Renato Zanella

Prof. Renato Zanella
Artistic Director of Ballet, Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet

Renato Zanella is a native of Verona, Italy, and Artistic Director of Ballet, Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet. He received his first training in Verona before moving on to Rosella Hightower’s “Centre de Danse International” in Cannes where he completed his studies. He joined 1982 the Basler Ballet directed by Heinz Spoerli before the engagement in Stuttgart that followed in 1985.  1993 Marcia Haydée appointed him as Choreographer in residence after a series of creations as “Die Andere Seite”,“Triptychon”, “Stati d’animo”, “Empty Place”, “Black Angels”,“Man im Schatten” and Mata Hari, created for Marcia Haydé.

This was the beginning of an international career that brought further choreographies for several renowned companies as the Istanbul National Ballet, Les Ballet de Monte-Carlo, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Berlin Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, Croatian National Ballet, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, San Francisco Ballet.

In 1995, was appointed as Ballet Director at the Vienna State Opera, a position he will detain till 2005. During his ten-year terms, he presented close to forty own choreographies ranging from short pieces to full-length evening programmes, such as Wolfgang Amadée, Nutcracker, Strauss’ Cinderella  Spartacus, and one-act works such as Alles Walzer, Le Sacre de Printemps, Bolero, Renard and Petrushka.

During his ten years, Zanella has transformed the Vienna Ballet Company into a self-reliant ensemble capable of filling even the great roles by their own dancers and meeting the challenges of the greatest choreographers. Works from Kylian to van Manen, from Forsythe to Neumeier were presented, as well as works from G.Balanchine, Sir Kenneth McMillan, Peter Right and Sir Federick Ashton. Traditional choreographies by Petipa and many treatments by Nurejew were also seen. The ballet’s lovers appreciated the fact that the main focus of Zanella was to balance great classical repertory with his creations and the neo-classical repertory.

Zanella gave young choreographers from within his corps de ballet a chance of expressing themselves and paid close attention to the training of the next generation of ballet dancers that were nurtured carefully in a ballet school part of the State Opera, which he directed from 2001 till 2005.

From September 2011 to December 2015 he was Ballet Director by the Greek Opera National as the Arena di Verona from 2013 to 2015 and the Bucharest National Ballet from September 2016 to December 2017.  Since February 2018 leads the department of choreography at the Music School of the capital city of St Pölten in Lower Austria. The “Choreo Center Europe” is an international educative platform for young choreographers in collaboration with the Europa Ballett and the Academy of music and Art.

In 2009 Zanella branched out into a new field of artistic endeavour by staging operas. His first project “Cosi fan tutte” shown at the “Attersee Klassik-Festival” was highly acclaimed by the public and the critics. In 2010, he oversaw the production of “Carmen“,” Traviata“, Meea and Elektra by the international Festival of the Aegean” in Greece, Faust and I Vespri Siciliani, followed by the Greek National Opera, The Marry Widow, Cavalleria Rusticana and the Bat followed respectively in Mannheim, Verona and Tirana.

The Italian dance magazine “Danza & Danza” awarded him 1995 the title of “best Italian choreographer abroad”. In 2000 he received the “Premio Internazionale Gino Tani” in Rome. 2001 he was given the “Jakob Prandtauer-Preis” in St. Pölten. The same year, “Danza & Danza” acknowledged his work at the Vienna State Opera with the distinction “Best artistic director” in 2007.

In 2001, the Republic of Austria honoured him with the “Cross of Honour for the Sciences and Arts”. In 2010, the President of the Austrian Republic will honour him with the title of “Professor” for his career and social activities in Austria and abroad.

Renato Zanella is the father of four children and is based in his beloved city of Vienna. He defines himself and his work as a product born out of curiosity and the addiction to continuously experience new things, meet new personalities and talents and receive incessantly new inspirations for his work.