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Can you produce and make a ballet performance work, during these times of social distancing, on a 1,500-square-foot stage? It is a difficult challenge. Teatro dell'Opera di Roma made a bet on it and the results are appreciable.
After Rigoletto - read Once Upon a Time in Mantua, 18 July 2020 - and a concert version of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Rome Opera House summer season at Circus Maximus continued with the premiere of a new ballet. On 25 July 2020 I experienced the first performance of Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) signed by Giuliano Peparini and using Antonio Vivaldi's score, integrated with music by Domenico Scarlatti and with Les Feuilles Mortes by Jacques Prevert with the voice of Yves Montant.
Teatro dell'Opera orchestra's recorded music was arranged for a symphonic ensemble. Vincenzo Bolognese was the violin soloist. Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in F minor, K 466, was performed at the piano by Antonio Maria Pergolizzi. The sets and costumes, based on an essential linearity, were signed by Andrea Miglio and Anna Biagiotti respectively. The lighting by Marco Vignanelli and the videos by Edmondo Angelelli were quite important.
In his third production for the Teatro dell'Opera ballet company, Peparini told the natural cycle of the 'seasons' of the couple - from the first glances that cross with modesty: Spring, to the fires of passion: Summer and their progressive shutdown: Autumn, up to the frost of relations: Winter. Around the main couples, one for each season, is the corps de ballet that danced in accordance with mandatory safety standards. Alessandro Preziosi's voice acted as an interlude and narrator between seasons.
Rebecca Bianchi and Claudio Cocino were the couple of Spring.
Marianna Suriano and Giacomo Castellana danced that of Summer.
Susanna Salvi and Michele Satriano danced Autumn and finally Sara Loro and Alessio Rezza represented Winter.
These couples intertwine their feelings in the four seasons; only at two short moments do two pairs touch each other; otherwise they show their feelings (even openly erotic) without any touching.
Health and safety constraints have become opportunities to find new solutions to choreography. The stage of the Teatro dell'Opera (where the ballet was prepared and rehearsed) has turned into a ballroom, available to the classes of up to ten people spaced, under the watchful eye of the Director of the ballet company. 'Of the five years of work here', says Eleonora Abbagnato, who leads the Teatro dell'Opera ballet company, 'this was perhaps the most important moment for me, to have the corps de ballet fit and start again with a new creation that will certainly remain in history. It is a great signal and an honour for all of us.'
The challenge was successful and the ballet is, without a doubt, captivating. At the 25 July premiere it garnered the favours of the audience. The choreographic ensemble - about sixty dancers were on stage in the Autumn section - is quite impressive. The mobile sets are very beautiful videos. I would have done without the actor's voice since the music and dance are sufficiently eloquent.
Copyright © 27 July 2020
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