Various leading dancers from one of Spain’s most prestigious dance theatres lit up the stage of Dubai Opera on the 6-7 January 2023, as they premiered a new contemporary ballet production, A Thousand Tales, with direction and choreography from Francesco Ventriglia and music by Alexey Shor.
The UAE’s majestic Dubai Opera hosted the world premiere of an exciting new ballet that merged old-school style with contemporary tastes and talent. A Thousand Tales took audiences on a magical journey inspired by a myriad of seminal literary works, including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Aladdin, Puss in Boots, The Three Musketeers, and many more.
Fronted by three internationally-acclaimed members of Spain’s Compania Nacional de Madrid, namely Mario Galindo, Alessandro Riga, and Giada Rossi, the ballet followed the White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as he embarked upon a quest through a variety of fairy tale worlds in an attempt to discover the true owner of a mysterious golden shoe left behind by an unknown woman at a spectacular ball organised by the Prince from Cinderella.
Galindo, Riga, and Rossi, joined by fellow Principal Dancers Alessandro Staiano, Chiara Amirante, Susanna Salvi, and Alessio Rezza, as well as a corps de ballet hailing from Uruguay’s Ballet Nacional de Sodre, dazzled audiences throughout the two performances, presenting a number of dances which were prepared together with the production’s famed Italian choreographer Francesco Ventriglia, who was also responsible for putting the whole show together.
‘We’re a really great team artistically, and it’s been so much fun,’ Alessandro Riga said. ‘I know almost everybody here, and it was great to get back with Francesco and work together. He can really put the choreography on me like a dress, making sure that it fits me, and I think this is what he did with each one of us. The music is absolutely great as well I think. There are a lot of great pieces and it gives the vibes of a really classical ballet, even though you know and you sense this really kind of modern vibe, but it’s still a really classical sound, and it’s full of energy so it really works for the ballet, it just fits perfectly.’
The music for the ballet that Riga is referring to is the creation of the celebrated contemporary composer Alexey Shor, who penned a number of tonal and evocative compositions that formed the beating heart of the production, painting an acoustic image of each character and laying out the ballet’s various moods and themes whilst captivating listeners with its melodic qualities.
‘It’s been such a fantastic production,’ commented Roberta Guidi di Bagno, the Set and Costume Designer for the ballet. ‘I’ve had a lot of fun discovering the fabulous work of Alexey Shor, whose music is just stunning; it’s ageless, his music, you can listen to it again and again, it really touches my soul, and we were all very much involved and inspired by it. And the organisers and production team have been absolutely wonderful, I’ve really loved the collaboration between us.’
Joining Ventriglia, Shor, and Guidi di Bagno on the production team was Lighting Designer Valerio Tiberi, who helped to create the mystical world of the ballet and immerse audiences into the fantasy realm unfolding on stage through more than 21 original different moods and themes used during the show.
‘We’ve really had a wonderful experience with this production,’ remarked Giada Rossi. ‘The whole team has been amazing to work with, the stage and choreography is extremely beautiful, and the music of Alexey Shor just fits the characters so perfectly, it’s their spirit in music, so it feels wonderful to dance them.’
The efforts of Galindo, Riga, and Rossi and all their colleagues on stage were widely applauded by the audiences who packed the venue on both evenings, with many enthusiastically expressing their admiration long after the curtain had come down. Comprising an eclectic mix of individuals from across the Middle East and beyond, the unanimous appeal of the evening’s proceedings showcased culture’s unmatched ability to build bridges across international communities and bring people together.
As Ventriglia himself observed: ‘This production is quite a global one. I’ve worked on it in South America, in Madrid, in Rome, in Naples, and then we have these incredible artists all coming from around the world so that we put it together here in Dubai. It was amazing. I am so happy to have been able to create a new work based on such a magical music score by Alexey Shor, and really thankful to have been given such an incredible opportunity, first of all, to create a classical ballet in 2023, and also to bring these kind of cultural events and present them in this part of the world. A big thank you to the organisers who decided to invest a lot of time, money and effort in this, because it will help give ballet a long life.’
Following its successful premiere, A Thousand Tales will now soon be embarking on a global tour with multiple performances planned to take place across Europe, America, the Middle East and beyond. For more information about the ballet, and all the latest information about upcoming tour dates, make sure to visit the official website at balletindubai.com.