The contemporary ballet Echoes of Van Gogh, composed by Anthony Fiumara with choreography by Wubkje Kuindersma and set, video and costume design by Tatyana van Walsum was first performed on September 8 by the West Australian Ballet Company and conductor Jessica Gethin. In the role of assistant orchestrator, Xavier worked closely with Fiumara to bring this ballet about Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh to life in Perth.
Described by Artshub as “achingly beautiful”, “immediately mesmerising” and by DanceAustralia as “[…] dynamic, bold and emotive, in synchrony with the motion of Vincent’s brushstrokes” the ballet was received well by both the public and critics alike. Artistic and cultural magazine Limelight praised the score as well as the choreography as follows: “Fiumara’s original composition (superbly performed by the West Australian Ballet Company) […] has an intense rhythmic momentum, which often startles by ending suddenly and abruptly, followed by seconds of silence, while the use of brass instruments intensifies the turmoil of Van Gogh’s mental agitation.” The Urban List also noted the cast’s quality collaboration, noting: “[…] a stellar world premiere ballet taking you into the twisted and tumultuous world of artistic legend Vincent Van Gogh […] is guaranteed to dazzle your senses.”
Working with Fiumara on a full-scale modern ballet has been an incredible learning experience for Xavier: “I absolutely love stage works! Opera, ballet, operetta: it’s something that I’d been wanting to do for a long time. Anthony, who was my composition tutor when I was an undergraduate student was a wonderfuI teacher to me and I always felt we get along very well, so I was honoured that he asked me to assist him in orchestrating the ballet – something I would certainly be delighted to do again in the future!”