Frédéric Olivieri has been named as the next director of the La Scala Ballet Company. His contract will run for the next three years.
La Scala's Intendant, Alexander Pereira, told the corps de ballet of his decision this morning, and the announcement was greeted with long applause.
Olivieri was the company's Director from 2002 until 2007. He left to head the theatre's Ballet School and was followed by the Mariinsky's Makhar Vaziev, whose sudden departure in 2016 (to head the Bolshoi Ballet) saw the theatre substituting him with Mauro Bigonzetti.
Bigonzetti's somewhat surprising appointment – he is a contemporary choreographer and La Scala is a repertoire company – resulted in protests from the dancers in the company when his first season, the current 2016-2017 season, was announced. The results are being seen with the newly commissioned contemporary programmes being hard to sell and not popular with audiences or critics.
Olivieri, who took over after Bigonzetti's sudden departure in October 2016 (for health reasons), has already been putting together a season more appropriate for one of the two remaining repertoire companies in Italy, the other being the Rome Opera Ballet. A new production of Anna-Marie Holmes's version of Le Corsaire, with designs by Luisa Spinatelli, will be part of the next season, and he plans to bring back La Bayadére too.
Details of his 2017-2018 season will be announced on 24 May.
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.