The new triple bill which opens at La Scala this evening is unique indeed! It features a new version of Ravel's La valse by three choreographers, all dancers with the company.
Stranger still is that Frederick Ashton's choreography for La valse was created for La Scala in January of 1958, with Vera Colombo, Mario Pistoni, Carmen Puthod, Guilio Perugini, Elettra Morini and Walter Vendetti. A perverse choice, then, to not revive a masterpiece created within its walls – it hasn't been at La Scala since 1971 – and entrust Stefania Ballone, Matteo Gavazzi and Marco Messina to come up with something valid; I hope they succeed. It was an idea that came from La Scala's short-lived director of the Ballet Company, Mauro Bigonzetti. Emanuela Montanari (a woman) Antonino Sutera (a man) and Antonella Albano with Gabriele Corrado (a couple) appear tonight.
Another new creation on the programme is a version of Rimskij-Korsakov's Shéhérazade. The choreographer is Eugenio Scigliano.
Scigliano was a dancer with the Tuscan Ballet, with timeout as a soloist with English National Ballet, after which Bigonzetti invited him to join Aterballetto, the company he headed at the time. Since 2004, Scigliano has dedicated his career to choreography and is guest choreographer at Aterballetto, which is now run by Bigonzetti's mother-in-law, Cristina Bozzolini, who was a key figure in starting him out along the choreography path, back in the 1990s. His Shéhérazade will see Virna Toppi as Zobeide; Gabriele Corrado as the Golden Slave, Marco Agostino as Zahman, Gioacchino Starace as Shariar, and Beatrice Carbone and the Shadow of Shéhérazade.
Balanchine's Symphony in C is the tried and tested part of the evening. First night casting sees Martina Arduino and Timofej Andrijashenko (1st movement), Nicoletta Manni and Roberto Bolle (2nd movement), Virna Toppi and Claudio Coviello (3rd movement), and Vittoria Valerio and Marco Agostino (4th movement).
All photos by Marco Brescia and Rudy Amisano – Teatro alla Scala.
Symphony in C, Choreography by George Balanchine © School of American Ballet
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.