Carla Fracci, now in her 78th year, will be opening in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice tomorrow, at Lecce's Teatro Politeama Greco.
The Italian ballet icon will be appearing with the Balletto del Sud in the numerous ballet interludes during the opera. Choreography is by the company's founder Fredy Franzutti.
I interpret a character who comes to symbolise the concept of divinity,
she told La Repubblica.
My life hasn't been only La Scala and other wonderful theatres, but also dancing in piazze, churches and prisons. I've never stopped taking dance everywhere, and in so doing I have created work.
If fact, those who remember her arriving in their city for an open-air performance or one under a circus tent – dates squeezed in between performances with the American Ballet Theatre and a La Scala or filming for the cinema or tv – have paid back her investment over the years: “Starring Carla Fracci” in big letters on the posters guarantees ticket sales. The posters in Lecce don't show the names of the singers.
I came often in Apulia [the heel on the boot of Italy, the region where Lecce is found] in the years when this area was cut off from touring circuit. And when I was director of the Rome Opera Ballet I sent the company to Lecce on six occasions.
Fracci has never officially retired, but now her appearances on stage are rare. However, she says she has never stopped exercising.
Study is the most important part of this profession, under the watchful eyes of the right teachers; you should only study alone when there is no alternative. If you stop studying, then it's finished. Certainly, at my age, I can't dance Giselle, but certain characters require a temperament and physical quality that young people don't have.
She has already worked with Franzutti in the past, who collaborated with her in Rome during her ten years at the helm.
He's a true talent, and intelligent, which he has demonstrated in this creation having included symbolic references to Calliope [the muse of poetry] and Terpsichore [the muse of dance].
After an absence of three years, she returned on stage, with her accustomed success, in a ballet at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples last November. Afterwards she told me that being on stage again was like “riding a bike”, but those butterflies in the stomach keep flapping their wings:
I know there is much anticipation about this work and, as usual, that makes me anxious.
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.