Over the last couple of weeks the has been a steady build up in Italian media to this day, the 80th birthday of Italy brightest ballet star, Carla Fracci. Seemingly endless articles have littered the pages of specialist magazines, gossip rags and newspapers and today's television news has reported the event. People who know nothing about ballet know that today is Carla Fracci's birthday.
This evening, the Rai state television has an evening of programming dedicated to the ‘Duse of dance' on the cultural channel, Rai5, with a series of specials on the history of dance that she did with Peter Ustinov in the 1980s, followed by two recent profiles, one on her and the other on Roberto Bolle, and then they will transmit the 1967 ballet La strada created for her by Mario Pistoni at La Scala and based on Federico Fellini's film.
On Rai3, Pino Strabioli's theatre programme Colpo di scena (coup de théâtre) — Twitter @ColpoDiScenaRai — is dedicated to her with new interviews, including an interview with Fracci herself in the Gagosian Gallery in Rome, a television first.
Last week, Teatro San Carlo in Naples announced that they will put on a dance gala on 26 and 27 October in her honour, one of the first decisions by the Company's new director, Giuseppe Picone.
Her ‘home' theatre in Milan, Teatro alla Scala, was rather more low key in saying that it would dedicate the opening of Giselle on 4 October to her, and hold a conference and party in it's plush foyer in the Autumn. There is also a new page on it's site, with a gallery of photos, which says, “Carla Fracci is a pivotal figure in the history of the dance and that of the Teatro alla Scala, but also a symbol of Milan for several decades… The ballet company and the entire theatre wishes Carla Fracci a very happy birthday.”
In a letter from the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, published by this blog this morning, he announced “We award you the Gold Medal of the Italian Republic for Services to Culture to show the gratitude we owe for your work”.
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.