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RNZB appoints new Artistic Director

RNZB appoints new Artistic Director and announces 2015 programme

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is delighted to announce the appointment of 36 year old Italian Francesco Ventriglia as the company’s new artistic director.

Francesco Ventriglia was appointed after an extensive international recruitment process. “The calibre of applicants was extremely high,” says RNZB Chair Candis Craven. “Francesco greatly impressed the board with the breadth of his artistic vision, his intellect, his knowledge of repertoire, and his great energy. He has a strong track record of nurturing talented young dancers and choreographers, and we believe he is the perfect fit to lead New Zealand’s national ballet company.”

Francesco Ventriglia trained at the Ballet School of La Scala, Milan, joining the world-renowned ballet company of La Scala in 1997. During his dancing career he performed solo and principal roles in a wide range of repertoire including the Bronze Idol in Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadère, and Hilarion to Sylvie Guillem’s Giselle at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and at Covent Garden. As a choreographer, he has created works for leading dancers including Roberto Bolle, Ulyana Lopatkina and Svetlana Zakharova, and for prestigious venues including the Arena di Verona, the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and the Venice Biennale, among others.

After retiring from the stage, at the age of 31, Francesco Ventriglia was appointed Director of MaggioDanza (Opera Dance Theatre) in Florence, Italy, in 2010. He guided the company to new success on the international stage, substantially increasing the number of performances at home and abroad, investing in education programmes, commissioning new works from Italian and international choreographers, and received acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

“Being nominated as the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s new Artistic Director is a honour that I take on with a deep emotion and great sense of responsibility, commitment and humility. I am very excited.” says Francesco Ventriglia.

“I want to say a big thank you to the Board of the Royal New Zealand Ballet for their trust, and to Ethan Stiefel for his amazing work, which I would like to continue to reach more and more important results for the company and its artists.”

Francesco Ventriglia will take up his appointment as the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 11th Artistic Director in November 2014, joining the company during The Vodafone Season of A Christmas Carol which opens in Wellington on 30 October and closes in Auckland on 14 December.

Francesco Ventriglia will oversee the RNZB’s 2015 programme, a ‘year of great stories’ which will encompass two major full-length works inspired by great literature, together with a mixed programme of contemporary works motivated by stories of New Zealand at war. The year begins with a national tour of Don Quixote in the popular staging by Gary Harris first seen in 2008. The company will commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in Salute, a major collaboration with the New Zealand Army Band including new works from Neil Ieremia, taking his cue from the Battle of Passchendaele and a score composed by Warrant Officer Dwayne Bloomfield; and Andrew Simmons, working with a specially commissioned score by Gareth Farr. The RNZB’s domestic season will conclude with an artistic coup: The Vodafone Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a world premiere from exciting young British choreographer Liam Scarlett in his first major full length commission for a company outside the United Kingdom. The RNZB’s year will end with a return to the UK, performing classical and contemporary works, including Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg’s acclaimed Giselle, at leading venues in England and Scotland.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is pleased to acknowledge substantial funding from central government through the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Te Manatū Taonga, together with an exceptional partnership with National Sponsor Vodafone. The RNZB gratefully acknowledges the significant contributions made by many other organisations and individuals, especially Pub Charity, the ASB Community Trust, TV3, Mediaworks Radio and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, for support of Salute through the Lottery World War One Commemorations Fund. The work of RNZB Education throughout New Zealand is supported by the Lion Foundation and through the generosity of the Les and Sonia Andrews Cultural Foundation.

ENDS

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