Could it be that Rudolph Nureyev's Carabosse is getting her revenge as his production of Sleeping Beauty is being dropped next season to be replaced by a version by Alexei Ratmansky? Whatever, there seems to be a curse on this Milanese Don Quixote!
Svetlana Zakharova pulled out “due to personal reasons that prevent her leaving Moscow” (replaced by Tamara Rojo); Denis Matvienko's injury forced him to be replaced by Leonid Sarafanov; last week Ivan Vasiliev withdrew because of the after-effects of pneumonia (replaced successfully with local boy, Claudio Coviello); and today it has been announced that Natalia Osipova has been substituted for tonight's performance with Nicoletta Manni, La Scala's new principal. This means that all four of the original guest artists have backed out for one reason or another.
Sarafanov now finds himself paired with Manni for tonight's performance, but no problems there: they already danced together for last Thursday and Saturday's performances. While certain that the last minute cancellation by the Russian star couldn't be due to the fact that she arrived in Milan only on Saturday, and Nureyev's version is very different to other productions she knows well, but it is curious that the theatre underlines the fact that “Natalia Osipova will return on stage on 25 and 27 September”. So it must be a 24-hour ‘flu or similar… The 25th is also the live cinema relay.
However, reports are that Manni's Kitri is wonderful, and if you've come a long way for tonight's performance just for Osipova, don't let your tears make your tickets soggy, but look at this video of Osipova and Sarafanov at La Scala three years ago when they were both marvellous in Nureyev's production.
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.