Ladysmith Black Mambazo

On July 20, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will present the North American premiere of Firebird: Reimagined, a multi-disciplinary interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s orchestral score for the 1910 ballet The Firebird. The performance will feature The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Cristian Măcelaru, multi-Grammy-winning, South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and larger-than-life puppets inspired by the artistry of the Broadway sensation War Horse and created by Janni Younge of South Africa’s renowned Handspring Puppet Company.

The first half of the program will feature Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing vocal selections that reflect central themes of The Firebird story including the power of good conquering evil and the journey towards freedom. Their performance set will include the premiere to two  arrangements of the Russian folk songs embedded in Stravinsky's Firebird, arranged by American composer Nolan Williams, Jr.  Two local singers were selected to perform these commissioned arrangements with Ladysmith Black Mambazo: recent University of the Arts graduate Andrew Lawson and neo-soul recording artist Zeek. The evening will be anchored in the second half by The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Igor Stravinsky’s full orchestral 1910 ballet score for The Firebird accompanied by a re-imagination of the original Ballets Russes staging with Younge’s towering puppets, performed by expert puppeteers and dancers.

Firebird: Reimagined will serve as the centerpiece of the Mann’s annual Party in the Park gala which will celebrate the Mann’s 40th anniversary. The gala will honor individuals and foundations that have made a lasting impact on the Mann, including Alan L. Greenberger, Michael DiBerardinis, Christopher L. Bruner, Peter G. Gould, Justin P. Klein, Nancy B. Wolcott, as well as the Connelly Foundation and Albert M. Greenfield Foundation. Following the reception, gala guests will join other Mann patrons for the North American premiere of Firebird: Reimagined.

Firebird: Reimagined is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The performance marks the conclusion of the Mann’s innovative, five-month, community-based festival, Firebird: Spirit Rising.

Janni Younge of South Africa's Renowned Handspring Puppet Company



The Philadelphia Orchestra

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​FIREBIRD in the Media ...

FIREBIRD: SPIRIT RISING is a five-month festival celebrating the human spirit's boundless capacity for good, imagination, creativity, and freedom. With a special emphasis upon Russian and South African music and cultural traditions, FIREBIRD: SPIRIT RISING is expanding the creative boundaries of the Mann's educational programming and community engagement through an unprecedented series of artistic initiatives developed in partnership with leading academic, civic and arts institutions.

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​The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Fairmont Park  |  Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, July 20, 2016  

8 PM (Doors open at 7 PM)