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Carla Fracci and Dancers of the Rome Opera
Theater Ballet - 'Girotondo Romano'
by Patrizia Vallone
December 20, 2003
-- Teatro Nazionale, Rome
While the Rome Opera Theater's
ballet company was busy with "Swan Lake," its principals, soloists,
and director Carla Fracci were performing "Girotondo Romano"
at the Teatro Nazionale, a secondary venue of the Rome Opera, just a stone's
throw from the main house.
The plot of this ballet, created by Luciano Cannito to music by the late
Nino Rota -- celebrated composer of, among other works, many film scores,
including "The Leopard," the "Godfather" series, and
Fellini's movies -- is based on Arthur Schnitzler's "Reigen"
(many will know Max Ophüls’ 1950 movie "La Ronde"). Cannito
moved the story to a gay and colorful Rome of the 1950s-1960s, with all
its most typical and famous spots.
The prostitute Cabiria -- Carla Fracci -- meets a soldier, who in turn
meets a maid, who meets a young gentleman, and so forth. All the characters
are in love with somebody who doesn't want them, and each is loved by
someone they don't want.
The ballet is therefore a succession of neoclassical-style pas de deux
interspersed with appearances by Cabiria, who, being expert in the ways
of the world, tries to console the abandoned women.
A ballet made up almost exclusively of pas de deux is certainly very risky;
monotony is always lurking around the corner. Nonetheless, Cannito has
succeeded in personalizing each character with appropriate steps and gestures;
their personalities are drawn with irony and a humorous enhancement of
their weaknesses and tics. Though they are all suffering for love, there
is never sadness or melancholy, only a smile. Steps and lifts are all
original, and we don’t have that stuffy déjà vu feeling that afflicts
a lot of contemporary choreography. The ballet proceeds very smoothly
with bright rhythm, and keeps our curiosity sharp.
The casting couldn't have been better; each dancer was perfectly at ease,
and the parts were a perfect fit. All were so skilled, endearing, and
funny that they deserve to be mentioned by name: Silvia Curti (The Maid),
Flavia Feliziani (The Wife), Laura Comi (The Fake Young Girl), Tiziana
Lauri (The Actress with Elocution Problems), Gaia Straccamore (The Young
Duchess), Riccardo Di Cosmo (The "Bersagliere" Soldier), Alessandro
Tiburzi (The Young Gentleman), Guido Pistoni (The Husband), Manuel Paruccini
(The Poet), Mario Marozzi (The Movie Star) and Alfonso Paganini (The Minister).
Nino Rota's music, arranged by Tonino Esposito and performed live by the
Girotondo Ensemble, is beautiful and seductive. Mauro Gioia, as the Waiter,
was always onstage, holding the story's threads together and singing the
famous Roman songs with a warm and suave voice. Maria Filippi's very colorful
costumes and Maurizio Varamo's witty sets contributed to the ballet's
Edited by Lori Ibay
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