What you get when you combine a solo pianist, opera, and modern dance is a question few might think to ask — luckily, Expressions Dance Company and Opera Queensland were committed to finding out. The result? Mozart Airborne at QPAC, a stunning fusion of classical and contemporary, beauty and pain, and love and anger.

The set-up: pianist Alex Raineri plays through twelve Mozart pieces as six dancers and six opera singers perform along with each. Work ranges from Fantasia in D Minor to excerpts from Don Giovanni to Requiem: Lacrimosa — a varied selection that flows together seamlessly. Within it are lighter moments, Mozart’s notes nearly cheerful, and there are darker melodies and dances so raw and intimate, you almost feel like you should look away.

I wondered for a while how best to describe it to someone who hadn’t seen it, finally settling on enchanting.

There is something magical about it: Raineri’s prowess at the piano’s helm, the ethereal glow of the coloured lights, the dancers’ fluid movements, the haunting arias and anguishes of the opera singers.

A loose narrative is sustained throughout, and words are occasionally projected onto the background as the singers lament, but much is left up to your own interpretation throughout the show.

I’m not normally someone who would opt to see contemporary dance, usually preferring ballet or big ensemble numbers from musicals. This dancing was abstract in the way a Mark Rothko painting is abstract. Larger than life, teeming with emotions that can’t be expressed any way but physically, stirring something in you while giving you a canvas on which to project your own experiences.

This is truly contemporary dance: they writhe, desire, flail, ache, glide, shudder with an intensity that is both more and less than human. The dancers were stricken by the weight of love, the weight of loneliness, the weight of themselves, yet still moved as though gravity were a mere suggestion. The vulnerability make it personal, and however you interpret the dances, whatever you think of it, it’s hard not to remember times in your own life when emotions became so intense it seems impossible your body can constrain them.

Mozart Airborne is, ultimately, a superior melding of art forms, a celebration of all that we are capable of, whether that be dancing, performing, singing, or simply living.

It runs at the Cremorne Theatre until Saturday, 12 August.

Read our review of The Bodyguard here.

 

 

 

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