After almost three years with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia has decided to end his contract with the national ballet company in mid-2017.
Francesco will stay on as Artistic Director until June next year and will then take on a new role with the company as guest choreographer to complete the creation of RNZB’s Romeo and Juliet. The premiere of this new ballet will take place on 16 August in Wellington, after which time Francesco will regrettably depart to pursue international opportunities.
RNZB’s Chair, Candis Craven says: “Francesco has made a significant contribution to the RNZB since his appointment in 2014. He has continued to grow the RNZB as an artistic force, and we are all looking forward to the world class productions he has programmed for 2017, including four New Zealand premieres and the world premiere of his own Romeo and Juliet. We are saddened that he will end his contract with the RNZB but glad that he will continue to be a part of the RNZB’s extended family.”
Francesco Ventriglia says: “The RNZB will always have a special place in my heart and I am very proud of what we have created together and the new choreographers and repertoire we have introduced to New Zealanders. I think New Zealand is a wonderful country and will look back on the three years I will have spent here with fondness. While I can see other opportunities on the horizon, for the immediate future I’m excited to be bringing you next year’s productions and making plans for the 2018 season.”
During Francesco Ventriglia’s tenure as Artistic Director the RNZB has enjoyed success both in New Zealand and internationally, with highlights including the world premiere of Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, tours to the UK, Italy and Hong Kong and the New Zealand premieres of works by landmark European choreographers William Forsythe, Alexander Ekman and Andonis Foniadakis. His own production of The Wizard of Oz was the RNZB’s biggest tour of 2016. 2017 will see the New Zealand premieres of works by Roland Petit, acclaimed as France’s greatest choreographer. Francesco has also invested in supporting choreographers from within the company, with the establishment of the Harry Haythorne Award in 2015, and has fostered ties with the New Zealand School of Dance, now the RNZB’s Official School. RNZB dancers have also enjoyed individual success on the international stage, guesting with companies including Scottish Ballet, The Australian Ballet and the National Ballet of Greece.
The company is currently busy putting the finishing touches on the special limited Wellington only revival of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which runs for 4 performances from 25 – 27 November.
An international search will begin shortly for a new Artistic Director and a successor to Francesco will be announced in due course.