Apr 202014

Lina Sastri in Linapolina 500x332 Lina Sastri   the master of Neapolitan songFor those who think of Neapol­itan song as singing at full throttle O sole mio, the artistry of Lina Sastri will come as a surprise.

Sastri, a Neapol­itan DOC, is also an act­ress… a for­mid­able one. She won the Best Act­ress David di Dona­tello Award (the Italian Oscars) for her role in Nanni Loy’s Mi manda Picone, and again for Giuseppe Bertolucci’s Segreti segreti; one year she was even nom­in­ated for both Best Act­ress and Best Sup­port­ing Act­ress. She gave a stun­ning per­form­ance in Filumena Mar­tur­ano which toured Italy for two years with Luca De Fil­ippo, and has played both Elec­tra and MedeaShe has also been in count­less tele­vi­sion dra­mas includ­ing two of Eduardo De Filippo’s plays, star­ring the great maes­tro him­self, when she was just out of her teens.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 202014

Rusfua Wainright PledgeMusic 500x281 Rufus Wainwright is raising money to record his opera Prima DonnaRufus Wain­wright has gone to PledgeMusic to raise money to fund a stu­dio record­ing of his opera Prima Donna.

PledgeMusic? For those who have just caught up with Kick­starter, which was launched in April 2009, it’s time to turn your atten­tion to PledgeMusic which déb­uted in August of the same year. It is “the most cre­at­ive and inter­act­ive way for you to be part of your favor­ite artists’ jour­ney releas­ing new work”, says their site. Here there are fun­drais­ing cam­paigns by young or unknown tal­ent, but not only: artists such as the Buzz­cocks, George Ben­son and Rickie Lee Jones have turned to this site to real­ise pro­pos­i­tions which don’t have ‘com­mer­cial’ writ­ten over them.

Record­ing an opera is expens­ive -  Wain­wright wants to hire the BBC Sym­phony Orches­tra — which is why stu­dio record­ings of operas are a rar­ity.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 182014
David Hallberg Swan Lake La Scala 500x375 Hallberg and Zakharova: a sublime couple in Nureyevs Swan Lake in Milan

David Hallberg’s dream­ing prince in Swan Lake at La Scala

David Hallberg’s recep­tion at La Scala was rap­tur­ous. He is mak­ing his house début in Milan as well as tack­ling Rudolf Nureyev’s tricky cho­reo­graphy for Swan Lake for the first time. Loud cries of ‘bravo’ greeted the end of his first act solo, and the applause for him, and his part­ner Svet­lana Zakhar­ova, was ecstatic through­out the even­ing, with a stand­ing ova­tion at the final curtain.

Hall­berg proved him­self an excel­lent actor, imbuing Nureyev’s bewildered Prince with pathos. The mel­an­cholic Siegfried is found dream­ing on his throne as the cur­tain rises and, in this Freu­dian approach to the story, he con­tinu­ally finds refuge in his ima­gin­a­tion as he tries to escape the respons­ib­il­it­ies of man­hood that his mother and his tutor — who in his mind becomes Roth­bart — try to thrust upon him.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 162014
Rossella Brescia and the company of Amarcord on the Spanish Steps 500x340 Fellinian ballet flash mob descends on Romes Spanish Steps

Ros­sella Bres­cia and the com­pany of Amar­cord on the Span­ish Steps

Tour­ists on Rome’s Span­ish Steps were taken by sur­prise yes­ter­day after­noon when a com­pany of dan­cers des­cen­ded on them dressed as char­ac­ters from Fed­erico Fellini’s Amar­cord.

Italian bal­let dan­cer and all-round enter­tainer Ros­sella Bres­cia, with the entire com­pany of dan­cers from Dan­zitalia in their 1930s garb, along with cho­reo­grapher Luciano Can­nito and designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno, arrived dan­cing down the myth­ical marble steps to the delight of chil­dren and adults alike.

