Napoli Review: Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Danish Ballet Pits Christians Against Water Nymphs!

Oct 11, 2018 735

BY: Robert Ham

Oregon Ballet Theatre’s artistic director Kevin Irving introduced the dance company's debut of Napoli with a disclaimer. After praising the efforts of the troupe to learn the work and the crew for their striking set design, he noted that the three-act performance was, essentially, a fairy tale and therefore steeped in sincerity. It was a strange and unnecessary comment coming from the head of a company that stages the magical and achingly earnest Cinderella on the regular.

Irving was really preparing the audience for the unabashedly Christian themes that mid-19th century Danish choreographer August Bournonville wrote into his ballet. The core plot has a mythological tinge to it, with Gennaro, a young Italian fisherman, forced to rescue his new bride from the clutches of a sea demon.What saves the couple is their Christian faith—that and a Virgin Mary medallion that scares off a gang of water nymphs.

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