Daniele Finzi Pasca (Lugano, Switzerland), co-founder of Compagnia Finzi Pasca
Author, director, choreographer, lighting designer and actor
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 28 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), Rain – Comme 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 L’Amour de Loin (Love from Afar), for the English National Opera in 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 Renzetti. (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 operas are now part of those theatres’ repertoire.
2012 is the year in which La Verità is created. The show premieres in Montreal in January 2013, and is now on a worldwide tour, seen so far by over 330’000 spectators (updating: April 2019).
In 2014, after the large-scale Olympic ceremonies, Daniele writes and directs the intimate two-actor play Bianco su Bianco, and publishes his first novel, Nuda (subsequently published in German in 2019). That year he is also appointed to create and direct the next edition of the Winegrowers’ Festival of Vevey, Switzerland to take place in 2019. This four-time-a-century event will gather 400’000 people from all over Europe.
In 2016 he creates Per te, a show inspired by and dedicated to his wife Julie, launched in November 2016 at the LAC in Lugano (Switzerland) and presently on a worldwide tour (so far performed in three languages for over 30’000 spectators). In that same year, the short novel Bianco su Bianco, which inspired the show with the same name, is published by the Edizioni Compagnia Finzi Pasca (published in French in 2019).
In 2017 Montreal Avudo, a show for Montreal’s 375th anniversary along the Saint Laurent River, is a “smashing success” (Radio Canada) with 150 representations and 249’000 booked tickets.
In 2019 he creates and directs Abrazos an interactive show addressed to families, presented at the fair Feria de León in Mexico (200’000 spectators) and he puts on stage the above-mentioned Fête des Vignerons (Winegrowers’ Festival).
In between all this, Daniele is still performing his solo show Icaro all around the world.
Other projects are also in the making, among which the opera Einstein on the Beach that will open the 2019/2020 season at the Grand Thêatre in Geneva.