After the doom and gloom with the many announcements of theatre events being cancelled or postponed, here is some good news from Rome.
The annual Les Étoiles ballet gala evening in Rome which was last seen in 2020, just before Covid-19 started to disrupt our lives, will be back at the end of this month on 30 and 31 January 2020 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.
Producer Daniele Cipriani says,
Les Étoiles, the cult gala eagerly awaited by the ballet community of Italy and abroad returns after an interval of two years due to reasons that do not need explanation. And what art is more suitable than dance to express with its pirouettes and its jumps the joy and liberation from one of the darkest periods of our times?
There is the usual starry line-up: from The Royal Ballet in London are Natalia Osipova, Fumi Kaneko, and Vadim Muntagirov; from the American Ballet Theatre are Cassandra Trenary and Calvin Royal III; from the Paris Opéra Ballet comes Mathieu Ganio and Eleonora Abbagnato, former étoile with the POB and currently director of the Rome Opera Ballet: and from the Berlin State Ballet is Daniil Simkin; with international guests Sergio Bernal (former dancer with the Spanish National Ballet), Alejandro Virelles (former dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba) and Ana Sophia Scheller (former dancer with the New York City Ballet). Other dancers will be announced.
This Les Étoiles will follow previous editions with a contemporary repertoire alongside the gala favourites, and this includes the Italian premiere of Touché by Christopher Rudd, danced by Calvin Royal III, together with Sergio Bernal. The work debuted last October during the American Ballet Theatre's fall gala at Lincoln Centre during the company's “Pride Nights”:
A touching duet between two men – says Cipriani – that is honest and compelling and marks a decisive step in raising public awareness of the normality of love in all its forms. Les Étoiles is part of a debate that should be old news, but headlines show that this is sadly untrue.
In addition to Rudd, there is also the choreographer Jason Kittelberger (creator of Ashes, a solo performed by Osipova) and Alejandro Cerrudo (whose humorous solo Pacopepluto will be performed by Simkin). These are works that are being seen for the first time in Italy. There will also be two world premiers, created for Les Étoiles, with Bernal in a golden costume by Roberto Capucci for the solo Le Roi Danse in his own choreography, and Abbagnato in Dior which will see her dancing together with her nine-year-old daughter Julia, a pupil at the Rome Opera House Ballet School.
Alongside works by famous modern-day choreographers, such as the incandescent pas de deux (“The Kiss”) from Angelin Preljocaj's Le Parc (performed by Abbagnato and Ganio), there will be traditional gala fare with the Act II pas de deux from Giselle (Royal and la Trenary), Don Quixote (Simkin and a ‘surprise' étoile), Le Corsaire (Osipova and Muntagirov), Esmeralda and Grand Pas Classique (Scheller and Virelles) as well as Swan Lake (Muntagirov and Kaneko will dance both the white swan and the black swan pas de deux) and the Grand Pas Classique. 91-year-old fashion designer Capucci has designed the first tutus of his long career for Odette/Odile as well as the costumes for Prince Siegfried.
Cipriani has asked Laura Bosetti Tonatto, the well-known perfume creator, to create two unisex fragrances – the fresher Odette and the darker Odile – which will also waft around the auditorium during the gala. Something of a first I imagine, in every… ahem… sense.
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.