Oct 012014


Andrey Merkuriev - a portraitWhen did you start dan­cing?
When I was five I star­ted dan­cing things like the cha-cha-cha and rumba. Bal­let began when I was ten.

Why did you start dan­cing?
Teach­ers and par­ents saw my great abil­ity to dance, but I chose bal­let  I wanted to dance for my Mom to ful­fil her dreams.

Which dan­cer inspired you most as a child?
Nureyev has always been my num­ber one. Not just for his dan­cing, but his act­ing and body con­trol. He could work 24 hours a day; that was how he reached this level.

Which dan­cer do you most admire?
Nureyev forever! …con­tinue reading.

Sep 302014

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 Terfel’s enorm­ous pres­ence — both his phys­ical size and his per­son­al­ity — is matched not only by his voice, but also by an artistic intel­li­gence that is cap­tiv­at­ing. Pins were heard drop­ping. The audi­ence was enrapt through­out by the intens­ity of his singing and the and his win­ning intro­duc­tions to each group of songs.

The second of his open­ing four Schu­mann songs - Wid­mung — had the new La Scala chief, Alex­an­der Pereira, singing (well, mouth­ing) along, which is prob­ably a good sign. Before com­men­cing with his Schubert group, he announced that every young singer should sing Schubert, and recoun­ted his time at the Guild­hall in Lon­don when his teacher, Arthur Reck­less — “Reck­less by name, but not with voices” — wouldn’t let his young stu­dent indulge in the opera arias he was long­ing to sing. Ter­fel sang Eng­lish Song for three years. The diet worked, and if he later pro­gressed to more extra­vag­ant fare, the fact that he can still take his robust voice done to the soft­est pian­is­simi is a test­a­ment to his wise teach­ers. …con­tinue reading.

Sep 282014

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 ini­tial med­ical inter­ven­tion on site revealed noth­ing serious.

said a High­way Patrol spokes­man Daniel Segovia. …con­tinue reading.

Sep 262014

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 her life”. In the book she describes the events that led to her dan­ger­ous gast­ric bypass sur­gery in 2004 and its shock­ing after­math: her sub­stan­tial weight loss coupled with the “cross addic­tion” that led to alco­hol­ism and severe depres­sion before she emerged to achieve com­plete sobriety.

Voigt also gives insight into the roles she’s played, espe­cially the char­ac­ters she loves: Strauss’s Ariadne and Salome, Puccini’s Min­nie, and Wagner’s Sieglinde, Isolde, and Brün­nhilde among them. There are also anec­dotes and even some juicy back­stage gos­sip is prom­ised! …con­tinue reading.

Sep 252014

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 dance with Patrick Swayze, men who want to be Patrick Swayze and prob­ably men who want to dance with Patrick Swayze too.

When the show opened in Lon­don it set the record for advance book­ings there , yet the film and the show’s writer, Eleanor Bergstein, res­isted offers to turn the film into a musical for more than fif­teen years.
“couldn’t see the point. The film could be seen in the cinemas, on tele­vi­sion… why try to recre­ate it on stage?”

She was finally con­vinced when the let­ters from view­ers, which con­tinu­ally arrive, demon­strated that the film had the same effect on a new gen­er­a­tion, and she thought how power­ful her story would be if seen ‘live’. …con­tinue reading.