Added on 12-Apr-2009
t first glance, flamboyant rock star Freddie Mercury and Romantic era composer Felix Mendelssohn don't appear to have much in common.
They both lived short lives — Mercury died in his mid-40s in 1991 and Mendelssohn hadn't even made it to 40 when he passed in 1847 — but that's about it, right?
This weekend, The World Ballet is putting Freddie and Felix side by side on the same stage in a double-header ballet featuring Mendelssohn's ethereal take on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and an original dance collection of Mercury-belted tunes called "We Will Rock You."
"I think it's a great contrast," World Ballet founder and artistic director Henry Hernandez said. "And Freddie Mercury sang opera — so maybe they're not that far apart."
Besides, musical whiplash never had it so good when you can hop from Oberon to "Bohemian Rhapsody" in one evening.
"It's really all about a loss of identity," dancer Phillip Aucheta said during a Wednesday night rehearsal of "We Will Rock You." Aucheta takes the spotlight for a very physical solo during "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.
"It's really hard to do, but I hope to do it justice," Aucheta said before he went bounding across the World Ballet studio.
"I didn't pick Queen and Freddie Mercury at random," said Hernandez, who choreographed "We Will Rock You." "He has such a distinctive, different voice. He's also good at rhythm, which dance needs. Queen has songs in fast tempos, mid-tempos and slow tempos. It's great for the type of work we do."
Other song selections by Queen include "Who Wants to Live Forever," "The Show Must Go On," and "Need Somebody To Love." The scantily clad dancers are decked out in vibrant red outfits for all the numbers.
Freddie would've loved it.
"I used to love him because he was so theatrical," Hernandez said. "And that's what we do, too. No one wears bigger costumes than the ballet costumes."