Milan is not like London or New York… there's not a lot of dance going on. The resident company at La Scala will be performing six titles during the coming season. That's S-I-X. And there will not be thirty Nutcrackers around Christmas either, there'll be 12 Cinderellas; usually there are just nine performances of each title. So imagine everyone's surprise when La Scala announced two ballet Galas to close their Milan Expo season on 30 and 31 October, and Teatro Carcano said that ex-Royal Ballet Principal Mara Galeazzi would be bringing some ‘friends' over for a Gala to be repeated over three days from 30 October until 1 November. Then as if to prove that Milan's trams don't have the monopoly on arriving in groups, Sylvie Guillem's farewell show has been slotted in at the last minute at Teatro Arcimboldi on 29 October. Of course, after waiting for a tram to come along and then seeing three together makes you scream in frustration, but this dance-cluster had Italian balletomanes screaming with joy… FINALLY!
So, Sylvie Guillem says goodbye to Milan on 29 October with Life in Progress, featuring her La Scala chum Emanuela Montanari. This addition to Guillem's final tour certainly surprised Milanese fans who have already travelled to Modena, Genoa, Rome and further afield to catch her addio. It does, however, give us the opportunity to catch it for a second (third, or fourth) time.
The day after sees a Gala clash, but as they are repeated seeing both is possible.
La Scala are featuring their resident Principals – Svetlana Zakharova, Roberto Bolle and Massimo Murru – along with regular collaborators such as Ivan Vasiliev, Leonid Sarafanov, Polina Semionova and xxxx, xxxx, xxxx. The xxxxs will be filled during the next few days – I've been sworn to secrecy – but you can probably guess the names (or read them in the forums and personal Facebook pages). The Rai television will broadcast the evening live on television and between now and Christmas it will be shown in cinemas worldwide. Gramilano will be in the wings muttering into a microphone and grimacing at a camera for the backstage live streaming on YouTube and the La Scala site on 30 October at 9pm, when I'll be teaming up again with the press office's social media guru, the delightful Silvia Farina.
Meanwhile, just round the corner at Teatro Carcano, Mara Galeazzi will open for three days with colleagues from various European companies. La Scala are going for the good old-fashioned ballet's-greatest-hits evening, whereas Mara's gone for a mainly modern programme, though a black swan will be raising its neck at one point, and a Sylphide will flutter around the stage too. The full repertoire is printed below.
The participating dancers at Teatro Carcano are Anna Tsygankova and Jozef Varga from the Dutch National Ballet, Elena Vostrotina and Raphael Coumes Marquet from Dresden Semperoper, Alexandra Lo Sardo and Jon Alex Fransson from the Danish Ballet, and Mara herself will be joined by her Royal Ballet pal, the delectable Gary Avis.
Life in Progress – Teatro Arcimboldi
29 October 9pm
Gala des étoiles – Teatro alla Scala
30 October 8pm, 31 October 9pm
Mara Galeazzi & Friends, International Dance Gala – Teatro Carcano
30 October 7.30pm, 31 October 8.30pm, 1 November 4pm
www.happyticket.it – www.getiticket.it – www.bookingshow.com
Mara Galeazzi & Friends, International Dance Gala – Programme
Mara Galeazzi and Gary Avis will perform:
Choreography: William Tuckett
Music: Christian Zeal and Activity by John Adams
Edo de Waart and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
FROM THE SHADE – (World première)
Choreography: Tim Podesta
Music: Earth Prelude by Ludovico Einaudi
Choreography: Alastair Marriott
Assistant choreographer: Jonathan Howells
Music: Verzagen by Brahms
Lighting: Adam Witshire
Mara Galeazzi will perform:
Choreography: Wayne McGregor
Music: Adagio from Sonata N°5 in F minor by J S Bach
Anna Tsygankova and Jozef Varga will perform:
BLACK SWAN – Act III pas de deux
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Music: P. I. Ciaikovskij
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Music: Maurice Ravel
Elena Vostrotina and Raphael Coumes Marquet will perform
IN THE MIDDLE SOMEWHAT ELEVATED
Choreography: William Forsythe
Music: Thom Willems
THE GREY AREA
Choreography: David Dawson
Music: Neils Lanz
Costumes: Yumiko Takesmina
Alexandra Lo Sardo and Jon Axel Fransson will perform:
Choreography: August Bournonville
Music: Herman Løvenskiold
Choreography: Alexander Ekman
Music: Sonata 5 ‘Sitio' by Sándor Végh
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.