Cannito’s Amar­cord was cre­ated in 1995 for Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and was sub­sequently presen­ted at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Met­ro­pol­itan in New York. In 2012 it was revised by the cho­reo­grapher for an Italian tour with the com­pany Dan­zitalia which he runs with dance pro­du­cer Daniele Cipri­ani.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 142014
Anna Maria Prina and students of the La Scala Ballet School in 1992 2 700x475 La Scala Ballet Schools director for 32 years on Teaching Dance

Anna Maria Prina and Robert De War­ren with stu­dents of the La Scala Bal­let School in 1992:  on the left Marta Romagna and Roberto Bolle; to the right Mara Galeazzi and Mick Zeni

Italian La Scala Ballet Schools director for 32 years on Teaching Dance

 ver­sione italiana

Anna Maria Prina was the dir­ector of the La Scala Theatre Bal­let School for thiry-two years, pro­du­cing artists such as Mara Galeazzi, Massimo Murru, Roberto Bolle, Mick Zeni, Ren­ata Cal­dar­ini, Alessio Car­bone, Vito Mazzeo, Marco Pierin and Paola Can­ta­lupo, among many, many others.

I asked her what the requis­ites are to become a dance teacher:

Teach­ing is an art, a sci­ence and a gift. It’s a gift to know how to leave a mark in the minds of those who wish to learn. Teach­ing dance isn’t for every­one: it is neces­sary to be gen­er­ous, curi­ous, author­it­at­ive and armed with great pas­sion and patience.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 132014

Pereira 500x330 La Scalas new boss, Alexander Pereira, clears his nameItalian opera buffs, Milan’s Mayor and La Repub­blica news­pa­per were angry and amazed when news from Aus­tria revealed that the Salzburg Festival’s cur­rent dir­ector, Alex­an­der Pereira, was selling seven of its pro­duc­tions to La Scala, where Pereira will take over in Octo­ber of this year. That is, he was selling his pro­duc­tions to him­self. A con­flict of interests?

La Repub­blica asked one of their top journ­al­ists, Nat­alia Aspesi, to get to the bot­tom of things, and she spoke with Pereira in Moscow.

I want to let Milan know imme­di­ately the type of sov­rin­tend­ente I’ll be, and the type of pro­duc­tions I want to do there, so I have chosen the best of the Festival.

It was also falsely repor­ted that all seven pro­duc­tions would be in the same sea­son, whereas they will be spread over the first three seasons:

The four titles from Salzburg that will be divided over the 2015 and 2016 sea­sons cost Salzburg €4,450,000, and the Mil­anese theatre will get them at €690,000 each; a very good price.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 122014
alexander pereira 500x281 Storm as La Scalas new boss buys seven of his own Salzburg productions for Milan

photo by Char­lotte Oswald

The new sov­rin­tend­ente at La Scala, Alex­an­der Pereira, has bought for his first sea­son with the Mil­anese theatre, seven pro­duc­tions from the Salzburg Fest­ival, where he is cur­rently play­ing out his last sea­son as its director.

The affair, first repor­ted in the Aus­trian press, came as a sur­prise to Milan’s Mayor, Giuli­ano Pis­apia, who is Chair­man on the Board of Dir­ect­ors at Teatro alla Scala:

I learned of the affair from the press. I’m amazed. I have asked for all the neces­sary doc­u­ment­a­tion and then will dis­cuss the mat­ter at the next meet­ing with the board of directors.

That meet­ing is in two days time, Monday 14 April.

La Repub­blica news­pa­per repor­ted that some board mem­bers are say­ing that as Pereira’s con­tract doesn’t start until 1 Octo­ber he has no power to start buy­ing and selling.[con­tinue reading]

Apr 112014

logo opera di firenze Zubin Mehta brings Kunde, Cedolins, Ferri and Kunde to open the new Florence Opera HouseI’ve only one thing to ask our Prime Min­is­ter, who is mak­ing so many reforms: I hope with all my heart that he will intro­duce tax relief for cul­ture. It is of the utmost importance!

Zubin Mehta, dir­ector of the Mag­gio Musicale Fiorentino, launched his appeal to Mat­teo Renzi, the cur­rent Italian Prime Min­is­ter and former Florence Mayor, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence to illus­trate the prin­cipal events dur­ing the Festival’s 77th edi­tion. The Fest­ival and its dance com­pany, Mag­gi­odanza, have suffered from massive fin­an­cial prob­lems over the last few years.

There will be excit­ing new changes for the Mag­gio Musicale Fiorentino — the old­est Fest­ival in Europe, after Salzburg - as the new opera house will finally open on 10 May, three years after its offi­cial open­ing in 2011.… [con­tinue reading]