Joffrey Ballet’s Breathtaking Production of ‘Frankenstein’ is Unlike Anything You Have Seen
Hedy Weiss, WTTW
October 14, 2023
Over the years there have been countless interpretations of “Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley’s extraordinary 1818 Gothic novel (subtitled “The Modern Prometheus,” for the Greek god of fire). But the Joffrey Ballet’s production of the story that opened Thursday evening on the stage of the Lyric Opera House — the work of the masterful British choreographer Liam Scarlett, set to a richly dramatic original score by Lowell Liebermann — might very well be its most stunning interpretation yet.
Brilliantly danced by the Joffrey company (which has quite a few fine new dancers on its roster), backed by the impeccable playing of the Lyric Opera Orchestra ideally conducted by Scott Speck, and brought to life with stunning scenic and costume design by John Mcfarlane, this is a seamless masterwork of dance and music. And it is fully enhanced by the exceptional dramatic skills of the Joffrey dancers — one of the company’s most notable qualities.
“Frankenstein” is a remarkable production on every level. It is dance theater at its very finest. And the tragic, haunting and altogether ghoulish story of Frankenstein — the brilliant young medical student who is obsessed and ultimately destroyed by his determination to make a human creation out of the body parts of an old corpse — is not simply chilling and ghoulish. In fact, at this moment in history, Shelley’s story also brings to mind the contemporary obsession with artificial intelligence and its potential dangers.
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