Carla Fracci

(b. 1936)

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(b Milan, 20 Aug. 1936)

Italian dancer and director. She studied at the La Scala Ballet School from 1946 with V. Volkova and others, graduating into the company in 1954. In 1956 she was promoted soloist and in 1958 principal, becoming established as Italy's leading ballerina but also as the first Italian dancer to win an international reputation in the 20th century. Among the roles she created at La Scala were Juliet in Cranko's Romeo and Juliet (1958) and Elvira in Massine's Don Giovanni (1959). She also guested widely around Italy and appeared with many companies abroad, including London Festival Ballet (1959 and 1962), Royal Ballet (1963), Stuttgart Ballet (1965), and Royal Swedish Ballet (1969), and from 1967 was also a principal guest artist with American Ballet Theatre. Her greatest role was Giselle which she danced with many partners including Nureyev, Vasiliev, Kronstam, Baryshnikov, and above all Bruhn with whom she filmed the work in 1969. She was also renowned for her interpretation of other romantic roles, in which she was compared to Taglioni. In 1964 she married the theatre director Beppe Menegatti with whom she formed the occasional touring company Carla Fracci and Dancers. Menegatti also produced many ballets with and for her, collaborating with choreographer Loris Gai in The Seagull (after Chekhov, 1968), Macbeth (1969), and The Stone Flower (1973), among others. In 1990 she danced a reconstruction of Duncan's solo Fate's Warning (chor. M. Hodson). She was director of ballet in Naples (1990–1) then in Verona (1995–7) where in 1996 she danced Karsavina's role in Hodson and Archer's reconstruction of Nijinsky's Jeux. In 2000 she was appointed director of La Scala Ballet, appearing with that company in Dec. 1999 in a revival of Manzotti's Excelsior, but shortly afterwards became director of the Rome Opera Ballet, consolidating that company's classical repertory and performing as occasional character dancer. She appeared as Karsavina in Ross's 1980 film Nijinsky and her television film, An Hour with Carla Fracci, won the Goldon Rose of Montreux in 1973. She was a recipient of the Leopardo d'oro in 1959.

Subjects: Dance.

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