Against the picturesque backdrop of the Vesuvius, the ancient Roman theatre of Pompeii hosts a colourful open air event in honour of Pablo Picasso. Celebrating the centenary of his visit to Italy, two ballets with sets and costumes designed by this legendary Spanish artist are put on stage: Parade, with music by Erik Satie, and Igor Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. The choreography of both works has been created by Russian ballet star Léonide Massine. It is performed by the corps de ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma under the direction of Paris Opera prima ballerina Eleonora Abbagnato and Léonide Massine’s son Lorca as choreographer.

100 years ago, together with Jean Cocteau, Picasso undertook a journey to Naples and Pompeii in order to work on Parade, an avantgarde ballet commissioned by Serge Diaghilev, director of the famous Ballets Russes, which was supposed to be inspired by Neapolitan folklore and the commedia dell’arte. The stage curtain of Parade is the largest work Picasso ever completed, measuring about 11 meters high by 17 metres wide. Satie’s musical score mixes the orchestral palette with sounds from everyday life: noises of typewriters, revolvers, sirens, lottery wheels and bottles are brought together into a joyful collage reminiscent of cubist art. Cocteau’s libretto tells the story of a troupe of street artists who parade in front of a crowd of onlookers in an attempt to attract an audience for their show.

After the success of Parade, Massine, Picasso and the Ballets Russes joined forces again for Pulcinella at the Opéra de Paris. This ballet en un tableau follows the amorous episodes in the life of the young Neapolitan philanderer Pulcinella, a well-known figure of traditional Neapolitan theatre.

“The four creative geniuses of Parade – Picasso, Cocteau, Massine and Satie – were the ideal team for bringing new vitality and authenticity to the world of ballet. The solo dancers and the corps de ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma now revive the magic of the two ballets Parade and Pulcinella” (

Erik Satie - Parade
Igor Strawinsky - Pucinella


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Igor Strawinsky