On 20 August last year Carla Fracci was celebrating her birthday frolicking in the Mediterranean Sea with her two grandchildren.
This year, her 78th birthday, she'll be opening in a new ballet in the open air – fingers crossed with this year's Italian summer – in Oria, a hill town with a population of 15,000 in the Apulia region, in the middle of Italy's heel.
The work commemorates the 50th birthday of her co-star, Toni Candeloro, who is from the town.
Fracci will inhabit the role of Artemisia Gentileschi, the 17th Century Italian painter. Fracci's husband, and lifelong collaborator, Beppe Menegatti, has directed Artemisia, with his customary mix of prose, poetry, painting and dance. Temperatures are due to go into the 90s today (32°C) so here's wishing them luck… and La Fracci, Happy Birthday.
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.