Takeaway culture was an idea that came to Italian impresario Daniele Cipriani one morning on his way to his local bar in Rome:
By now we are used to taking everything away, from dinner to coffee, so why not also think about live takeaway shows?
Like all in the theatre sector, Cipriani has seen his business devastated as his touring ballets and dance galas have been postponed or cancelled.
We are constantly trying to find solutions and last summer I had the idea of bringing dancers on stage who were also couples in life.
So was born a series of festival galas called Duets and Solos that started after the first lockdown when mass testing was not an option as it is now. It allowed the dancers onstage without masks while still following the Italian government’s safety guidelines.
We’ve been at a standstill since October and the prospects for reopening are fading amid the continuously changing restrictions. Therefore, I thought of shows to be ‘ordered’ in private homes, in courtyards and gardens, and on terraces, choosing music, or dance, or theatre.
All unique events, which respect the rules, and can be devised with the customer according to their taste, budget and the characteristics of the performing space.
A balcony can be the setting for Romeo and Juliet, a garden for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a living room or bedroom could be the setting for La traviata. The spectator can also broadcast they see via social networks to friends and family.
This, he points out, is an opportunity not just for the ‘audience’ but also for the artist.
Many have not worked for a year!
Cipriani’s show for the summer – Stravinsky’s Love – celebrates the Russian composer on the 50th anniversary of his death. Vladimir Derevianko will play Stravinsky recalling episodes of his life and introducing the pieces on the programme: Pulcinella, L’Histoire du soldat, Duo concertante for violin and piano, Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring. Music will be provided by the exciting pianist Beatrice Rana, and violinist Andrea Obiso with his 1741 Guarneri del Gesù! Dancers include Sergio Bernal and New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder.
However, Cipriani is crossing his fingers that the regulations will return to be similar to those of last year, as the maximum capacity for theatres announced before Easter is prohibitive:
The possible reopening of the theatres from 27 March has created even more problems because [of the] severe restrictions: 400 seats in the open-air and 200 indoors, for everyone. Restrictions that make costs unsustainable.
This theoretical reopening is only possible in areas with very low coronavirus infection numbers. At this time, in all of Italy, the theatres are closed.
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.