September 20, 2023

World Premiere of “Carmen” From Philadelphia Ballet

BRINGING SPANISH RHYTHM TO BALLET: Nayara Lopes and Arian Molina Soca of Philadelphia Ballet appear in “Carmen,” with choreography by Angel Corella. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

The 2023-2024 season of Philadelphia Ballet, formerly known as Pennsylvania Ballet, marks two major milestones: the 60th anniversary of the company’s founding, and the 10th anniversary of Angel Corella’s appointment as artistic director.

The season opens at the Academy of Music October 5 with the world premiere of Corella’s Carmen. Corella is building his version from scratch — creating an outline for the story, planning the sets — even buying and designing costumes. He spent a week in Spain purchasing castanets, head pieces, and flamenco pants.

The choreography combines traditional Spanish dance and classical ballet to tell the tragic story. Philadelphia Ballet’s Music Director Beatrice Jona Affron and Corella worked to create a full-length score that includes music from the iconic opera by Bizet, as well as excerpts from other music by the composer, and even some traditional flamenco clapping and percussion. Affron, Corella, and the company’s principal pianist Martha Koeneman worked together months ago to determine the musical choices.

Performances are October 5-15. Visit