Ballet Nice Méditerranée opens its 2022-23 season with Cassandra, choreographer Luciano Cannito’s contemporary take on the legend of the mythological heroine.

Cassandra is based on the novel of the same name by Christa Wolf – the novelist and essayist who is regarded as one of the best-known writers to emerge from East Germany. According to Greek mythology, Cassandra – daughter of Priam, King of Troy – possessed the gift of prophecy, but as she was cursed by the god Apollo, her true prophecies would never be believed. She foretold the dramatic episode of the Trojan horse – which led to the fall of the city of Troy at the hands of Odysseus and his Greek warriors – but she wasn’t taken seriously, and her warnings went unheeded. Wolf’s novel is a reimagining of the Trojan War through Cassandra’s memories and recollections, piecing together the story of the fall of her city.

Luciano Cannito’s ballet is set in a village in Sicily, and revolves around Cassandra’s prediction foretelling the effect of the introduction of television on the village, and the drama which will surely ensue. Because nobody takes her prediction seriously, she is powerless to prevent the village from completely losing its cultural identity. In his interpretation of Cassandra, Cannito has created a work which blends classical ballet and contemporary dance with that of Sicilian folklore. The original score is by Marco Schiavoni, with extracts from the music of Camille Saint-Saëns, Sergei Prokofiev and Elvis Presley.

Luciano Cannito has collaborated with Ballet Nice on several occasions. As a successful dancer, theatre director, artistic director and choreographer, he has led companies such as Balletto di Napoli, the Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari, Balletto di Roma and the Ballet Company of the Teatro San Carlo Opera House in Napoli. His works include Marco Polo, Amarcord, Five Seasons, Mare Nostrum and Barbie’s World, which have been performed at some of the world’s most prestigious theaters and festivals – including La Scala Theatre in Milan, the Lincoln Center in New York, The Opera of Rome, the Place des Artes in Montreal, the National Theatre of Ankara, the Bat Dor Dance Company of Israel, the Olimpico Theatre of Rome, the Teatro Regio of Parma, the National Opera Theatre of Tbilisi, the Estonian National Theatre and the Orange County Performing Center of Los Angeles.

Ballet Nice Méditerranée – directed by Éric Vu An – performs Cannito’s Cassandra at Nice Opera on 9th and 10th September. Tickets may be booked online via this link or by telephone at 04 92 17 40 79. For further information, visit the Opéra Nice website.

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Lead image courtesy Opéra de Nice Côte d’Azur

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