2023 Festival Archive: Basil Twist

Basil Twist: Symphonie Fantastique Film

January 24, 2023

Studebaker Theater

Presented by Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival


Scholarship and Resources

World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts Entry

Festival Performances

About the Performance

January 24, 2023
Studebaker Theater
410 S. Michigan Ave.

In 1998, puppeteer Basil Twist debuted his boundary-breaking response to Berlioz’s 1830 “Symphonie Fantastique” to universal acclaim. In the two decades since, Twist became an internationally recognized artist in opera, ballet, and on Broadway, winning countless awards including the illustrious MacArthur Fellowship. His piece Symphonie Fantastique floated and swirled for a critically lauded and sold-out six-month run at HERE Arts Center in NYC with live accompaniment by the virtuosic Christopher O’Riley playing the exquisite Liszt transcription for concert piano, allowing the finest performances to be captured in front of, behind, and inside a 1,000-gallon water tank by Twist and director Bobby Sheehan. Soon after, while on a Rome Prize fellowship, Twist collaborated with master Italian film artisans resulting in Twist’s first full-length film, weaving imagery seen by the audience with the unseen backstage ballet of the puppeteers and the emotional synergy of the live musical performance.

Past Performances and Further Reading