Angelin Preljocaj is a dancer and choreographer whose fame precedes him. An avid scholar of classical ballet, his own style is decidedly contemporary. He looks back on over two decades of ground-breaking, soul-shaking modern ballet spectacles, carefully crafted in his unique approach to movement on stage. Serata Preljocaj at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in Rome provides a fantastic opportunity to see two characteristic works of his performed back to back.
Preljocaj’s knack for combining the modern with the classical and the sacred with the earthly and profane is laid bare in his famous modern ballet production ‘Annonciation’. The work received a coveted New York Dance and Performance Award, commonly known as ‘Bessie Award’, in 1997. It is a mystical and sensual interpretation of one of Christianity’s most fabled tales: the angel appearing to the Virgin Mary to bring her the news that she will bear the Son of God. Never one to shy away from challenging dogma and ruffling puritan feathers, Preljocaj casts a female dancer in the angel’s role, opening the doors to a whole new range of dramatic and sensual interaction between the two lead characters. ‘Annonciation’ combines tradition and modernity through its score as well, including Antonio Vivaldi’s sacred classic Magnificat in g-minor and modern electric composer Stéphane Roy’s Crystal Music as counterpoint.
On the heels of this classic comes ‘Nuit Romaine’, a ballet performance Preljocaj created more recently. It is a rare delight to see how the Eternal City has inspired the legendary French choreographer’s creative vision, and the results will be on display at Teatro Costanzi this season. The bold choreography is backed by an all-star cast of classical composers, including Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Gioachino Rossini, Richard Wagner, Franz Schubert, and Johann Sebastian Bach as well as contemporary Hungarian composer György Ligeti. Serata Preljocaj is a brilliant showcase of the choreographer in his middle and late period, and lovers of modern dance will definitely appreciate the evening’s rich programme.