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Salvatore Viganò


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(b Naples, 25 Mar. 1769; d Milan, 10 Aug. 1821)

Italian dancer and choreographer. Son of the dancer and choreographer Onorato Viganò and the ballerina Maria Boccherini, he studied composition with his uncle, the composer Luigi Boccherini. He later studied dance with Jean Dauberval. He made his debut in 1783 dancing female roles. He danced in Rome (1786) and Venice (1788), and in 1789 appeared in the coronation festivities of the Spanish king, Charles IV. It was in Spain that he met Dauberval, whom he followed to Bordeaux and then to London (1791). In 1789 he married the Spanish dancer Maria Medina and with her made frequent tours of Europe, especially Venice, Vienna, Paris, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, and Hamburg, until their separation ten years later. He choreographed his first ballet in Venice in 1791: Raoul Signor de Crequi or Raul Signore di Crequi, for which he also composed the music (as he frequently did). From 1799 to 1803 he worked in Vienna, then in Italy where he choreographed Shakespeare's Coriolanus for Milan. From 1811 (some sources say 1813) until his death in 1821 he was ballet master at La Scala, Milan, where his most important ballets were made. Among his most notable achievements as a choreographer was the seamless incorporation of pantomime into the dance material, also the striking impact of his tableaux. He had lavish tastes, especially in costume: one ballet at La Scala was said to feature 1,085 dresses. A list of his ballets includes Die Tochter der Luft, oder: Die Erhöhung der Semiramis (Vienna, 1793), Richard Löwenherz, König von England (mus. Weigl, Vienna, 1795), Das gefundene Veilchen (Vienna, 1795), Clothilde, Herzogin von Salerno (after Gozzi, Vienna, 1799), The Creatures of Prometheus (mus. Beethoven, Vienna, 1801), I giuochi istmici (mus. Weigl, Vienna, 1803), Cajo Marzio Coriolano (mus. Weigl, Milan, 1804), Gli Strelizzi (Venice, 1809), Prometeo (mus. Beethoven, Milan, 1813), Gli Ussiti sotto a Naumburgo (Milan, 1814), Numa Pompilio (Milan, 1815), Mirra; o sia, La Vendetta di Venere (Milan, 1817), Psammi, re d'Egitto (Milan, 1817), Otello (mus. various, Milan, 1818), La vestale (Milan, 1818), I titani (mus. Ayblinger, Milan, 1819), Alessandro nell'Indie (mus. Ayblinger, Milan, 1820), Giovanna d'Arco (mus. Ayblinger, Milan, 1820), and Didone (mus. Ayblinger, Milan, 1821).

Subjects: Performing artsDance

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