“So… where were we?”
“Reading contemporary reports on the life of Gioachino Rossini, written by other great composers, in particular Beethoven, piqued my interest in exploring the psychological side of Rossini the man.
Mazzini described him as “an audacious powerhouse, the Napoleon of the music scene”. Wagner said that “he was the first, real, great, venerable man I met in the world of music”.
Such a powerful and unique character, who composed the Barber of Seville on just 13 days, literally filled my mind with ideas, images, symbols and settings. Rather than being linked to any of the composer’s individual works, they give an overview of his world, a journey of discovery to catch a glimpse of Rossini’s rich aural landscape. I was transported by the sheer potency of his music and in that fleeting moment I felt as if I knew him.
Rossini was largely ignored at a time when audiences still yearned for productions destined for instant consumption, reflecting the aspirations of a society going through a transformation – productions which in some way exuded a sense of realism. Today, however, audiences are less drawn by contemporary productions and mainly go to the theatre for both an aesthetic and cultural escape from daily life. It could certainly be argued that Rossini’s aesthetic ideals – in search of the sublime – are in perfect harmony with the “anti-realism” sought by modern audiences.
With this in mind, I read the story of this extraordinary composer who suddenly disappeared from the scene…as if he had left a discussion and then returned saying… “So where were we?” Spellbound is embarking on a dreamlike journey made up of many memories, settings and characters which tell the story of men – alone, joyful, sad and brave. The characters live, create, flow back and forth, inhabiting an emblematic and mysterious structure which is none other than the great archive, the secret house of a Rossini who conserved, catalogued and collected his magic, his food, his loves. A house which blends the flavours and colours of an eventful life that, while not short of problems and fears, and marked by a long illness, was exhilarating, sensual and carnal. It was a life lived to the full. Without warning, Rossini vanished…but when he returned, his sharp wit, characterised by his creativity and his boundless energy, never failed to captivate onlookers. ROSSINI OUVERTURES is Spellbound Contemporary Ballet’s way of paying tribute to this wonderful artist”.
Choreography and direction Mauro Astolfi
Music Gioachino Rossini
Assistant choreography Alessandra Chirulli
Lighting Marco Policastro
A Spellbound production with a special contribution from MIBACT
in collaboration with Amat/Teatro Rossini di Pesaro
Preview for schools, Roma, Teatro Biblioteca Quarticciolo, 22 February 2017
World première, Teatro Rossini di Pesaro, 25 February 2017