Thursday, May 16, 2013
Shakespeare’s tragedy about fate, greed, power and consequences takes the stage for an audience of only 200 in this intimate, workshop-style production.
Paul Vasterling’s choreography set to live music performed by the ALIAS Chamber Ensemble and written by Kenji Bunch explores the psychology behind the relationships in the play, particularly the role of the witches in Macbeth’s story.
This story-telling poses the question of whether the witches predict the inevitable future or manipulate Macbeth to do their bidding.
As quoted in the Tennessean, the “Macbeth” collaboration started when Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling heard the music of Kenji Bunch at an ALIAS concert.
Setting Macbeth, Shakespeare’s well-known tale of a Scottish lord and his overly ambitious wife, to Kenji Bunch’s music is not an obvious choice given the composer’s association with Americana-infused contemporary chamber music. But Vasterling finds similarities between the Scots-Irish roots of Appalachian-influenced compositions and older Scottish music. Also, he was drawn to the darkness in Bunch’s work.
After finding more of Bunch’s music online, Vasterling called ALIAS founder and artistic director Zeneba Bowers to ask whether she thought Bunch would be agreeable to letting him play around with some of the music for a new ballet.
To his delight and surprise, the composer agreed and sent more music (Vasterling requested works for piano and one or two string instruments), some of which had yet to be published or professionally recorded.
“It’s kind of a cross-section of his works, a lot of stuff that feels dark to me; ‘Macbeth’ is a very, very dark story,” Vasterling said. He also was drawn to the emotional and spare quality of the music. “What I do in my work is fill in the spaces in the music.”
Among the compositions Vasterling is using for “Macbeth” are “Broken Music” for cello and piano, part of “Hard Winter” and “Slow Dance.”