Daniele Finzi Pasca (Lugano, Switzerland)

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

Daniele Finzi Pasca grows up in a family of photographers, in his father’s darkroom, which has 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 Finzi Pasca. 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 26 years, Icaro has toured the world and was performed nearly 800 times. This show defined the company’s style and aesthetics. He creates and directs some 30 shows with Teatro Sunil. Played in over 40 countries, his projects depict a profound sense of humanity and playfulness. They include Rituale, Viaggio al Confine, Dialoghi con 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 the Trilogy of the Sky: Nomade At Night the Sky is Endless (2002), RainComme une pluie dans tes yeux (2003) and Nebbia (2007) co-produced by Cirque Eloize and Teatro Sunil.

In 2005, he writes and directs Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, which was seen by over nine million spectators in a ten-year tour. In 2016, he is creator, co-author (with Julie Hamelin Finzi) and director for the new tour show of Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, dedicated to Mexico. Nearly 1 million spectators saw that show within the first 16 months of touring.

Still in 2005 Daniele creates and directs the Closing Ceremony of the Torino 2006 20th Winter Olympic Games, and in 2014 he creates and directs the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympics and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

In 2009, with Julie Hamelin Finzi he co-founds Inlevitas, 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.

2009-2010 is the year in which Donka – A letter to Chekhov is created, produced by the Compagnia Finzi Pasca and the Chekhov International Theatre Festival with Vidy-Lausanne Theatre. It is written and directed by Daniele, with Julie as Creative Associate, on the occasion of 150th anniversary of Russian author Anton Chekhov.

In 2011, together with Antonio Vergamini, Hugo Gargiulo, Julie Hamelin Finzi and Maria Bonzanigo (in alphabetical order) Daniele co-founds 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 he directs Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci at at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, under the musical direction of Maestro Donato Renzer. (This production is also presented at the Mariinsky the following year and in May 2014 again at Teatro San Carlo.) In June 2012 Daniele returns to the Mariinsky directing Verdi’s Requiem, with Maestro Valery Gergiev conducting again. In 2016 he directs Bizet’s Carmen (Teatro San Carlo) under the direction of Maestro Zubin Mehta. These five operas are now part of those theatres’ repertoire.