La Scala’s Director Steps Down After Eight Months

Recently, Europe has seen its fair share of ballet-related drama. From Benjamin Millepied’s sudden departure from Paris Opéra Ballet to the turbulent shift in directors at Staatsballett Berlin, several companies have undergone big changes this year.

Now, after only eight months in the position, La Scala Ballet’s artistic director, Mauro Bigonzetti, has announced his resignation. His reason for leaving is a severe back injury that he’s had since the summer, though there has already been some speculation that other reasons may be at play as well.

La Scala Ballet dancers in Bigonzetti’s Cinderella. Photo by Marco Brescia and Rudy Amisano courtesy Teatro alla Scala.
La Scala Ballet dancers in Bigonzetti’s Cinderella. Photo by Marco Brescia and Rudy Amisano courtesy Teatro alla Scala.

Before taking the position at La Scala, Bigonzetti directed the Italian contemporary ballet company Aterballetto, and he has choreographed for prominent companies around the world. To some, his appointment as artistic director was controversial from the start—his more contemporary background seemed an odd fit for La Scala, traditionally a very classical company. During his tenure, there were reports of strain between him and the dancers over repertory choices, and he was notably absent from a recent tour to China and Japan.

A new director hasn’t been chosen yet, but Fréderic Olivieri, who currently runs the company’s school, will take over as interim director until February 2017. As they go through this transition, we’ll be keeping our eyes out to see what’s in store for the company next.
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