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Virginia Zucchi

(1849—1930)


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(b Parma, 10 Feb. 1849; d Nice, 9 Oct. 1930)

Italian dancer and teacher. She studied with Blasis and Lepri in Milan, making her debut in Varese in 1864. She danced throughout Italy and at La Scala (1874–6, 1882–3); also at the Berlin Opera (1876–8), the Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden (1878), and Paris (1883). In 1885 she was invited to St Petersburg to appear at the relatively minor theatre, Kin Grust, and was so successful that she was transferred to the city's Mariinsky and Bolshoi theatres (1885–8). Russian audiences flocked to see her Italian-style virtuosity and although not a personal favourite of Petipa's, Zucchi was acclaimed for her performances in his ballets, including La Fille mal gardée, La Fille du Pharaon, Esmeralda, Paquita, and Coppélia. Her popularity helped to revitalize the public's interest in the ballet and she also helped in coaching students at the Imperial Ballet School. She danced in Moscow (1888) with her own company, and again in St Petersburg (1889 and 1892) but was otherwise in Europe, performing in Nice (1889, 1890) and at the Bayreuth Festival, where she produced the Venusberg scene in Wagner's Tannhäuser (1891). She made her debut at the Paris Opera in 1895 and performed for the last time in Milan in 1898. After retirement she opened a school in Monte Carlo.

Subjects: Dance.


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