Colombian dancer Fernando Montaño, soloist with the Royal Ballet of London, returns to the stage of Bogotá’s Teatro Colon for three performances in a show titled Viaje Barroco set to the Arias of Vivaldi, Pergolesi, and Vinci.
Opening February 1 (7:30pm) and with performances on the 2nd (7:30pm) and 3rd (5pm), this Baroque Journey will be accompanied by four vocalists – Lina López (soprano), Marina Pardo (mezzo-soprano), Damien Pass (baritone), Francesco Vultaggio (bass) – in an opera buffa that covers musical terrain from northern to central Italy. Viaje Barroco – or ‘V’ – as stage director Angelo Smimmo refers to the work, was created to “make people fall in love with baroque music.”
Born in the predominately Afro-Colombian port city of Buenaventura on Colombia’s Pacific coast, Fernando Montaño took his first steps with dance age five, and encouraged by his charitable parents to pursue his “artistic side” (even though his father wanted him to become a footballer), when the family moved to Cali – Colombia’s capital of salsa – he enrolled in a dance academy and went on to earn a scholarship at InColBallet, the country’s official ballet institute. Josefina Méndez, one of the Four Jewels of Cuban Ballet, saw in the teenager a diamond in the rough and took it upon herself to have Montaño audition with the National Ballet School of Cuba. At age 14, Colombia’s “Billy Elliot” left home for Havana.
As an immigrant on foreign shores, from his student years in Cuba to auditioning for the prestigious Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, Fernando Montaño “never really left Colombia,” feeling always a sense of responsibility to open up opportunities for promising talent from vulnerable communities. “Even though I grew up in a poor household in Buenaventura, my family always helped out those who were poorer than us,” states a softly-spoken Fernando of the motivation behind his frequent visits to Colombia, including a three-night performance in 2014 to inaugurate the new Teatro Colón.
And last year, Montaño gave a performance of The Golden Dove at the University of Bath to mark the historic peace treaty signing with FARC in 2016. The performance for the One Young World Bath Conference also offered the chance for audiences to hear about Fernando’s humanitarian work with the charity he founded – Children Change Colombia. The dancer was also recently awarded a Doctorate in Arts from the same university.
Viaje Barroco is an immigrant’s tale remarks Smimmo, the Naples-born choreographer and operatic director. “There are a lot of problems in our world and with a project like this one you need to make the audience laugh. But, when we reflect on what is happening to immigrants around the world, it’s actually not funny at all.”
Montano’s every dance moves will be synchronized to the Musica Amable Ensemble under the baton of Italy’s Piergiorgio Del Nunzio. As director of Accademia Acquaviva, Del Nunzio has revived a treasure trove of rarely played baroque arias as a result of “many hours of research in Florence’s ancient libraries.”
Teatro Colón – Calle 10 No.5-32.
Tickets available at theatre box office or online agents tuboleta.com