August 20, 2023
La Fortuna – Lady with an Ermine, a ballet – pantomime performance will be presented in a Bauska Castle in Latvia.
Inspired by “Lady with an Ermine”, Leonardo da Vinci’s celebrated painting, the performance strives to bring contemporary audiences closer to the wealth and refinement of the culture of the Italian Quattrocento.
By recounting the well-known story of Cecilia Gallerani, we would like to invite our audience on a historical trip to the Sforza court in Milan.
Fortune goes around and comes back around, Fortune is fickle and, as Leonardo himself wrote, “When Fortune comes, seize it tightly by the fringe, for, I’m telling you, it is bald behind”.
Fortune is on the side of Lodovico Il Moro, the great Duke of Milan of the Sforza family. The wealthiest ruler, acclaimed conqueror, a patron of the arts, and a builder, he employs Leonardo da Vinci at his court. Lodovico, the happy lover, savours sweet moments in the company of his beloved Cecilia, one of the best-known and best-educated women in the whole dukedom.
Fortune smiles on Cecilia, too. Surrounded by the love of the Duke of Milan, portrayed by master Leonardo himself, worshipped by the Milanese court, she accepts the honours and proofs of love bestowed on her, as well as the balls and performances organized for her.
Fortune favours Beatrice d’Este as well. Duke of Ferrara’s younger daughter marries the mighty Lodovico Sforza and becomes the ruler of the grand dukedom of Milan.
But Fortune is fickle in nature. The Great Lodovico ends his existence in a state of destitution as prisoner of the king of France. Beatrice fails in her efforts to conquer the heart of her beloved spouse who yearns for “the first lady in the world” – his very own sister Isabella.
With the appearance of Beatrice, after the Duke’s official nuptials, Cecilia looses everything. Abandoned by Lodovico, rejected by former friends from the court and from the world, she stays in the memory of the generations to come through master Leonardo’s portrait only.
Cecilia and Lodovico’s story introduces us into the art world of the Italian Renaissance. Using the tradition of ballet performances from the period as a model, we attempted to reconstruct fragments of the “Il Paradiso” ballet spectacle, whose fame had spread all over Europe and for which the costumes and the scenery had been designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
Attempts at reconstruction also concern authentic choreographies which are featured in the performance. These have been prepared by expert in the field, Barbara Sparti.
The costumes, in part designed in France by Martine Pichon, and in part in Poland by Monika Polak-Luścińska, have been inspired by the iconography and design style of the period.