Eleonora Abbagnato is to become the new director of the Rome Opera Ballet. The official announcement from the Rome Opera's sovrintendente is expected in the next few days. It is known that Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, had championed her nomination, saying that she is “an intelligent and capable woman”.
L'Opera di Roma has been adrift since Riccardo Muti left his post as music director at the end of last year and Micha ‘s contract as director of the ballet company expired last November. Van Hoecke stayed on to ‘fill the gap' until the position was filled.
Abbagnato's family are based in Rome, her husband, Federico Balzaretti, being a defender for the Roma football team. After the birth of her second child, born in January, it has been rumoured that she wanted to simplify her her life by eliminating the Rome-Paris commute. She said that organising her life was ‘complicated‘. What will happen at the Paris Opera Ballet, where she was promoted to étoile two years ago, has not been made clear, but it is not expected that she will leave the company immediately.
In an interview from Paris with the news agency ANSA she said,
I'm happy and excited for this new and important position which will see me become the new director of the Rome Opera Ballet. It is an appointment which is like a dream come true and a culmination of my career.
I realise that it will not be easy, but I'm confident that I can fulfil this role with passion and commitment and that I'll be able to reconcile this with my earlier commitments.
Frederic Jahn will become her Principal Ballet Master. His last permanent position in Italy was at La Scala when his wife Patricia Ruanne was directing the ballet company.
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.