Just two weeks shy of her 79th birthday, Carla Fracci returns once again to the stage,
For me, dance is like water… I am regenerated by it, like a return to the womb.
On 7 August, in Lecce's Roman Amphitheatre, she will be appearing with the Balletto del Sud (Southern Ballet) in a new one act ballet called Shéhérazade, e le mille e una note, based on part of the Arabian Nights.
La Fracci will play Thalassa, the sea goddess from Greek mythology, with the choreography of the company's director, Fredy Franzutti. She will be performing alongside dancers 50 to 60 years younger than she is. Even if she doesn't seem it, her passport states that she was born on 20 August 1936.
At my age, I only return for special occasions. On stage, miraculously, the years slip away.
The ballet uses Rimsky-Korsakov's exotic symphonic poem Scheherazade together with the symphony Antar – which he called a symphonic suite – inspired by Sennkovsky's Arabian tale. Fracci's main solo, however, is danced to the well-known aria Song of the Indian Guest from Rimsky-Korsakov's opera Sadko in a recording by Jussi Björling.
The actor Andrea Sirianni will play the role of the Sultan as well as that of Scheherazade and during the one-act ballet will read a poem by Eugenio Montale, the Nobel prize-winning poet who dedicated a poem to Carla Fracci.
So if you're curious how a Greek goddess can be woven into an Arab story with a Russian aria sung in Swedish together with an Italian poem read by an actor who plays Scheherazade in drag, there's only one way to find out: Lecce, 7 August at 9.30pm – P.S. Let me know!
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.