Alberta Ballet Names New Artistic Director
- Press Releases
Alberta Ballet Names Francesco Ventriglia As New Artistic Director
Dec. 21, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CALGARY, AB - Alberta Ballet announced today that Francesco Ventriglia has been selected as the organization’s next artistic director. The appointment concludes an extensive international search, led by Arts Consulting Group.
A choreographer of classical and contemporary ballet, Ventriglia has had works performed internationally by companies such as La Scala Ballet, Arena di Verona, Bolshoi Theatre, the Mariinsky Ballet, Grande Théâtre du Genève, Royal New Zealand Ballet, the National Ballet of Uruguay, and at the Venice Biennale. As Artistic Director of New Zealand Ballet (2014-17), he expanded and mounted The Wizard of Oz, a work regarded as one of the most successful productions created for the company.
Of his appointment to Alberta Ballet, Ventriglia said, “I am thrilled and deeply honoured to join Alberta Ballet as the next Artistic Director. Having come to know this company, I eagerly anticipate collaboration with its remarkably talented artists. I am grateful for this opportunity to bring to fruition some incredible dreams alongside the company, where we can honour the past while crafting an extraordinary future together.”
“The future shines brightly for Alberta Ballet, and I couldn't be more excited to be part of it. I am eager to explore Canada and the remarkable stories that hold a special place in the hearts of Albertans,” he added.
Alberta Ballet Board Chair Heather Rae said, “We are excited to welcome Francesco to Alberta and into our vibrant dance community. Francesco brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and Albertans can look forward to a new chapter with more of Alberta Ballet’s high-quality, inspirational programming.”
Ventriglia will join the company early in January where rehearsals are underway for Alberta Ballet’s March and May performances: Hansel and Gretel, followed by Der Wolf and The Rite of Spring.
Alberta Ballet President & CEO Chris George said, “We’re grateful to everyone who offered their time, insight and expertise to this search process, especially the selection committee and Arts Consulting Group. We look forward to introducing Francesco to all of Alberta Ballet’s partners and supporters throughout the province and around the world.”
Alberta Ballet is one of the oldest resident companies of the Jubilee Auditoria and its standing company of professional dancers attracts talent from around the world. The company performs its mainstage season in Calgary and Edmonton and is proud to fulfill a provincial mandate.
About Alberta Ballet
Alberta Ballet ignites the curiosity and imagination of people in communities across the province, and beyond, by championing their stories and experiences through dance training, creation, and performances. Alberta Ballet develops lasting connections and a passionate following in the province, the country and abroad. Through he originality of its programming and the talent of its classically trained dancers, Alberta Ballet has become a world-class arts organization Albertans are proud to call their own.
Alberta Ballet’s Incoming Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia, Director, Choreographer and Coach
Having graduated from the La Scala Ballet school, Francesco joined the ballet company of La Scala in 1997, making his debut as a soloist in William Forsythe's In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated at La Scala in 1998, and in 1999 was cast as the Bronze Idol by Natalia Makarov in her production of La Bayadère. He danced numerous soloist roles with the company, including that of the Toreador in Roland Petit's Carmen and Quasimodo in Notre Dame de Paris and also works by Balanchine, Ailey, Neumeier, Cranko, Preljocaj, Godani, Kylián and Béjart. Internationally, his performances with La Scala included Hilarion at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and at Covent Garden, opposite Sylvie Guillem in her creation of Giselle.
He began his choreographic career whilst a dancer at La Scala, having created a diverse repertoire for the Ballet School of La Scala, his own company Heliopolis and other freelance works. For Roberto Bolle, he created The Fight (Curia of the Roman Senate in the Imperial Forum); New Year's Concert (La Fenice, Venice, later televised); and The. Myth of the Phoenix (Teatro Smeraldo, Milan)
The Heliopolis Company made its debut at the Venice Biennale in 2007, with a new piece Il Mare in Catena (The Sea in Chains), an investigation of eroticism and physical disability with the original music of Emiliano Palmieri, which was nominated for the Golden Lion. The following year he created a new work Normale, which explored the concept of love and mental health: with these two titles Francesco curated a diptych as an investigation of differences present in modern society. Also in 2007, he created Midsummer Night's Dream, and Jago, the honest poetry of deception, for the Arena di Verona, with étoile of the Opéra National de Paris, Eleonora Abbagnato and Alessandro Riga. His pas de deux, Black has been performed at the Bolshoi Theatre by Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev (2008) and in New York by Irina Dvororenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. In 2008 for the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg he created Contraddizioni for Ulyana Lopatkina. In 2009 he created a new work specifically for Svetlana Zakharova titled SuperGame which is a multimedia collaboration for the prima ballerina and six principal dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet. Additionally, his works included Immemoria, a work for 40 dancers to music by Shostakovich, premiering at La Scala in May 2010, and Sed lux permanent – Transit umbra, to music by Schoenberg, for the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Between 2007 and 2012, Francesco and Emiliano Palmieri collaborated on four creations: Il Mare in Catene, Normale, Pinocchio and Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory.
In October 2010 he was appointed director of MaggioDanza in Florence, Italy.
In 2014, for Anna Antonickeva and Andrey Merkuriev (Principals of the Bolshoi Theatre) he created the evening Fortuna vis Lucem: Bolero and Carmina Burana, performed with the New Ballet RU of Moscow, in tour across Russia and Cannes.
Francesco was appointed as the Royal New Zealand Ballet's Artistic Director in November 2014. In 2015 he led the company on an international tour (The UK and Italy). Additionally, he increased the repertoire of the Company, introducing never before performed choreographers to New Zealand audiences such as Andonis Foniadakis,
Alexander Ekman and Roland Petit. In 2016 he created a newly staged, longer version of his work Wizard of Oz, touring across New Zealand.