Lugi Di Scala
The Teatro di San Carlo is the oldest of the Italian theaters. It was built in 1737 by King Charles of Bourbon (41 years before La Scala, 51 years before the Phoenix), considered "the most beautiful in the world" (Stendhal) for the splendor of its main hall, it has acquired a prominent place in the history of Music over the centuries, contributing to the formation of the Italian opera, from the eighteenth-century ‘opera seria’ to the nineteenth-century romantic melodrama. However, San Carlo has also made a decisive contribution to the art of dance. Even before the opening of the new theater, including the provisions of King Charles of Bourbon on show in the royal theaters, there was the limited use of the ‘comic intermezzo’ that traditionally superseded the acts of ‘opera seria’ for tradition, replacing it with a choreographic action that resumed the themes of the opera that was presented. With the opening of San Carlo the custom was maintained and expanded tocomplete performances of dancing, so that a "Neapolitan school" of this art could rapidly develop and establish itself hand in hand with the fame that the Theatre acquired in Europe. The first famous choreographer of the Teatro di San Car was Gaetano Grossetesta, author of the three dances that accompanied, on the 4th November 1737, the opera of the opening of the Theatre , Achille in Sciro by Domenico Sarro: one was performed before the beginning of the opera, the second during the break and the third after the conclusion (the titles were: Marinai e Zingari, Quattro Stagioni, I Credenzieri). According to the custom of the time, the figure of the choreographer coincided with that of the composer and Grossetesta, who remained active at San Carlo for about 30 years, composed all the music of their regular ballet. This tradition was interrupted by Salvatore Viganò. Viganò, born in Naples, highly active at San Carlo in Naples, and for long periods, also in the theaters of the major capitals (Paris, Vienna, London), is one of the key characters in the history of European Dance, having initiated and imposed the dramatic evolution of the show dance, that thanks to him, arrive at the ‘balletto d’azione’, and then to ‘coreodramma’. He should be mentioned with other famous choreographers and dancers trained at San Carlo in Naples: Carlo Le Picq, Gaetano Gioia, Antonio Guerra e Carlo Blasis, who with his wife Annunziata Ramazzini was called to teach in the early days of the Moscow Bolshoi School. Among the dancers were Amelia Brugnoli, Fanny Cerrito, Fanny Elssler, also presents at the San Carlo in many seasons, and Maria Taglioni who formed the most legendary trio of French romantic ballet dancers. Among the choreographers should also be noted Salvatore Taglioni, Maria’s uncle, who was director of dance at the Teatro di San Carlo from 1817 to 1860, and among the dancers, Carlotta Grisi and Elisa Vaquemoulin. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, dance at Teatro di San Carlo underwent the changing tastes of society and overcame the esthetic crisis of Romanticism without seeking its own identity, but trusting to the national fashion, moreover respectable, of Manzotti’s festive ‘heavy weights’, includingBallo Excelsior and Pietro Micca. Nonetheless it expresses an international ‘star’ in Ettorina Mazzucchelli. At the end of the war the Company of the Teatro di San Carlo gradually established its place by hosting the greatest soloists of our time, from Margot Fonteyn to Carla Fracci and Ekaterina Maximova, from Rudolf Nureyev to Vladimir Vassiliev, to whom the choreography of many performances have been entrusted. The contribution of Roland Petit has been significant in recent years and we fondly remember Il pipistrello and Duke Ellington Ballet. Following on from Luciano Cannito, Elizabeth Terabust, Anna Razzi, Giuseppe Carbone, Alessandra Panzavolta and Lienz Chang. The new director is Giuseppe Picone.