Vasco Rossi is one of the most famous Italian rockers. The singer-songwriter has hit sixty, but continues to sell out stadiums. His most famous song, Vita spericolata (Daredevil Life) sums up his own approach to life, and in true rock style he's regularly finished up in clinics to detox.
A strange choice for ballet music? Well, of course, Roland Petit has already used Pink Floyd's songs, and Maurice Béjart those of Queen, but the commission for Milan's Teatro alla Scala was slightly different. Here the composer chose some of his most famous songs about women and re-orchestrated them for the occasion, and under that rocker's torn t-shirt is revealed a tender heart, with melodic songs which are by turns touching and exciting.
Rossi was already a dance fan, with a Thriller-style sequence in the video for Buoni o Cattivi and Eleonora Abbagnato dances in Ad Ogni Costo, a video-clip directed by Stefano Salvati who also filmed some projections for the La Scala project, and, with Rossi, created the Vasco Rossi Dancing Project in 2009 to help promote dance in Italy.
The album of revisited songs used for the ballet L'altra metà del cielo came out just before the “prima”, it shot to the top of the charts, and La Scala was sold out for the run, along with a television broadcast tie-in. It worked, and the public reaction was enthusiastic.
Not to let a good thing slip by, La Scala have programmed it into the current season, and from 6 to 13 September they will be performing it again, with Martha Clarke's passionate choreography.
Albachiara, Susanna and Silvia are the names of the three women sung about by Rossi – who also wrote the story, with Salvati, linking his songs together; three different types of women followed during four phases of their lives. To play these women returns Sabrina Brazzo (from 6 to 10) and Petra Conti (from 11 to 13) as Albachiara; Stefania Ballone (from 6 to 10), Serena Sarnataro(11 and 12), and Denise Gazzo (13) as Silvia; and Susanna will be played by Beatrice Carbone (from 6 to 10) and Emanuela Montanari (from 11 to 13). The men who come in and out of their lives are danced by Mick Zeni, Eris Nezha, Antonino Sutera, Marco Messina, Fabio Saglibene and Federico Fresi.
L'altra metà del cielo at Teatro la Scala from 6 to 13 September.
A series of clips can be seen on La Scala's site.
Photo: Mick Zeni & Sabrina Brazzo rehearsing L'altra metà del cielo.
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.