She danced the role for the first time last season at Milan's La Scala with Roberto Bolle; this time round her Armand will be Sergei Polunin who scored a huge personal success with the role with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden last month when he partnered Tamara Rojo in her farewell performances.
Marguerite was created for Margot Fonteyn when she was 44-years-old as a Fonteyn-Nureyev vehicle, and it was deemed untouchable until the 35-year-old Sylvie Guillem famously took on the role in 2000. Zakharova got to wear Cecil Beaton's frocks at 33. Marguerites are getting younger, and indeed for Dumas' story there is no reason why not, but these roles are obviously intended for a mature artist, maybe one who is looking to the future when 32 fouettées are no longer feasible. Another ‘mature' ballet is John Cranko's Onegin, though Marcia Haydée was only 28 when she created the role. Zakharova will perform this ballet for the first time at the Bolshoi in July. Bolshoi Ballet chief Sergei Filin negotiated to secure the performance rights from the Cranko Foundation before the acid attack in January.
Pavel Dmitrichenko, who has confessed to instigating the attack on Filin, has received support with a letter from more than 300 company members to the Bolshoi management which stated,
For those who know Pavel Dmitrichenko, even the thought that he could have been the instigator and organiser of this crime, committed in such a brutal way, is absurd. The conclusions made by the investigation seem premature to us, the evidence unconvincing and Pavel's confession, later changed, the result of strong pressure on him.
Zakharova decided not to sign the letter, and explained her position to Izvestia.
I try not to sign any letters. For me, the crime against Sergei was a big blow. What happened to him is one of the worst things that can happen: the loss health through no fault of his own. Honestly, for me it does not matter who attacked him and for what; what is important is that it happened. No-one has the right to do that.
At this time, I just want to express my support for Sergei Filin and his family. Our doctors have done everything possible and now German doctors continue to fight for his health. But despite numerous operations on his eyes, he still continues to work.
Returning to her new repertoire, she says, it doesn't mean that she is thinking of retiring:
The very thought of the end of a career scares me, frankly. I want to go out and dance forever. There are so many wonderful productions and projects out there!
But when the moment comes?
I certainly don't plan to return to politics. I cannot be a choreographer, unfortunately, as God didn't give me that gift. But I hope that my future will be connected with the arts. Also, lately I've been doing a lot of charitable work to support young artists, students and also stage veterans.
But right now?
I open the calendar and see that in 2015 I go to the theatre to dance-so-and-so, and I think, “Thank God!”
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.