This is what Carla Fracci said after Petit's death in 2011:
I talked to him for the last time at Christmas. His great regret was that we were unable to film his ballet Chéri for French television, but there were a series of difficulties, even when a French TV crew came to film at La Scala. ‘A shame!' Roland always said when we spoke. However Chéri is a ballet that will remain, with other ballerinas. He was keen that some sort of record would preserve it.
Well, here is a record of the original protagonists of the ballet – Carla Fracci and Massimo Murru – in the two pas de deux during a gala in Tokyo in 2000. Joining the two pas together makes the entire piece 23 minutes long for the 64-year-old Fracci, and the 29-year-old Murru; a remarkable feat.
The only other record of the ballet on YouTube is a five minute segment with Murru and Dominique Khalfouni.
I dedicate Chéri to the great Carla Fracci, an artist who has given to this ballet her subtle charm, her poetry and her wisdom. Also to her young partner, Massimo Murru, whose elegant profile recalls that of the young Cocteau, who has become “Chéri”.
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.