Why did you start dancing?
It was natural and spontaneous.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Which dancer do you most admire?
Those who give their heart and soul on stage.
What’s your favourite role?
All the Romantic ones.
What role have you never played but would like to?
John Neumeier’s La Dama delle Camelie.
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
Anything by Les Ballets Trockadero de Montecarlo!!!
Who is your favourite choreographer?
There are more than one.
Who is your favourite writer?
J. K. Rowling 🙂
Who is your favourite director?
I don’t have a particular favourite, but I admire many.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite book?
What is your favourite film?
The Notebook. [Nick Cassavetes moving 2004 film with Gena Rowlands and James Garner]
Which is your favourite city?
I still have to visit it.
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
What was your proudest moment?
It’s still to arrive.
When and where were you happiest?
At the Bolshoi when I was named prima ballerina of La Scala.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My future husband 🙂
What is your greatest fear?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything about me.
What would you like to be your greatest achievement?
To arrive at old age without regrets.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
When I don’t want to hurt someone.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to do?
What is your most marked characteristic?
“Big Drama” [Petra is known for emphasing the tragedy of a character, looking for the ‘big drama’!]
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Pope John Paul II.
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
What gift would you most like to have?
To play the piano.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
My life now.
How would you like to die?
Holding the hand of the person I love.
What is your motto?
Mangerai quello che ti sarai cucinato. [literally “Eat what you cooked”]
Petra Conti – a biography
Petra Conti is La Scala’s shooting star. In two years she has gone from corps to prima ballerina.
She graduated from the Accademia Nazionale di Danza di Roma in 2006. In January 2007 she made her début with the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona in the role of Cinderella in the ballet Cenerentola by Maria Grazia Garofoli.
During the season 2007-2008 Petra left Italy for a year of study with the Teatro Mariinsky di San Pietroburgo. While she was there she also performed as a soloist with the Conservatorio Rimsky- Korsakov.
In August 2008 she made her début as Giselle in the Anfiteatro Romano di Verona, in a version by Garofoli. During the 2008-2009 season she joined the corps de ballet of the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich, where she participated in the creation of a new new Jiří Kylián ballet, Zugvogel. In July 2009 she performed in the Nijinsky Gala in Hamburg as the VI nymph in L’après–midi d’un faune.
During August 2009 she took her place in the corps de ballet of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala where she immediately started dancing principal roles. She won great acclaim in Yvette Chauvirè’s version of Giselle, and this was followed by Kitri in Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, Juliet in Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin, and George Balanchine’s Emeralds.
Petra was nominated soloist after her début in the reconstruction of Raymonda in November 2011. She danced Giselle as part of the opening celebrations of the new Royal Opera House di Muscat, and in December 2011 went with the La Scala company to the Bolshoi Theatre as the first visiting company in the newly restored theatre. She danced Civiltà in La Scala’s calling-card ballet Excelsior, and Titania in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
It was on the Bolshoi stage, after the last performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on December 22, that La Scala’s ballet director, Makhar Vaziev, promoted her to the highest rank of Prima Ballerina.
Photo by Petra Conti by Max Masala
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.