The greatest applause during last night’s gala at La Scala was reserved for Leonid Sarafanov and Olesya Novikova in the Tchaikovsky Pas de deux. As the applause faded a voice called out “these are étoiles”, reflecting a common-held view in the foyer that a Gala of Étoiles should reflect the label on the packet, and feature a greater proportion of stars than members of the corps trying out pas de deux for the first time.
Apart from local boys Roberto Bolle and Massimo Murru the other guests were Hélène Bouchet (Hamburg Ballett), Agnès Letestu and Hervé Moreau (Ballet Théâtre National de l’Opéra, Parigi), and Friedemann Vogel (Stuttgarter Ballet), the other six pairings were from La Scala’s soloists and corps. Of these Mick Zeni and Antonino Sutera in Petit’s Proust were powerful and moving, and Gilda Gelati with Eris Nezha danced the bedroom pas de deux from L’histoire de Manon with passion. Many offerings were embarrassingly weak and had no place in an evening where the best seats cost € 115.
Photo: Leonid Sarafanov and Olesia Novikova receiving an ovation at La Scala
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.