Italy’s Carla Fracci, La Scala prima ballerina, dies at 84

MILAN – Carla Fracci, an Italian cultural icon and former La Scala prima ballerina renowned for passionate roles alongside this kind of greats as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, died Thursday at her dwelling in Milan. She was 84.

Milan’s Teatro alla Scala introduced her loss of life without the need of offering a induce. Italian news reports mentioned she had been combating most cancers.

The Milan theater recalled the “fairytale rise” of the daughter of a tram driver who by way of “talent, obstinance and work became the most famous ballerina in the planet” and encouraged generations of young people today.

“Carla Fracci was a cardinal figure in the historical past of dance and that of La Scala, but also a place of reference for the city of Milan and Italian lifestyle,” the theater claimed in a statement.

“She leaves us in amazement, on tiptoe like Giselle, a spirit that continues to be with us, filling the ballrooms, the stage and our hearts,″ claimed La Scala’s ballet director, Manuel Legris. “We truly feel a great void that, at the very same time, helps make us sense entire and rich in all her heritage — which is the heritage of ballet — and privileged to have shared her art.”


Fracci was born in Milan on Aug. 20, 1936, and expended Entire world War II with relatives in the countryside to escape the frequent bombardment of the industrialized Lombardy cash. In a the latest interview with Sky TG24, Fracci explained her more youthful self as a “farmer,” who realized absolutely nothing of the theater or the environment of dance “much fewer those minimal shoes.”

But right after the war, an observer remarked on her “grace and musicality,” recommending she try out for La Scala’s academy.

She was acknowledged at age 10, using her father’s tram each individual working day to the academy, and graduated in 1954, at age 18. Her initially stage visual appeal was in 1955 with other graduating ballet pupils at the near of a staging of Bellini’s “La sonnambula” carried out by Leonard Bernstein, directed by Luchino Visconti and starting up Maria Callas.

She bought her 1st crack substituting for French dancer Violette Verdy in “Cinderella” the same year, and by 1958 experienced risen to the role of prima ballerina.


Her international fame quickly distribute, with invites to the Royal Competition Corridor, followed by doors opening in the United States, even even though remaining a central figure at La Scala. She was most determined with the role of “Giselle,” which she danced with Nureyev and Baryshnikov as nicely as Danish star Erik Bruhn.

Afterwards partners bundled La Scala’s personal Roberto Bolle, who remembered Fracci for her “human generosity.”

In 1969, Fracci obtained the Dance Magazine Award, regarded just one of the greatest prizes for a dancer.

Accomplishing for digicam as well as reside audiences, Fracci also played direct roles in the teleplay “Verdi” and the movie ”Nijinsky” by Herbert Ross. A bona fide Italian superstar, she routinely appeared on Italian television and was equally the darling of preferred publications.

Italy’s premier, Mario Draghi, named her “a terrific Italian,” and President Sergio Mattarella, claimed she experienced honored her country “with her magnificence and her artistic initiatives, the fruit of extreme get the job done.”


Fracci last danced at La Scala in 2000, in the job of Luce in “Excelsior.” She was invited again in January of this calendar year to instruct a masterclass on “Giselle,” which was broadcast on La Scala’s social media channels and is part of a documentary collection by RAI point out tv.

“It was quite going to be back again at La Scala, following additional than 20 a long time,” she advised Sky TG24.

La Scala’s common supervisor, Dominique Meyer, recalled her return to the theater as “an unforgettable moment for anyone.

“We will normally think of her with passion and gratitude, remembering the smile of the very last times we expended together, when she felt she had come household once more,” he explained.

Fracci is survived by her husband of 57 a long time, theater director Beppe Menegatti, and their son, Francesco Menegatti, who as a boy or girl normally traveled with his mother on tour.

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