The New York City Ballet has sent the house conductor Clotilde Otranto to Paris, London, Tokyo and Shanghai. Last February, it sent her on her longest trip: back to Naples.
The former house conductor of the Naples Philharmonic still lives here today with her husband Armando. But she commutes between Florida and New York, where she has been the only full-time conductor at Lincoln Center since 2008, who dedicates herself to the repertoire and the company of the most famous ballet organization in the USA
When the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the city in February 2020, Otranto returned here, hoping, like everyone else in the company, to return by last fall. In July ballet staff, including Otranto, were given leave of absence. There would be no live gala, and worse, no “Nutcracker”.
In September she could no longer justify the cost of an apartment. She returned to New York to empty it.
“We gave things away,” she complained. “Nobody bought anything.”
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It was a long winter for Otranto, who had to save their scores, most of them music for legendary George Balanchine works such as “Jewels,” which won awards for top dancers such as Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto.
After touring the world with the New York City Ballet, in Naples she wondered: when would they bring people back? How many people would they bring back?
In the last two weeks she got the answer she was hoping for: She should get in touch in September. And Otranto has received a boost in sentiment: the ballet is offering an archived digital season to keep dance lovers connected, and its final streaming show begins on Thursday – “Vienna Waltzes,” directed by Otranto.
NDN BACK TO BALLET
The work is one of the most elaborate of the company, at times brings 50 dancers on stage and moves from a forest ravine to a dance hall to a classy social café to a finale in a sparkling ballroom. (Details on streaming can be found in the enclosed information box.)
Created in 1977 and set to waltzes by Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár and Richard Strauss, it is only performed by the New York City Ballet, where it was composed by Balanchine. The production that the audience will see is from 2013, but it is a reminder to the conductor that there will be dancing in New York in 2021.
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Otranto had an invitation to conduct for the Hong Kong Ballet while on vacation. But the restrictions were so draconian that it withdrew.
“Your quarantine is 21 days,” she recalls. “You live in a hotel and they put the food in front of the door. You can’t even come into the room to move something. You do everything. ”That too is at the expense of the traveler.
The political upheaval also made them suspicious. Otranto wanted to return to the US as soon as operations resumed in New York. She is happy not to be exposed to the stress. And she is even happy that she may have to start looking for a new apartment: “I’ll just start over.”
“I’m excited and just waiting to find out what my repertoire will be,” she said. “My scores are all there and waiting for me.”
Harriet Howard Heithaus reports on arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News / naplesnews.com. You can reach them at 239-213-6091.
What: The complete 2013 performance of George Balanchine’s “Vienna Waltzes”, the finale of the New York City Ballet’s 2021 digital season
Where: Available on nycballet.com and its YouTube channel (nycballet)
When: Start at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 3, until 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17 pm