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Noverre en Italie

Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), un artiste européen au siècle des Lumières
José Sasportes
Venise, La Danza Italiana
In the middle of 1774, Noverre changed roles with Gaspare Angiolini. The former became choreographer at the Regio Ducal Teatro in Milan, where he replaced Angiolini, while the Italian took his place in Vienna. This simple exchange between two main cities of the Habsburg Empire signifies that they were seen by the contemporaries as equals, though they saw themselves as rivals, aiming to surpass each other in the eyes of their patrons. This rivalry is well documented in a considerable amount of pamphlets and letters by the choreographers themselves and by their supporters. This being the case, the sojourn of Noverre in Milan from July 1774 to January 1776 wasn’t an easy one, since many of the Milanese had a particular feeling for Angiolini, but neither him was very successful in Vienna. Noverre produced a considerable number of ballets and wrote programs not only to expose the content of his pieces but also to illustrate his aesthetic ideas. The writings by Noverre and his friends and foes offer a unique perspective of the reception of Ballet in Northern Italy in the last quarter of the 18th century. Feelings were strongly expressed and the involvement of the public gives evidence of the central part played by dance in the cultural life of this period.