FinziPascaDaniele Finzi Pasca

(Lugano, Switzerland)
Director, author, choreographer and clown.
Cofounder of Compagnia Finzi Pasca

Daniele Finzi Pasca grows up in a family of photographers, in his father’s darkroom, also used by his grandfather and great-grandfather before him. Daniele is introduced to the circus world through gymnastics; later, under the guidance of a clown named Fery, he sets foot on stage for the first time. In 1983, Daniele leaves for India where he works for a volunteer program helping the sick in terminal stage. Upon his return to Switzerland, he founds Teatro Sunil, company where he develops a vision of the art of clowning, dance and acting along with Maria Bonzanigo and his brother Marco. They call this theatrical technique “theatre of the caress”.

Finzi Pasca is sentenced to a short stay in prison for acting as a conscientious objector, and during that time, he puts the final touch to Icaro, a monologue imagined for a single spectator. Interpreted by Daniele himself in six different languages over the past 20 years, Icaro has toured the world and was performed more than 700 times. This show is at the very root of the company’s style and aesthetics. He creates and directs some 20 shows with Teatro Sunil. Played in over 20 countries, his projects depict a profound sense of humanity and playfulness. They include Rituale, Viaggio al Confine, Dialoghi col Sonno, Percossi Obbligati, Giacobbe, 1337, Aitestas and Visitatio; the latter co-produced by Teatro Sunil and Montreal’s Carbone 14. In 2003, he writes and directs Te Amo, show produced by Poramor Producciones and Teatro Sunil.

For Cirque Éloize Daniele creates Nomade – At Night, the Sky is Endless (2002) and Rain Comme une pluie dans tes yeux (2003). For the latter, he is nominated Best Director at the Drama Desk Award in New York. In 2005, he writes and directs Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, which has been seen by over three million spectators to this day. Daniele creates and directs the closing ceremony of the Torino 2006 XX Winter Olympic Games, production for which he is awarded the 2006 Swiss Award in the Show Business category. In 2007, he signs Nebbia, co-produced by Cirque Éloize and Teatro Sunil. Casagrande has published a short- story anthology entitled Come Acqua allo specchio, as well as the complete script of Viaggio al Confine.In 2008, he is awarded with the Swiss Theatre Prize and is also nominated for the XIII Europe Theatre Prize.

In 2009, he co-founds Inlevitas with Julie Hamelin, company put forth to create and develop various artistic projects such as opera, acrobatic theatre and films. The first project Inlevitas signs is the opera Love from Afar, for London’s English National Opera in July 2009, presented in Belgium in 2010 and in Toronto in 2012. They also participate in publishing the book Daniele Finzi Pasca: Theatre of the Caress, written by Facundo Ponce de León in 2009.

2009-2010 is the year in which Donka – A Letter to Chekhov is created. The show is a production of Company Finzi Pasca and the Chekhov International Theater Festival in coproduction with Vidy-Lausanne Theater, written and directed by Daniele for the 150th anniversary of Russian author Anton Chekhov. Julie acts as creative associate on this project.

In 2011, Daniele co-founds Company Finzi Pasca, a new structure uniting the destinies of Teatro Sunil and Inlevitas. 2011 also marks a turning point in terms of opera productions, with the completion of several projects initiated by Julie Hamelin Finzi. In June 2011, Daniele directs the opera Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, with Maestro Valery Gergiev handling the musical direction. In July of the same year, Daniele directs Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci, this time in Naples at Teatro San Carlo, under the musical direction of Maestro Donato Renzetti. This production is also presented at the Mariinsky the following year. After this string of success, Daniele returns to the Mariinsky in June 2012, directing Verdi’s Requiem, with Maestro Valery Gergiev conducting again. The four operas are now part of the repertoire.

In October 2012, Daniele is awarded the 2012 Hans Reinhart Ring, the highest distinction of Swiss theatre, in recognition for his lifelong contribution to the performing arts. 2012 is also the year in which La Verità is created. The show premiered in Montreal in January 2013, and is now on a worldwide tour.

In between all those projects, Daniele is still performing his solo show Icaro all around the world. He is currently working on his first movie, Piazza San Michele, produced by Julie Hamelin Finzi. Yet more projects are in the making, such as Bianco, a new theatrical clown show scheduled to debut in Switzerland in September 2014. Daniele has also been called upon to create and direct the next edition of the Wingrowers’ Festival of Vevey, Switzerland. This four-times-a-century event attracts hundreds of thousands people.

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