Jun 292013

P3010104 500x375 Clau­dio Cov­i­ello spreads his wings in Swan Lake with Natalia OsipovaIn a brave cast­ing move, Makhar Vaziev, dir­ector of ’s bal­let com­pany, has given new-boy Clau­dio Cov­i­ello the open­ing night of with .

21-year-old Clau­dio Cov­i­ello, who stepped in at the last minute to replace Ivan Vasiliev in March, and was named primo ballerino (prin­cipal) just two months ago, will be dan­cing three per­form­ances with the Rus­sian super­star from mid-July.

Osipova arrives in Milan this week­end for two weeks of rehearsal as she will be dan­cing ’s ver­sion of Swan Lake for the first time. Again Maina Giel­gud, who pre­pared her for Nureyev’s ver­sion of   when Osipova made her début with the com­pany in 2010, will be put­ting her through her paces. It was later the same year, in 2010, that the theatre brought back Nureyev’s Swan Lake which had been ditched a dec­ade earlier for the much debated, and gen­er­ally hated, ver­sion by Bournmeister.

Nureyev’s Swan Lake for Milan was the last of three ver­sions he cre­ated over the years, the pre­vi­ous two being in Vienna in 1964, and Paris in 1984. The Milan pro­duc­tion déb­uted in 1990 with Isa­bel Seabra and Charles Jude, and Nureyev as Roth­bart. As in Paris, the sets and cos­tumes for Milan were designed by his long­time Italian col­lab­or­at­ors Ezio Fri­gerio and Franca Squarciapino.

When Nureyev arrived to dance the Prince at the in 1963, he fam­ously added in two solos that he had cre­ated, instantly redress­ing the bal­ance between the male and female prot­ag­on­ists. The male solo at the end of the first act is a danced soli­lo­quy full of intro­spect­ive ten­sion. It is extraordin­ar­ily com­plex and dif­fi­cult to pull off, but when it’s done well it can bring the house down. Cov­i­ello has many fam­ous names to live up to here includ­ing an exquis­ite , a noble Erik Bruhn, and the young Rudi him­self. The Black Swan pas de deux becomes a pas de trois in this ver­sion as Roth­bart joins in the fun (greatly help­ing to explain the story) and at La Scala Osipova and Cov­i­ello will be joined by the cha­ris­matic .

Here’s Nureyev,

For me, Swan Lake is one long day­dream on the part of prince Siegfried. Reared on romantic read­ing, his desire for infin­ity has been fired and he refuses the real­ity of the power and the mar­riage forced on him by his tutor and his mother. To escape from the dreary des­tiny that is being pre­pared for him, he brings the vis­ion of the lake, this “else­where” for which he yearns, into his life. An ideal­ized love is born in his mind, along with the pro­hib­i­tion that it rep­res­ents. And so when the dream fades away, the san­ity of the prince does not know how to survive.


Below, Nat­alia Osipova in her début with the La Scala Bal­let as Kitri:

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