Jeykll & Hyde

Jonnathan Ramirez (Dr. Henry Jekyll) and Artists of Colorado Ballet by Amanda Tipton
Jonnathan Ramirez (Dr. Henry Jekyll) and Artists of Colorado Ballet
Photo by Amanda Tipton
One of the most famous works of Gothic fiction, adapted and choreographed from Robert Louis Stevenson's dark tale by Val Caniparoli, will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, as Dr. Jekyll (Jonnathan Ramirez) and Mr. Hyde (Jeremy Studinski), his alter-ego antagonist, wrestle with good and evil in the imagination of Stevenson (Bryce Lee).

Caniparoli's choice of music—from such acclaimed composers as Frédéric Chopin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henryk Górecki, Wojciech Kilar and Henryk Wieniawski—varies from frenetic and dissonant atmospherics, during Hyde's distressed states, to melodic respites at social gatherings between Jekyll's episodes of possession.

Jeremy Studinski, Jonnathan Ramirez, and Bryce Lee by Amanda Tipton
Jeremy Studinski (Hyde), Jonnathan Ramirez (Jeykll), and Bryce Lee (Stevenson)
Photo by Amanda Tipton
All of this is captured in Caniparoli's robust, multidimensional choreography, ranging from Jekyll's impulsive, wild addiction, Hyde's maniacal behavior, and a host of persistent demons and mental patients surrounding them, to a series of silky pas de deux featuring Jekyll, Dr. Jekyll’s Fiancée, Nellie Carew (Asuka Sasaki) and A Prostitute, Rowena (Jennifer Grace) that quickly turn dysfunctional. The physicality of the choreography is explored further in Jekyll's wrestling with Hyde in attempts to keep the latter from overwhelming him—this struggle mirroring the arc of Jekyll's unbridled desire to consume the persona-altering elixir that he produces in his laboratory.

Jonnathan Ramirez by Amanda Tipton
Jonnathan Ramirez (Jekyll)Photo by Amanda Tipton
The laboratory, like the rest of David Israel Reynoso's sets, is a work of art in itself, highlighted by the pharmaceutical paraphenalia and the bubbling, steaming test tubes. Jim French's dramatic lighting effects intensify what is already a nerve-shattering experience, from which we are granted temporary reprieves in the form of ballroom dances filled with lush period costumes by Reynoso. Maestro Adam Flatt and the Colorado Ballet Orchestra perform wonders with the complex compositions.

Jonnathan Ramirez by Amanda Tipton
Jonnathan Ramirez (Jekyll)
Photo by Amanda Tipton
While the classical elements are flawless throughout, it is the demanding expressions of mental and emotional anguish that set the choreography and performances apart, not just for Jekyll, Hyde, and Stevenson, but for the hospital patients and demons as well.

The Colorado Ballet's Denver premiere of Jekyll & Hyde, by Val Caniparoli, runs through February 11th at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. For tickets: Due to mature content, Jekyll & Hyde is recommended for ages 13+. Parental discretion is advised.

Bob Bows

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