Gran Gala di Danza
Gran Gala di Danza unleashes some of the showstoppers and hidden gems of classical ballet on the stage of the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The performance is courtesy of Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s orchestra, étoiles, primi ballerini, soloists and ballet troupe. Dance numbers from across several centuries combine into a celebration of music and motion, underscored by the dancers’ talent and the composers’ keen sense of melody and rhythm.
The evening begins with the grand pas from Paquita, the result of the creative collaboration between composer Ludwig Minkus and master choreographer Marius Petipa. The two took the original ballet composed by Édouard Deldevez and choreographed by Joseph Mazilier in 1846 and reworked it for a production at St Petersburg’s Bolshoi Theatre in 1881. The newly added grand pas from the second act has become Paquita’s calling card ever since.
Next comes The Dying Swan, a four-minute-long piece choreographer Michel Fokine created especially for prima ballerina Anna Pavlova in 1905, set to music by Camille Saint-Saëns. The choreography takes the premise of a dying swan and wraps it in delicate yet memorable movement that is guided by the serenity and beauty of nature itself. A more incendiary contrast comes from the famous pas de deux from Le Corsaire, the 1856 ballet by choreographer Joseph Mazilier with original music by Adolphe Adam, later amended with several composers’ works. One of the most-often performed excerpts in the ballet repertoire, the Le Corsaire pas de deux is based on music by Riccardo Drigo.
Another pas de deux follows, this time from Proust ou les intermittences du coeur and with the music of Gabriel Fauré. The ballet itself was choreographed by Roland Petit in 1974 and features a star cast of composers through its many scenes. Fauré’s pas de deux, however, is the indubitable highlight. Moving deeper into classic territory, the evening then features the mesmerising dance of Odile, the Black Swan from the epic Swan Lake by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The original choreography of Marius Petipa in combination with the emotionally intense score is nothing short of breath-taking. To bring the performance to a worthy climax, Krzystof Pastor’s dance arrangement of the hypnotic Bolero by Maurice Ravel closes the programme. The choreography features a couple of soloists backed by a group of background dancers and matches the music’s slowly rising tension and irresistible crescendo. Gran Gala di Danza at Terme di Caracalla will keep your heart pounding throughout!