Marcello Angelini has served as Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director since 1995, following a distinguished career as a principal dancer and guest artist with some of the most renowned troupes in the world. Angelini’s studies began at home with his father in Naples, Italy, and continued through graduation from the Kiev Institute of Dance in the former Soviet Union on a special full government scholarship.
His professional career as a dancer began in 1979 at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino where he obtained the status of soloist in 1981. He was a principal dancer with Deutsche Oper Berlin, England’s Northern Ballet Theater, Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens in Montreal, and the Cincinnati Ballet.
As a guest principal dancer, he has performed with the ballet companies of some of the most prestigious Opera Houses in Italy such as San Carlo Opera House, Rome Opera House, the Arena of Verona in Italy and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. He also has performed as principal guest artist with the Basler Ballet in Switzerland, English National Ballet and the Scottish Ballet in the United Kingdom, Ballet Arizona in the USA and Santiago’s Teatro Municipal in Chile. He has performed leading roles in most of the classical repertoire, including Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Taming of the Shrew, and numerous productions of Cinderella, including that of the late Rudolf Nureyev. His contemporary leading roles include Death in Death and the Maiden and the valet in Birgit Cullberg’s Miss Julie. He also has been featured in ballets by Hans Van Manen, Niels Cristie, John Butler, John, Cranko, Kenneth McMillan and most of the George Balanchine repertoire.
He has received numerous awards, both as a dancer and for his achievements as Tulsa Ballet’s Artistic director. With his wife, Daniela Buson, he was awarded the Golden Rose for the most promising Italian dancer, the Positano International competition, held in Rome, Italy and broadcasted nationally. In 2002, he was awarded the Governor’s Arts Award for individual contribution to the arts in Oklahoma. In that same year, under his leadership, Tulsa Ballet was awarded the Harwelden Award for Non-Profit Organization.
During his tenure with Tulsa Ballet, Angelini has brought to the company’s repertoire 43 Oklahoma premieres, seven American premieres and 13 World premieres from internationally renowned choreographers. In 2003, Mr. Angelini debuted the world premiere of Tulsa Ballet’s The Nutcracker to critical acclaim. Because of his leadership, Tulsa Ballet can be characterized as a mid-sized dance company that refuses to play by “regional” rules. In fact, while operating in the center of the United States, it enjoys a truly international repertory representing the world’s leading choreographers and an international roster of dancers representing fourteen different countries. Tulsa Ballet preserves the classical repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries, presents works by the top contemporary choreographers of today, and continues as a major contributor to the creation of new works. This emphasis on creating new works of enduring quality is evidenced by a brand new theater, housed in its headquarters, dedicated in perpetuity to the creation of new works.
Writing for Dance Insider, critic Alicia Chesser recently said, “To look at what Marcello Angelini has accomplished in 13 years at Tulsa Ballet is to see what a community-based arts revolution looks like. Thirteen years of serious imagining, planning, fundraising, and creating have resulted not only in the development of a company recognized for excellence at home and abroad, but now also in a newly renovated and expanded rehearsal and school facility and an adjacent very modern, very spectacular $5 million theater, Studio K · Kivisto Hall, dedicated to the creation of new work.”
As this writer editorializes, the progression of Tulsa Ballet as a major force in the world of dance has been evident during Angelini’s tenure. Dance Magazine recognized this truth when in March 2005, the publication wrote“…30 dancers from 15 nationalities work at a level of expertise one would expect to see in a major coastal city or in Europe. The repertoire has attracted an extraordinary pool of talent and has put this mid-American company in the international eye.”
This continued growth has been recognized by the press both in the United States and in visited countries. In July 2002, the European press attending Tulsa Ballet performances in Sintra, Portugal wrote “…Tulsa Ballet, one of the best in the world.”