The February 2022 edition of Dancing Times looks at two new productions that jumped through a few hurdles before finally getting before an audience: Jonathan Gray reviews English National Ballet's Raymonda, and I look at La Scala's La Bayadère.
With La Scala's enforced intermittent programming since Legris' arrival two years ago, the news that Nureyev's La Bayadère would open the 2021-2022 ballet season was welcomed apprehensively: after all, announcing a new production of a large-scale ballet during a predicted wave of Covid-19 was audacious. In fact, La Bayadère opened a week later than planned after several dancers were found to be positive, but the television cameras waited patiently for the planned recording, though the cancellations meant that there would be no opportunity to edit out errors. After the new opening night, the rest of the run was cancelled due to continuing infections.
Danza in Italia – Dancing Times, February 2022
At the end of January with six shades less coming down the ramp, 12 parrot dancers going down to eight and then six, and continually changing casts – Svetlana Zakharova brought Jacopo Tissi with her from the Bolshoi at the last minute to replace her Covid-positive partner – finally La Scala completed its run.
GD: Now you are settled into your status as a principal, how has the nature of your work changed?'
MS: It has been a humbling process. As a company dancer, it is easy to be blinded by the volume of work that you have with one production following another and sometimes several roles in each. Suddenly, as a principal, all your efforts are concentrated on maybe two or three performances of the highest standard with a vision of a role which is unique to you. You have to have more of a business-like approach to decide what it is you are going to do with it. To be honest, the journey becomes a lonely one. That said, you create deeper relationships with your coaches – I am really enjoying working closely with Edward Watson, for example.
Also, Craig Revel Horwood talks to Nicola Rayner about his new show, which opens next month (“I'm giving myself up and handing myself over to the audience to decide. It's about being brave and courageous about the whole thing and stripping yourself bare, showing people what I love to do.”), Laura Cappelle watches the Paris Opéra Ballet in Don Quixote and The Rite of Spring, David Jays sees Cabaret in the West End, and Igor Stupnikov applauds Angelin Preljocaj's version of Swan Lake in St Petersburg.
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.