Daniele Finzi Pasca (Lugano, Switzerland)

Director, author, choreographer and light designer.
Co-founder of Compagnia Finzi Pasca

Daniele Finzi Pasca grows up in a family of photographers, in his father’s darkroom, which had also been 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 terminally ill patients. Upon returning to Switzerland, he founds Teatro Sunil with Maria Bonzanigo and his brother Marco. The company builds upon a vision of the art of clowning, dance and acting, a theatrical technique they call the “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 defined 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, a show produced by Poramor Producciones and Teatro Sunil.

For Cirque Éloize (co-founded by his wife Julie Hamelin Finzi) Daniele creates Nomade – At Night, the Sky is Endless (2002) and Rain – Comme une pluie dans tes yeux (2003). The latter earns him a nomination for Best Director at the Drama Desk Awards 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 20th 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. That same year, Publisher Casagrande releases a short story anthology entitled Come Acqua allo specchio, as well as the complete script of Viaggio al Confine. In 2008, he is awarded the Swiss Theatre Prize and is also nominated for the 13th Europe Theatre Prize.

In 2009, he co-founds Inlevitas with his wife Julie Hamelin Finzi, a company aiming to create and develop various artistic projects such as opera, acrobatic theatre and films. The first project to bear the Inlevitas name is the opera Love from Afar, for the English National Opera London, in July 2009. The show was later presented in Belgium in 2010 and in Toronto in 2012. They couple also collaborates 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 Compagnia Finzi Pasca and the Chekhov International Theater Festival in coproduction with Vidy-Lausanne Theater. It is written and directed by Daniele for the 150th anniversary of Russian author Anton Chekhov, and Julie acts as creative associate on this project.

In 2011, Daniele co-founds together with Antonio Vergamini, Hugo Gargiulo, Julie Hameiln Finzi and Maria Bonzanigo (in alphabetical order) Compagnia 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 and in May 2014 again at Teatro San Carlo. 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 premieres in Montreal in January 2013, and is now on a worldwide tour. In 2014 Daniele creates and directs the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics and the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

In 2014, he writes and directs Bianco su Bianco, by Compagnia Finzi Pasca and writes NUDA, his first novel. a new theatrical clown show scheduled to debut in Switzerland in Ocotber 2014.

Daniele is currently working on the new tour show of Cirque du Soleil for which he is creator, co-writer and director.

He was chosen to create and direct the next edition of the Wingrowers’ Festival of Vevey, Switzerland, in 2019, a four-times-a-century event that attracts hundreds of thousands people.

In between all those projects, Daniele is still performing his solo show Icaro all around the world and working on his first movie, Piazza San Michele, produced by Julie Hamelin Finzi.

Other projects are also in the making.