As an architect famous for his dynamically fanciful bridges, airports, and transit hubs around the world, Santiago Calatrava is an expert at choreographing masses of bodies in motion. Now the New York City Ballet has given him the chance to work on a much more intimate scale by commissioning the Spanish architect to create five scenic designs for a series of world premiere productions in the company’s spring season.
Appropriately titled “Architecture of Dance,” the season will begin on April 29 and include ballets by Benjamin Millepied, Melissa Barak, Maruo Bigonzetti, and Peter Martins. It will be the first time that Calatrava has designed for the ballet, but not the first time that the New York City Ballet has conscripted an architect to design its sets; Phillip Johnson collaborated with the company in 1981. Calatrava, however, is no stranger to building environments for the arts. A painter and sculptor himself whose designs have been exhibited at MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he built airily streamlined buildings for Atlanta’s symphony and Palma de Mallorca‘s Opera in Spain.
Another architectural collaboration in New York is underway at the Metropolitan Opera, where Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have teamed up with fashion designer Miuccia Prada to create costumes and set designs for Verdi‘s “Atilla,” which maestro Riccardo Muti is bringing to the stage on February 23. The acclaimed Swiss architects, best known for designing Beijing’s “bird nest” Olympic stadium, previously designed sets for the Berlin State Opera‘s 2006 production of “Tristan und Isolde.”