An Italian in Madrid

Choreography Richard Alston
Music Domenico Scarlatti, Keyboard Sonatas
Accordion: K.146, K.284, K.39 (played by
Teodoro Anzellotti, Winter & Winter, 2001)
Piano: K.27, K.420, K.159, K.3, K.70, K.141, K.32
Pianist Jason Ridgway
Lighting Karl Oskar Sørdal
Costumes Fotini Dimou

Domenico Scarlatti left Italy for Lisbon to teach the young Princess Maria Barbara; she was both talented and very serious about music. Betrothed to a Spanish Prince, Maria Barbara left for Spain but insisted her Master of Music go too. In Spain Scarlatti was exposed to the vigour and passion of popular Andalusian music and proceeded to write over 500 keyboard sonatas for the Princess.

These sonatas display the exotic and colourful influence of Andalusia. So far removed from Italy, Scarlatti perhaps felt free to break musical rules and the Sonatas are not only rhythmically vigorous and hugely enjoyable but also astonishingly inventive. This is music unique in the Baroque Era and recognised as the extraordinary work of a Master.

The Italian of the title is Scarlatti and Madrid is where he wrote most of these Sonatas. The subject of the dance however is A Spaniard in Lisbon. We see first a young Scarlatti in Naples (where he was born) and then we see the Princess in Lisbon where she receives Prince Ferdinand seeking her hand, Scarlatti watches the Prince’s arrival with interest. When the Prince takes his bride to Spain, the Princess demands that Scarlatti goes too. And so the music is born…

An Italian in Madrid received its premiere at Sadler's Wells on 29 March 2016

★★★★★ 'Echoing cheers for Alston and his dancers' Financial Times

★★★★ 'Scarlatti’s story cast in astounding light' Guardian

★★★★ 'An Italian in Madrid is one of the year's finest works' Observer