23 Dec 2015

Daniele Finzi Pasca on the Art of Circus

From Nine To Noon, 10:07 am on 23 December 2015

When it comes to pulling off a spectacle, Daniele Finzi Pasca, is a master, with a special knack for letting the audience's imagination run wild.  

His shows range from productions of the English National Opera, to Cirque du Soleil, to orchestrating Olympic closing ceremonies in Italy and Russia.

In his latest venture he's bringing a surreal circus to Wellington's Opera House in March next year, with a dazzling show called La Verita, complete with acrobats, jugglers and ladders suspended in empty space.

And if that weren't enough, the backdrop to it all is one of Salvador Dali's recently rediscovered paintings.

Mr Finzi Pasca told Nine To Noon that he loves the liberating power of the dream, which "mean a lot of things".

"Dreams can help sometimes to do a journey inside of us, to find the energy that can give us the power to resolve some problems, some questions," Mr Finzi Pasca said.

"Sometimes we need dreams to see if it's possible, we need the dreamer that can eventually create new strategy for a new world, try to find a solution to be together in a form (that's) much more fair, so dreams mean a lot of things (that are) very concrete, sometimes."

Their company is "a strange group of friends that grew up in a small village in Switzerland" who research theatre with a "social idea as the key question and still now we continue to work in this way, try to find elements that help to understand us, to understand the present".

One of the company's projects in India used theatre to try to help children who had lost everything - their families, their homes.

"I think that theatre is, we have a form to explain us into life. Humans tell stories. And the stories can help to find a way sometimes to come out from the dark moments, telling stories is also a form to heal the people, I think," Mr Finzi Pasca said.

Dali created the painting used in the production in 1944, painting it on a 9x10 metre curtain as a backdrop for a ballet production of New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Mad Tristan by Salvador Dali

Mad Tristan by Salvador Dali Photo: Salvador Dali / Compagnia Finzi Pasca

"Dali was absolutely in love with Wagner (and his opera Tristan und Isolde). He created an image that was full of power, full of nightmares in some form. So we accepted to dance with this strange image, to try to find a form to speak about the life of Dali, to speak about some contradictions of creation - what is true, what is not true."

In October 2012, Daniele was awarded the 2012 Hans Reinhart Ring, the highest distinction of Swiss theatre, in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the performing arts.

La Verita is coming to Wellington's Opera House over six nights in March next year, as part of the New Zealand Festival.

Listen to Daniele Finzi Pasca on Nine to Noon: