COLLABORATIONS between our arts companies are to be commended, as they bring the opportunity to share different strengths and, perhaps, also engage with each other’s audiences.

So, with Passion we had the logical match of Music Theatre Wales, which specialises in modern music works, and National Dance Company Wales as exponents of the contemporary movement genre. The vehicle was the 'Dance Opera' Passion.

The work is, as may be expected, not exactly mass appeal and needs to be approached with this consideration. The music performed by the London Sinfonietta is arresting, not only in style, but also in the use of instruments, at times seemingly contrasting origins and therefore contexts (there seemed to be an evocative snake rattle at one point).

There is, of course, the incorporation of human voices too, whether the angst of the two characters, Her and Him, or the Exaudi Vocal Ensemble (sharp intakes of breath are a notable feature of the piece).

The performance of soprano Jennifer France and baritone Johnny Herford, in this reimagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice story, is dark and strong. The angst of their predicament is communicated also in the music of composer Pascal Dusapin, with a Greek chorus of song from the off-stage singers, haunting and Elysian, both menacing and numbing at times.

The dance is also dark; it is skilfully woven and integrated with the two singers, who can be enveloped and literally carried by the dancers, divided and threatened by them, but they also meld into the movement themselves. As with much contemporary movement over-analysis of the choreography, here by the accomplished Caroline Finn, can be a tortuous business; better just enjoy it and allow yourself to be carried along too.

One must also mention the staging: a ladder, an orange curtain, and a moving intensely brightly lit door all used to dramatic effect. Overall, this is definitely one for those with an interest in more esoteric opera and dance.

By Shaun Tougher