The new Paris Opera Ballet étoile, Eleonora Abbagnato, is back in Italy for the first of six episodes of a television talent show, Amici, where she will captain a team of young singers and dancers. She also graces the cover of this week's Grazia, alongside her footballer husband Federico Balzaretti, the AS Roma defender. Stefania Rossotti asked the pair some questions. About Abbagnato's recent ‘promotion' for example:
When I'm at home, I'm here with all my heart. To be named étoile gives me immense joy, though it's also a responsibility. It crowns more than twenty years of hard work and solitude. Dance was all my life: at 11-years-old I left Sicily for Paris.
But now she has Julia, her 14-month-old daughter, and so priorities have changed, though she has to attend class, rehearsals and give performances.
I see Julia only in the morning and in the evening, and I arrive home exhausted. That's why I'm all skin and bone. I get tired: two days ago I was guesting with the Rome Opera Ballet, yesterday performing in Paris, and now I'm back in Rome for Amici. Back and forth; I don't know anymore where things are. Fede asks me to leave Julia in Rome with him, that he misses her. But I won't hear of it. Just the idea of seeing her bed empty makes me want to cry.
It's complicated living a marriage when mamma and papà are separated by more than a thousand miles.
We see each other rarely. And when that happens, we like to all stay together. Every now and then, about once a month, Fede and I will go out to dinner, to have a little time together, just us two. Social life doesn't interest us.
So much time apart, isn't she jealous?
It's not that I don't trust him; I don't trust other women.
With a contract that will keep her tied to Paris for at least six more years, life won't get any easier. Little Julia has the Roman nanny talking to her with the local accent, the Parisian nanny talks in French, Mum speaks with her in French too, and Dad in Italian, while the maid speaks to them all in English. Balzaretti also brings up two young daughters from his previous marriage. Complicated? Balzaretti thinks so:
It is complicated , but we can deal with it, even if, frankly, with Julia you don't sleep much. She wakes up and least twice a night.
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.