Dawson/Duato/Kratz/Kylián is a new mixed programme at La Scala which opens on 4 February, with a new creation by Philippe Kratz (Solitude Sometimes); two works that are being presented for the first time in Milan (Remanso, the male trio by Nacho Duato, and David Dawson's Anima Animus); and the return after 14 years of Jiří Kylián's Bella Figura.
Solitude Sometimes is new work from Philippe Kratz that comes after the success of SENTieri. The work's concluding trio was performed in La Scala's Great Moments of Dance programme which was transmitted in February 2021 during a period of lockdown, then later performed before an audience in July of the same year.
Catharsis, rebirth, the cycle of life and the resilience of the individual are the themes in Solitude Sometimes, with an electronic soundtrack from Thom Yorke and Radiohead. Kratz has immersed himself in Egyptian mythology for recounting an ascent towards the light, using the Amduat funerary text which tells the story of Ra, the Egyptian sun god, who travels through the underworld from when the sun sets until it rises again.
The dancers are Nicoletta Manni, Camilla Cerulli, Alessandra Vassallo, Stefania Ballone, Linda Giubelli, Timofej Andrijashenko, Claudio Coviello, Domenico Di Cristo, Christian Fagetti, Navrin Turnbull, Andrea Crescenzi, Andrea Risso, Gioacchino Starace, and Rinaldo Venuti.
Gallery: Solitude Sometimes
David Dawson was represented in the same contemporary evening programme as Kratz in the summer of 2021 with a pas de deux from A Sweet Spell of Oblivion. The collaboration with Dawson continues with Anima Animus, created in 2018 for 10 dancers at San Francisco Ballet using the music of Ezio Bosso's Violin Concerto No. 1. It will be the Italian premiere of the work.
The ballet offers a rich mix of contrasts, which reflect those heard in the music, and the choreography explores the fluid space between extremes and opposites: technical virtuosity and poetry, humanity and architecture, revealing the unity of the ensemble and the power of the individual, inspired by the concepts of anima and animus in Jungian philosophy.
The cast is made up of Alice Mariani, Martina Arduino, Marco Agostino, Nicola Del Freo, Gabriele Corrado, Timofej Andrijashenko, Agnese Di Clemente, Gaia Andreanò, Maria Celeste Losa and Caterina Bianchi (on 4 February, Sunday 5 matinee, and the evening performance on 9 February), with an alternative cast featuring Nicoletta Manni, Maria Celeste Losa, Gioacchino Starace, Rinaldo Venuti, Mattia Semperboni, Christian Fagetti, Alessandra Vassallo, Letizia Masini, Linda Giubelli and Marta Gerani (4 and 9 February matinees, and 7 February evening performance).
Gallery: Anima Animus
Nacho Duato's choreography was first seen at La Scala when his Nutcracker was staged in 2015 and 2016. He returns with Remanso, to the Valses poéticos by Enrique Granados that will be performed on the piano by Takahiro Yoshikawa. The piece was created in 1997 for the American Ballet Theatre, and first performed by Desmond Richardson, Parrish Maynard and Vladimir Malakhov. Remanso, with its expressive power and inventive use of the dynamics of space and form, was inspired by the world of Federico García Lorca, starting out as a male trio and later being extended for the Compañía Nacional de Danza in 1998 with the title Remansos. The original version, for three men, comes to La Scala for the first time, with the theatre's étoile Roberto Bolle in all performances. He will be joined by Nicola del Freo and Mattia Semperboni (3, 4 and 9 February, and the 5 February matinee) and Domenico Di Cristo and Darius Gramada (4 and 9 February matinees and 7 February evening performance).
The programme ends with one of the greatest names of twentieth century choreography. Jiří Kylián's Bella Figura is a gem of a work celebrating beauty that comes from even the most bizarre and unexpected movements. Kylián created Bella Figura in 1995 for his 20th anniversary as head of the Nederlands Dans Theater. In it he explores that twilight zone between art and artifice, reality and fantasy. The piece was was first seen at La Scala in 2009.
La Scala's relationship with Kylián began in the 1980s with Symphony in D and La cathédrale engloutie and continued with Symphony of Psalms, Petite Mort, and Sechs Tänze.
With the bright red of the costumes, the colour of bare skin, and the musical flavour of the 17th and 18th centuries (Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Lukas Foss, Alessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Torelli) he captures the moment when dream and reality merge. The opening cast is with Antonella Albano, Alice Mariani, Agnese Di Clemente, Marta Gerani, Giulia Lunardi, Marco Agostino, Claudio Coviello, Gabriele Corrado, and Marco Messina, and they will alternate with Stefania Ballone, Chiara Borgia, Chiara Fiandra, Benedetta Montefiore, Emanuele Cazzato, Andrea Crescenzi, Matteo Gavazzi, and Andrea Risso.
Gallery: Bella Figura
3, 4 (2 perfs.), 5, 7, 9 (2 perfs.) February 2023
Choreography David Dawson
Assistant choreographers Christiane Marchant, Rebecca Gladstone
Music Ezio Bosso
Sets John Otto
Costumes Yumiko Takeshima
Lighting James F. Ingalls
Choreography, sets and costumes Nacho Duato
Assistant choreographer José Carlos Blanco
Music Enrique Granados
Lighting Brad Fields
Takahiro Yoshikawa, piano
Choreography Philippe Kratz
Assistant choreographer Casia Vengoechea
Music Thom Yorke and Radiohead
Sets Carlo Cerri and Philippe Kratz
Costumes Francesco Casarotto
Lighting Carlo Cerri
Video designer Carlo Cerri and OOOPStudio
Choreography Jiří Kylián
Assistant choreographers Lorraine Blouin, Cora Bos Kroese, Stefan Zeromski
Music Lukas Foss, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Alessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Torelli
Sets Jiří Kylián
Costumes Joke Visser
Lighting Jiří Kylián recreated by Kees Tjebbes
Lighting and scenery supervision Joost Biegelaar
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.
Thank you for a most interesting article and what fantastic programmes La Scala is mounting. How I wish I could be there but I hope you will be and give us reviews. Wonderful photographs as well.