer by using contemporary choreography, costuming and lighting, props and non-traditional staging,” Jackson says.

The piece was inspired by a large collection of medieval poems that celebrate life through the four seasons, and it uses 24 of these poems as its text. The compositional structure is based largely on the turning of the Fortuna Wheel, or wheel of fate.

The concept of the goddess of fortune spinning her wheel to determine one's fate is the central theme,” says Jackson. “The authors of the poems, with their emphases on earthly pleasures, were motivated by belief in the capricious, often malevolent power of fortune's wheel to affect their lives.”

The UW production will feature Department of Theatre and Dance actors and the UW Collegiate Chorale, and the UW Symphony will perform Verdi’s opera “La Forza del Destino” (the force of destiny).

“We are all ruled by forces beyond our control. That is the dramatic message so powerfully conveyed in 'Carmina Burana,'” says Griffith.

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