02 Feb Re-staging Cantata: Relatable, Relevant, and Resonating
We caught up with Vincenzo Capezzuto at our Open Rehearsal of Mauro Bigonzetti’s ‘Cantata,’ and found out why this sought after and internationally loved piece of repertoire is bound to relate to, resonate with, and be cherished by, a Maltese audience. A Mediterranean work to its core, having this work in our National Dance Company’s repertoire “is a gift.”
Cantata is absolutely steeped in Mediterranean culture. Mauro very much feels the groove, the spirit, the theatrical elements of Southern Italian or Mediterranean culture. It’s in his blood, in his DNA. The rest of the world loves it regardless of where they are from or where it is being re-staged, as there is something that goes beyond barriers. Perhaps it’s his style which is so physical and communicative, or perhaps it’s the music which is so powerful. It is often the tendency of ballet and contemporary works to feel quite distant from their audience, cold, or a bit abstract…Cantata is just a wave of energy.
This piece will resonate very well with a Maltese audience because of the Mediterranean cultures, music, and flavours. As people, we are very expressive, emotional, and instinctive...it's as familiar as a pizza, or a very Mediterranean salad!
‘Cantata’ was originally created in 2001 for the Ballet Gulbenkian ballet, a Portuguese company, and one of the greatest companies in the world at that time. There are some great works by choreographers that after 25, 30 years, they still have something fresh, a relevance. I can relate personally to this piece as someone from the south of Italy; if I go through the streets of Naples, I can see these gestures, I can hear this music. Of course, here they are amplified because it’s choreography.
I see so much relevance still in this piece today; the themes still feel fresh. We see such a play of power in the women, especially for example the strength of the ‘Girasole’ solo, which is immediately followed by a duet where we see pain, struggle, vulnerability, and inner conflict. These are all things we can really relate to - Brenda lee Grech, Ballet Master
I have danced this work many times, like Paolo [Mangiola] has, -as we were colleagues in Aterballetto- and we have seen many people dancing it. We have a lot of information to give the dancers from that experience, as well as from from Mauro [Bigonzetti] too, which as an assistant choreographer or re-stager is important in order to transfer it to the dancers. When you are working with different human beings all the time, you also see their reaction to the work and adapt it to their skills. This is what Mauro Bigonzetti would do as a choreographer. Mauro has this powerful charisma, where he can really put dancers in a place of confidence: it’s like he makes a scan of you, and knows exactly what you are capable of, and what you can do better. I try to do the same. It’s different every time of course, but from my own experience as a dancer, I know what they need… and where to draw the line, which is perhaps more tough. It’s always a surprise, and until now, it has been a beautiful surprise.
Mauro has this powerful charisma, where he can really put dancers in a place of confidence: it’s like he makes a scan of you, and knows exactly what you are capable of, and what you can do better.
Having this work is a gift, a gift for the community. Cantata belonged to the repertoire of Mauro, but it is internationally acknowledged as an a very important piece of repertoire. We don’t just have incredible Ballet companies performing it…La Scala, Milano, Hannover…there is also the Etoile from the best companies who take parts to perform at galas and events all over the world. Many companies approach Mauro for this work, but it’s a very difficult work so it depends on the level of the company.
All the music in Cantata is from the South of Italy, performed by Assurd, and is the traditional type of music that is still played and danced in the streets. In Italy we have the ‘Notte della Taranta’ (Night of the Tarantula), where all these tarantellas are performed. The Pizzica for example is very famous. There is also a tammurriata; it’s very hypnotic, with a large, strong tambourine, and there are these four voices which intertwine. It’s beautiful…all these pieces of music from the family of Tarantella, and originating from Calabria, Campania, Puglia, Sicily…
For audience and artist alike…
As a dancer, this work changes something in you. They [the dancers] won’t realise it yet, because they are thinking and learning with their brain still in charge, but after they have performed it, they will know. This work is special. As an artist it changes you; it leaves something with you.
Don’t miss the incredible ‘Cantata,’ which makes up half of our ŻfinDays Double Bill! Juxtaposed with Ambra Senatore’s genius ‘Aringa Rossa .10, ŻfinDays 2024 will be an unmissable performance.