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Nov 202014
 

Una Callas Dimenticata Dario Fo Franca RameI encountered this excep­tional sop­rano when I was little more than 20 years old. She was two or three years older…

says Dario Fo, who steps on stage in Milan next week with a new work, Una Cal­las dimenticata (A for­got­ten Cal­las). It is the last piece he wrote with his wife Franca Rame who died last year. He is 88, which indeed makes him two years and a couple of months younger than Cal­las would have been.

I atten­ded the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and the stu­dents were often engaged by La Scala to help out in the work­shop to freshen up the back­drops and drapes.

One day from the scaf­fold­ing on which I was work­ing I noticed a rather attract­ive girl cross­ing the stage quietly, obli­vi­ous to what going on in the flies above her where all sorts of objects where dangling! Pre­oc­cu­pied, I yelled “Stop, it’s dan­ger­ous to walk across the stage at the moment! Can’t you see that arches and columns of the scenery are being lowered from the grid? Where are you going? Do you want to end up crushed like a Sfogli­atella? …con­tinue reading.

Nov 182014
 

Nicoletta Manni after Romeo and Juliet - photo by Brescia-Amisano, Teatro alla Scala

When did you start dan­cing?
I star­ted when I was tiny.

Why did you start dan­cing?
It star­ted as a game: my mother had a dan­cing school and I was always ask­ing if I could go with her.

Which dan­cer inspired you most as a child?
Polina Semionova.

Which dan­cer do you most admire?
I admire many dan­cers… I couldn’t choose just one.

What’s your favour­ite role?
My favour­ite role has always been Odile in Swan Lake, but now I’m start­ing to love the other roles just as much.

What role have you never played but would like to?
I would love to have the oppor­tun­ity to dance as many roles as pos­sible. I I must choose, then I’ll say La Bay­adère.

What’s your favour­ite bal­let to watch?
There are many, and above all it’s inter­est­ing to see the same bal­let danced by dif­fer­ent artists; with each one it’s a dif­fer­ent story, every­one has their own. …con­tinue reading.

Nov 152014
 

Teatro de la ZarzuelaSo Ric­cardo Muti will be off to Salzburg next year to con­duct Ernani but, unsur­pris­ingly, he will not be in front of the Rome Opera Orches­tra, as pre­vi­ously announced, but his Cher­ubini Youth Orches­tra. After Muti’s recent walkout in protest at the latest series of budget prob­lems at the Rome Opera House, the Maes­tro may not have wanted to see the faces of those play­ers for a while, but it could be that Salzburg gave him the nudge, hav­ing a few budget­ary prob­lems of its own. The Rome orches­tra, for example, was ask­ing for a €160 daily meals allow­ance from the Fest­ival whereas the (argu­ably) super­ior tal­ents of the Rome-based Santa Cecilia Orches­tra were happy with €80.

Journ­al­ist Valerio Cap­pelli repor­ted Muti’s ‘snub’ of the Rome Opera Orches­tra in the Cor­ri­ere della Sera. Details of the Union-coddled orchestra’s bene­fits and bonuses trickle out on an almost daily basis.

The uni­ons are search­ing for pos­sible cuts to avoid the announced sack­ing of 182 orches­tra and chorus mem­bers. Too little, too late? The annual sum­mer fest­ival at Rome’s Cara­calla Baths saw bonuses being handed out to play­ers who were not even par­ti­cip­at­ing in the fest­ival pro­gramme, says Cap­pelli. Then there is the work load: only 125 days a year even though the orches­tra receives an annual wage not a sea­sonal one. No won­der there is a €393 mil­lion hole to fill. …con­tinue reading.

Nov 122014
 

Diana Vishneva in Carolyn Carlson's Woman in a Room - photo by Gene Schiavone

Diana Vishneva’s dance pro­gramme On the Edge will get its UK début when it comes to the Lon­don Coli­seum in April 2015. The even­ing con­sists of two works com­mis­sioned spe­cific­ally for Vish­neva: Jean-Christophe Maillot’s intriguing pas de trois Switch, and Car­o­lyn Carlson’s pro­found solo work Woman in a Room.

In an inter­view with the Los Angeles Times, Vish­neva said,

Car­o­lyn Carlson doesn’t work with clas­sical dan­cers in principle.

But when she was con­vinced that they could col­lab­or­ate suc­cess­fully together and agreed to cre­ate Woman in a Room, Vish­neva remem­bers the first day of rehearsals:

When I came to her rehearsal room, I saw that on the huge table, which became my part­ner in this piece, she had spread pages with poetry by Arseny Tarkovsky… I ended up recit­ing his poetry in my show, which is totally incred­ible for me.

I spoke to Carlson a few months ago about the project:

It was won­der­ful work­ing with Diana. This was some­thing! It was dif­fi­cult in the begin­ning because she’s a diva, every­body takes care of her, and she’s used to people giv­ing her steps.
…con­tinue reading.

Nov 082014
 

Q&A

James Whiteside - photo Rosalie O'Connor

When did you start dan­cing?
I star­ted dan­cing when I was 9 years old.

Why did you start dan­cing?
I star­ted dan­cing because I was driv­ing my mom crazy. She wanted to get me out of the house and into an after-school activ­ity. I had an appalling amount of energy and I abso­lutely hated every “nor­mal” sport. My mom chucked the phone­book at me one day and said, “Pick some­thing!” I thumbed through the yel­low pages and found an ad for a local dance stu­dio. At the time, I didn’t real­ize it was for a dance stu­dio. I just saw the incred­ible photo, of a man lift­ing a woman over her head with one hand! Next thing I knew, I was enrolled in jazz, tap, and acro­bat­ics. Bal­let came a wee bit later.

Which dan­cer inspired you most as a child?
Ini­tially, it was my teach­ers and some of the older stu­dents. Janet Jack­son had a huge impact on me as a teen­ager. I loved her music (still do!), her energy, and style. Other influ­ences were Brit­ney Spears and *NSYNC. I will­ingly knew noth­ing about Nureyev or Bary­sh­nikov, but those super­stars of the late 90’s TRL age had me shak­ing my rumplestilt­skin* in my metal­lic flares and Sketch­ers. Rough stuff, I know.

Which dan­cer do you most admire?
I admire loads of dan­cers! I’d be a fool to just pick one to steal secrets of the trade from. To name a few: Vera-Ellen, of the MGM days; Mar­celo Gomes, of ABT fame; Janet (Miss Jack­son if you’re nasty); Rudolf Nureyev (love that queen!)… and many more! …con­tinue reading.