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Bryn Terfel at La Scala: me and Tom Cruise

Bryn Terfel at La Scala: me and Tom Cruise

Bryn Terfel La Scala 2014When a singer strides onto the La Scala stage seemingly fearless, takes in every inch of the theatre as though it was home, and their opening notes show that the voice lives up to the promise of the entrance, you know you’re in for a good evening. What the audience at La Scala last night didn’t know – but probably suspected and hoped for – was that it was going to be a great evening.

Bryn…

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Julio Bocca involved in serious car accident

Julio Bocca involved in serious car accident

Julio Bocca's car after the accidentYesterday afternoon in Uruguay, Julio Bocca’s car was completely destroyed when it careered off the highway but, remarkably, he has only suffered minor injuries.

Bocca, director of the National Ballet Sodre, lost control of his Peugeot and it came off the road and flipped over. He was taken to the British Hospital of Montevideo.

He was taken to hospital for x-rays and further checkups, but the…

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Call Me Debbie: the Down-to-Earth Diva Deborah Voigt tells all

Call Me Debbie: the Down-to-Earth Diva Deborah Voigt tells all

Prima Donna Assoluta: Deborah Voigt

In January next year, Deborah Voigt’s “strikingly honest memoir” will be published by HarperCollins entitled Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva.

The press release announces that she recounts “with characteristic candor, charisma, and wit – her harrowing and ultimately successful private battles to overcome the addictions and self-destructive tendencies that nearly cut short…

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Eleanor Bergstein’s Dirty Dancing alights in Milan

Eleanor Bergstein’s Dirty Dancing alights in Milan

Dirty Dancing rehearsals -  © Laura Bianca

Dirty Dancing rehearsals – © Laura Bianca

Dirty Dancing comes to Milan with the biggest advance booking since Stage Entertainment took over the Teatro Nazionale, beating even Beauty and the Beast and Mamma Mia!The producers must be breathing a sigh of relief as the Italian economy’s bumpy ride doesn’t seem to be affecting ticket sales, such is the film in the cultural DNA of women who want to…

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Nicoletta Manni’s a fine Kitri in a fine company

Nicoletta Manni’s a fine Kitri in a fine company

Nicoletta Manni as Dulcinea in Don Quixote, La Scala, 2014Well it’s an ill wind… Natalia Osipova’s last minute cancellation as Kitri at La Scala left the way open for Nicoletta Manni, newly appointed principal dancer with the company, to show the Osipova fans what she could do. And what she did she did very well, very well indeed.

Manni is a strong dancer with a solid technique and quite regal in her bearing. Her interpretation was cooler than Tamara…

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La Scala’s archive now open to everyone online

La Scala’s archive now open to everyone online

20100213DNCH_2000_BFrom today, La Scala’s archive can be consulted freely, without registering.

The ongoing project, known as DAM or Digital Asset Management, is cataloguing, photographing and scanning the Milanese theatre’s  the vast archive, as well as listing all the theatre’s performances with all the casts and creative teams.

205,000 photographs, 5,000 costumes, 800 props and accessories and 12,000 posters…

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La Scala’s Don Q disaster - all four guest dancers pull out

La Scala’s Don Q disaster – all four guest dancers pull out

Genesia Rosato as The Royal Ballet's Carabosse

Genesia Rosato as The Royal Ballet’s Carabosse

Could it be that Rudolph Nureyev’s Carabosse is getting her revenge as his production of Sleeping Beauty is being dropped next season to be replaced by a version by Alexei Ratmansky? Whatever, there seems to be a curse on this Milanese Don Quixote!

Svetlana Zakharova pulled out “due to personal reasons that prevent her leaving Moscow” (replaced by…

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Tamara Rojo and Claudio Coviello - photo Brescia and Amisano Teatro alla Scala

Tamara Rojo and Claudio Coviello – photo Brescia and Amisano Teatro alla Scala

What an extraordinary dancer Tamara Rojo is. Here she was, fabulous at forty, able to toss off the fiendishly difficult – and long – role of Kitri in Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote. No balance is missed, and some are held for an improbable length of time, usually interrupted only by the demands of the music, and her legendary fouettés are as secure as ever with interspersed quadruple turns during the first sixteen. But she is no performing seal and every aspect of the character is right under her skin: the playfulness, the determination, the cunning. Her appearance is also spot on with her hair gleaming like a helmet, eyes flashing and a wide smile that effortlessly reaches the back of the theatre. It is curious how a true star can shine without a follow spot.

For this Don Quixote at La Scala, Rojo was paired just a couple of days before the opening, with the young Claudio Coviello who stepped in for an ailing Ivan Vasiliev. Both had danced the choreography before, but not together. It hardly showed. They both seemed as though they were enjoying themselves, even while executing Nureyev’s most complex passages, and there was constant communication between them as they danced: flirty glances, tender gazes and impish grins. Their final act adagio was beautifully judged.

Coviello has changed considerably since he stood in for Vasiliev (it’s getting to be a habit) eighteen months ago in Notre-Dame de Paris. His shy stage presence and slight awkwardness has been replaced by confidence and a winning personality, maybe helped by Basilio’s character, and certainly aided and abetted by Rojo, but no matter, there is no turning back; he’s out of his shell. Combine that with a very secure technique and you are witnessing the birth of a world class dancer. Coviello’s feet are wonderful and all his lower body movements are fleet and controlled; he has clean, elegant lines, his renversés during the pas de trois brought delighted gasps from the audience and he was always respectful of Nureyev’s challenging choreography. An honest dancer. I wonder what Vasiliev would have done with the role?

Coviello is also proving to be a good actor, and his interaction with everyone on stage was witty and spot on. Maybe he just needs to beef-up his upper body muscles a little to help him in partnering but La Scala certainly mustn’t let this one get away!

Add to this an assured Nicoletta Manni as the Queen of the Dryads – her Italian fouettés were perfectly executed – and a company who are seeming like a true company rather than the ragbag collection of dancers that have been seen on and off over the last seasons, and the result is one of the best overall performances of Don Quixote that this theatre has witnessed in years.

At La Scala: Tamara Rojo and Claudio Coviello in a winning Don Quixote What an extraordinary dancer Tamara Rojo is. Here she was, fabulous at forty, able to toss off the fiendishly difficult - and long - role of Kitri in Rudolf Nureyev’s…
La Belle Ferronière by Leonardo da Vinci

La Belle Ferronière by Leonardo da Vinci

The Louvre in Paris has given the ok for three of its Leonardo da Vinci paintings to travel to Milan for the ambitious exhibition of the painter’s works to coincide with the Milan Expo in 2015.

Leonardo lived in Milan for 17 years and, of course, his The Last Supper is painted on the walls of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in the city.

The Expo runs from the beginning of May 2015 for six months, and the exhibition will open in April and run through to July at the Palazzo Reale, next to the Duomo.

The three works that the Louvre will send are are the “Annunciazione”, “La Belle Ferronière” and “San Giovanni Battista”.

The curators of the Milan show also asked for the loan of the painting dedicated to “Sant’Anna” but the journey is considered too risky for such a large-scale canvas.

Three Leonardo da Vinci paintings on loan from the Louvre for the Milan Expo 2015 The Louvre in Paris has given the ok for three of its Leonardo da Vinci paintings to travel to Milan for the ambitious exhibition of the painter’s works to coincide with the Milan Expo in 2015.
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