Jun 062013

Alessandra Ferri Alessandra Ferris classy comebackThere are comebacks and comebacks: the rather sad, end-of-the-pier affair, because money’s run out and there’s ali­mony to pay; the small cameo ‘because I miss the applause’; and .

Ferri’s vari­ous comeback pro­jects are classy with a piece being cre­ated for her by Martha Clarke based on Colette’s novel Cherì with ABT’s Her­man Cornejo, a new bal­let about Ele­onora Duse by  at , and The Piano Upstairs, the first ven­ture, which opens at the Fest­ival on 28 June.

For Spo­leto she’s assembled an impress­ive cre­at­ive team. The story was her own idea, but John Weidman gave it struc­ture, and dia­logue. He is a musical theatre vet­eran hav­ing writ­ten books for (Pacific Over­tures, Assas­sins, Road Show), (Con­tact, Hap­pi­ness) and Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire (Take Flight, Big).

The Piano Upstairs is the story of the col­lapse of a mar­riage described by the hus­band and by the wife. She recounts her ver­sion in dance, he recounts his ver­sion in a series of mono­logues. The stakes are raised until the story is no longer about the sur­vival of a mar­riage, but about the sur­vival of the hus­band and wife themselves.

The hus­band is played by Boyd Gaines who recently played on Broad­way and the West End in Driv­ing Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, and with in Gypsy for which he received his fourth Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Crit­ics Circle Award Nomination.

Although the real­isa­tion of this pro­ject coin­cides with the real life break-up of Ferri’s mar­riage with pho­to­grapher (no rela­tion, if you see what I mean), it has been in the pipeline for a while, as she explained to Il Cor­ri­ere della Sera:

For some time I’ve had the idea of a show devel­op­ing on two dif­fer­ent levels of lan­guage: dance and words. This is the story, unreal­istic, of a couple hav­ing prob­lems, unable to com­mu­nic­ate: a hus­band, played by Gaines, trapped within his own dis­guise and a wife that will leave him, sav­ing him from the deceit­ful­ness in which he lives.

My role is multi-faceted: at times I will be the wife, at times the soul of this man incap­able of lov­ing, while the three dan­cers are the per­son­i­fic­a­tion of the lib­er­at­ing music released from a mys­ter­i­ous piano which is upstairs. We will dance to music by Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, and three com­pos­i­tions writ­ten for me by Fab­rizio Ferri.

Aless­andra Ferri her­self is tack­ling the cho­reo­graphy, a first in her career, and will dance along­side three dan­cers: Attila Csiki (Lar Lub­ovitch Dance Com­pany), Stephen Hanna (, and the older Billy Elliot in the ori­ginal Broad­way cast) and Andrea Volpintesta ().

The visu­als are being cre­ated by Oscar-winning designer Gianni Quar­anta who was the pro­duc­tion designer for A Room with a View, Jesus of Naz­areth and Farinelli, and has designed operas for the most import­ant houses in the world. He is joined by Luisa Spin­a­telli, bal­let cos­tume designer par excel­lence, who has designed for La Scala, the , Paris Opera Bal­let and the Bolshoi com­pan­ies. To light it all is Daniele Nan­nuzzi, a film and theatre light­ing designer who, in 2011 in St Peters­burg, together with cho­reo­grapher Boris Eif­man, made the film ver­sions of the bal­lets Anna Karen­ina and One­gin.

Classy Aless­andra, classy.

  2 Responses to “Alessandra Ferri’s classy comeback”

  1. this is excit­ing. and good art­icle by the way.

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