Apr 242014

Carlos Acosta 500x450 Carlos Acosta brings a touch of Cuba to the Royal Opera stageRoyal Bal­let Prin­cipal Car­los Acosta will bring Cubanía, a pro­gramme of Cuban dance inspired by his home­land, to the Royal Opera House in July. The mixed pro­gramme con­tains world premi­eres and award-winning con­tem­por­ary dance which will be accom­pan­ied by a live onstage Cuban house band. Cubanía is devised by Acosta and he will per­form dur­ing the evening.

Unit­ing dan­cers and cho­reo­graph­ers from The Royal Bal­let, Ram­bert, Cuban National Bal­let and Danza Con­tem­por­anea de Cuba, Acosta will dance in a new piece by Cuban cho­reo­grapher Miguel Altunaga, and will also part­ner Royal Bal­let prin­cipal Zenaida Yanowsky in Edwaard Liang’s poignant duet Sight Unseen.

The pro­gramme includes Tocororo Suite, a semi-autobiographical piece set in the streets of Havana cho­reo­graphed by Acosta; Danza Con­tem­por­anea de Cuba, the Cuban national con­tem­por­ary dance com­pany; and two world premières by Cuban cho­reo­graph­ers.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 232014
John Malkovich and Jonas Kaufmann in The Giacomo Variations 500x408 Jonas Kaufmann champions La Scalas new boss and the great Italian director Giorgio Strehler

John Malkovich and Jonas Kaufmann in the upcom­ing film The Giac­omo Variations

Jonas Kaufmann says that La Scala and Santa Cecilia are the only two import­ant music centres left in Italy,

Too many theatres have closed in the last few years; a real shame.

Which theatres he’s think­ing about isn’t clear, for although many (of the many) Italian opera houses are hav­ing fin­an­cial troubles, none of major houses have closed.

Kaufmann gave an inter­view to the Cor­ri­ere della Sera on the eve of his tri­umphant Win­ter­re­ise at La Scala. Giusep­pina Manin asked him about the new sov­rin­tend­ente,

I know Pereira well. I’ve worked along­side him for ten years at the Zurich Opera and then Salzburg. He’s already been in con­tact about our next pro­jects together.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 232014


 Adam Bull answers the Gramilano Questionnaire… Dancers’ Edition

Adam Bull in Har­ald Lander’s Etudes — photo Jeff Busby

When did you start dan­cing?
At 8 years old.

Why did you start dan­cing?
I was encour­aged to dance by my Grade 1 primary school teacher. She saw some­thing within me which I didn’t even know exis­ted. I thank her for where I am today.

Which dan­cer inspired you most as a child?
I loved the old dance music­als of a bygone era: Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire… cha­risma for days.

Which dan­cer do you most admire?
My friends and col­leagues who I work with inspire me on a daily basis.

What’s your favour­ite role?
Prince Siegfried in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake… Closely fol­lowed by Des Grieux and One­gin.… [con­tinue reading]

Apr 222014

Carla Fracci Passo dopo passo 319x500 Carla Fraccis autobiography: Step After StepBased on a long series of con­ver­sa­tions with Enrico Rotelli, Passo dopo passo (Step After Step) is Carla Fracci telling her story in her own words. From a simple child­hood dur­ing the war to the tri­umphs with the Amer­ican Bal­let Theatre and bey­ond: it is a fas­cin­at­ing journey.

Rotelli has divided the auto­bi­o­graphy into short chapters — Rudy, Lon­don Fest­ival Bal­let, Swan­hilda — which gives the book a fast pace. For those who have fol­lowed the career of La Fracci in other books or inter­views, some of this mater­ial will be famil­iar: daugh­ter of a tram driver, mar­riage to Visconti’s assist­ant, birth of her son Francesco, Nureyev… but here there are lots of new nug­gets to be found.

Before I go any fur­ther, I should come clean as I am men­tioned in the book, and had a minor role in its cre­ation, but when there is a con­flict of interest and I don’t like a per­form­ance, a cd, a pro­duc­tion, or a video, I choose not to write about it… after all, friends are friends.… [con­tinue reading]

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]