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Ballet Victoria’s Amadeus explores Mozart’s powerful life through Queen, hip hop and more

Destrooper’s narrative ballet looks at Mozart through a variety of choreographic styles and music
Ballet dancers from Amadeus, a Ballet Victoria production, 2023. (B.A. Burns)

You might not connect the two at first, but prolific composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and flamboyant rock god Freddie Mercury of Queen have a lot in common, according to Paul Destrooper, choreographer of Ballet Victoria’s Amadeus.

“Freddie Mercury was a unique songwriter and performer who also died young and who kept working and creating incredible works even when facing an imminent death,” said Destrooper. “There are a few similarities between the two men who lived very passionate and creative lives, and who were profoundly inspired by love.”

On March 17 to 19, Ballet Victoria presents Amadeus, a ballet inspired by Mozart’s life and work.

Destrooper’s narrative ballet looks at Mozart’s successes, challenges and his eventual demise through a variety of choreographic styles ranging from court dance to classical and contemporary ballet, and even hip hop.

The music selected for the ballet will follow suit with classical, rock opera and hip-hop renditions of the great composer’s work. And yes, there will be Queen. Similar to Mercury, who died at 45 with a bright career cut short, Mozart died at the young age of 35.

“I am using a couple of songs by Freddie Mercury and Queen (Who Wants to Live Forever and The Show Must Go On),” said Destrooper. “Alongside some of the best classical interpretations of Mozart’s music, I am also using some rock interpretations of the master’s music (Dollie De Luxe’s rock opera: Magic Flute) and a hip-hop version of Concerto Grosso. Adele’s Skyfall, which will be sung live by Andrea Bayne, is also on the soundtrack. The music of the ballet is built a bit like the soundtrack of a movie.”

With his music crossing centuries, Mozart created over 800 works in all genres despite criticism from his peers. These works included symphony, opera, the solo concerto, chamber music including string quartet and string quintet, and the piano sonata.

Mozart’s music is still used for film scores today and has inspired music in other genres, such as rock, pop, and much more.

“It will be a feast for the senses and a new powerful and dramatic way to experience of Mozart, his life, and his work,” said Destrooper.

Amadeus takes place at the Royal Theatre at 805 Broughton St. March 17, 18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $30 at

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Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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