Ivan Vasiliev’s scheduled début with the ballet company at Milan’s La Scala, and also in the role of Quasimodo in Roland Petit’s ballet Notre-Dame de Paris, was delayed from Saturday due to a last minute injury. Yesterday, however, he went on and scored a success that a loggionista described as one of the supreme ballet evenings in the last forty years at Milan’s opera house. She compared the presence of Vasiliev with that of Nureyev: personalities that draw attention towards them, even when they are not dancing and the intended focus of the choreography. Such artists are indeed rare.
Italian blogger and balletomane Marino Palleschi commented,
At 24 years of age, is it possible to have understood all of Romanticism? And at 24 is it possible to have the artistic maturity to immerse oneself in a character and be able to communicate this to an audience? Yes, it’s possible, and he’s called Ivan Vasiliev.
Commentators piled superlatives up high. One audience member attributed Vasiliev’s ability to enter Quasimodo’s head as his being Russian, with a Dostoevskian approach in understanding character; another that while the magnificence of his dance was to be expected, it was the subtlety of how he communicated this wounded spirit with total believability that rendered his performance great; a third observed how perfectly he showed the bliss of entering in a pas de deux with his beloved Esmeralda when his deformity disappears, and for a moment he is free.
The public reacted with just delirium.
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.