La Scala's new evening of ballet, Great Choreographers, which will be streamed on Saturday 15 May, features Kenneth MacMillan's bedroom pas de deux from his ballet Manon. It will be danced by Virna Toppi and Gabriele Corrado.
Ballet Director Manuel Legris continues with his invitations to prestigious artists inextricably linked to La Scala's history to offer insights into the titles in the repertoire. This may sound normal practice to those acquainted with The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, The Bolshoi, and most other major companies the world over but, strangely, this is something new for La Scala. Carla Fracci was invited to work with the dancers for the recent streamed performance of Giselle, and now Alessandra Ferri will coach parts of the role of Manon. Massimo Murru, a permanent coach with the company and a dancer who played Des Grieux many times at the theatre alongside Sylvie Guillem, and also with Ferri, will coach the role of Des Grieux.
Thursday 13 May 19.00 CET Massimo Murru rehearses Des Grieux's Act I variation
with Timofej Andrijashenko, Claudio Coviello, Marco Agostino and Gabriele Corrado
Friday 14 May at 19.00 CET Alessandra Ferri rehearses Manon's Act II variation
with Martina Arduino, Nicoletta Manni, Virna Toppi
During an extraordinary career, still in evolution, Alessandra Ferri has worked with the greatest choreographers of our time, who have cultivated her special qualities, first and foremost Kenneth MacMillan. When she arrived, very young, at the Royal Ballet, he immediately wanted her to interpret his ballets Romeo and Juliet, Mayerling, and Manon. Every step and every gesture of Manon is at the service of emotions to be lived intensely in order to be able to transmit them just as intensely to the public. Ferri has been a passionate and acclaimed Manon all over the world and at La Scala, ever since the ballet's premiere in 1994 with Julio Bocca, she has appeared with Thomas Edur, Manuel Legris, Massimo Murru as well as Roberto Bolle in the most recent performances in 2004 and 2005.
The role of Des Grieux has been important in Massimo Murru's artistic career since his debut in the role in 1994, when he was promoted to principal dancer. Murru has performed Des Grieux at La Scala from 1994 to 2011, with partners including Anita Magyari, Isabel Seabra and most memorably with Sylvie Guillem. After dancing it together at Covent Garden in 2002 on the tenth anniversary of MacMillan's death, they performed it together for the first time at La Scala in 2004 (with Anthony Dowell as Monsieur GM, who created the role of Des Grieux in 1974), and again in 2005 and 2011.
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.