The Ballet del Colón, directed by Mario Galizzi, staged this past Sunday 28, a complete evening work that is also an absolute premiere for the company: Caravaggio, by the Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti.
From Bigonzetti we met last year Cantata, mounted with the Contemporary Ballet of San Martín, which had a very festive and celebratory character and was inspired by music and rituals, full of life, from southern Italy. .
Nothing more alien to Caravaggio, based on Michelangelo Caravaggio, a fundamental figure in the history of Western painting, who was born in Milan in 1571 and died in Porto Ercole, in the region of Tuscany, in 1610. Caravaggio's real name was Michelangelo Merisi and the nickname came from a village in Lombardy where his family was from.
Roberto Bolle and Maria Khoreva, two international stars for the premiere of "Caravaggio". Press Photo Teatro Colón/Máximo Parpagnoli
His life was relatively brief, was crossed by dramatic events and ended in a strange way on which different assumptions weigh.
Life, enigmas and ballet
To speak of Bigonzetti's ballet it is necessary to refer to that life, of which in reality many more enigmas persist than only those of his death.
Caravaggio was an extraordinary painter who took the chiaroscuro technique to an unprecedented level; a good part of his work is linked to religious scenes and characters and was protected by people of the Church, mainly by the powerful Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte.
His paintings began to be acquired by bankers, financiers and aristocrats and his fame grew very quickly. But on the other hand he had the reputation of a quarrelsome and violent man, who frequented the most marginal environments of the city of Rome.
In 1606 he was forced into exile for an alleged criminal episode and died four years later after changing residence several times.
Mauro Bigonzetti began his project of creating a work inspired by Caravaggio knowing that he did not want to tell his life journey or represent his paintings. He then resorted to symbolic figures: in different relationships with the painter appear The Light, The Shadow, The Beauty and two male figures identified as Soloist 1 (possibly a lover of Caravaggio) and Soloist 2, whose role is rather enigmatic.
Maria Khoreva and Roberto Bolle, in "Caravaggio", the work of Mauro Bigonzetti. Press Photo Teatro Colón/Máximo Parpagnoli
On the other hand there are two friends of the painter, who play buffoonish roles, and a chiromantic who joins them.
Finally there is the corps de ballet, perhaps trying to show the world in which Caravaggio moved, populated by swordsmen, musicians and prostitutes; But these collective scenes are armed with very exact designs, very neat, and so the idea of the party and the excesses – if that is what it is – vanishes.
A corps de ballet to highlight
The choreographer took care of the elaboration of the duets and trios that occupy part of the first act and the entire second; And it is in these moments when the work reaches its fullest states.
It is true that Bigonzetti does not give a metaphorical place, except in some brief passages, to that darkness and darkness that surrounded the life of the painter. And it is perhaps for this reason that the way of representing Caravaggio has less force than that of the symbolic characters.
Roberto Bolle, an Italian dancer with an extensive and important international career, seemed to be testing the possibilities of his character Caravaggio in the first part, but then he asserted himself in the second.
The Russian Maria Khoreva, first figure of the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburg, was sublime from beginning to end as The Light: very delicate, with a subtle technique, she danced as if she breathed each passage of the choreography.
Maria Khoreva, The Russian dancer represented The Light in "Caravaggio". Press Photo Teatro Colón/Máximo Parpagnoli
But also the dancers of the company of the Colón interpreted magnificently their roles: Ayelén Sánchez, the Shadow, and Camila Bocca, the Beauty. All his scenes were beautiful and very committed danced. Excellent also Nahuel Prozzi (Soloist 1, in a very difficult duet with Bolle), and Jiva Velázquez as the Soloist 2.
It is also necessary to highlight Emanuel Abruzzo and Emiliano Falcone, great as the buffoonish friends of Caravaggio, and Lola Mugica, as the vivacious chiromantic.
And although the dance corps had a more indeterminate role, that did not stop them from giving their body and soul to what they did.
Either by the Ballet del Colón, or by this company.
Rating: Very good
Choreography: Mauro Bigonzetti Music: Bruno Moretti Guest dancers: Maria Khoreva and Roberto Bolle Ballet: Teatro Colón Director: Mario Galizzi