A Nabucco or Norma with leather costumes wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but a ballet? Boots and belts maybe, but tutus and frocks? This was the conceit behind The Cloak of the Dragon presented at Milan's Teatro del Verme.
Linea Pelle, world leaders in leather goods, have sponsored this ballet which will be presented to coincide with their various trade fairs. Apart from providing an evening out for their clients and the fashion press, it also serves to demonstrate how diverse leather can be, in fact, many of these costumes were made not to look like leather at all.
To justify the use of this material they chose children's stories: “3 tales danced in a magic tannery, animated by a beautiful queen”. The beautiful queen was Sabrina Brazzo, a prima ballerina at La Scala in Milan, and in this ad hoc company were various other La Scala dancers – Andrea Volpintesta, Antonella Albano, Maurizio Licitra – along with TV talent show winner Denny Lodi, and others. The surprising thing though, was how good the dancing was. While Massimiliano Volpini's choreography hardly stretched them technically, there was lots of well-drilled ensemble work that at Milan's opera house itself we sometimes only dream of!
The music was a listenable selection of Shoskakovic, Kachaturian, Poulenc, Bizet, and Liszt, and the leather costumes (ok, there were also touches of lace and tulle too) were designed by Erika Carretta.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.