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"Signora Beretta"

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I read in Tamara Karsavina's book "Theatre Street" that she once went to take class with a "Signora Beretta" who had been a great star of La Scala. There is no other hint on the biography as to her background - only she mentions some photos where this signora was correctly placed on pointes. Karsavina also mentions that her classes were very demanding physically.

Anyone knows who this dancer was?



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in haste a few mentions in nypl dance catalogue:

Beretta, Caterina, 1840-1911.

Karsavina, Tamara.

Title :Carissima maestra: a memoir of Signora Beretta.

The dancing times. London. Nov 1964, p 66-67. illus, port

Manzotti, Luigi, 1835-1905.

Title :Sport; ballo in sei quadri di Luigi Manzotti, con musica di Romualdo Marenco e figurini di Alfredo Edel, colle riduzioni ed innovazioni lasciate dall'autore, Milano, Teatro alla Scala, stagione 1905-06.

Milano, G. Ricordi [1906?]

Notes :Scenario.

:Choreography by Manzotti reproduced by Ettore Coppini; scenery by Angelo Parravicini, Vittorio Rota, Mario Sala, and Carlo Songa.

:Caterina Beretta listed as director of the ballet school.

[Vêpres siciliennes. Libretto. Italian.]

Title :Giovanna de Guzman; opera in cinque atti, musica del maestro Giuseppe Verdi... da rappresentarsi all'i. r. Teatro alla Scala nel carnevale e quaresima 1855-56. Milano, Ricordi [1855?] 52 p. 18 cm.

Libretto by Augustin Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier.

Incidental ballets performed with the opera and list of dancers on p. [3]: Act II, Danza nazionale portoghese; Act III, Le quatro stagioni. A brief description of the first ballet, Danza nazionale portoghese, on p. 20-21; a brief description of the second ballet, Le quattro stagione, on p. 30. Scenery for the ballets by G. Carraro; costumes by Giacomo Colombo and Luigi Zamperoni.

Caterina Beretta danced the role of Autunno.

[simon Boccanegra. Libretto. Italian.]

Title :Simon Boccanegra; libretto in un prologo e tre atti di Francesco Maria Piave, musica del maestro cav. Giuseppe Verdi, da rappresentarsi al Teatro Regio di Torino, il carnevale 1864-65. Milano, Napoli, Ricordi. [1864?] 40, 14 p. 18 cm.

List of dancers and other persons connected with the ballet, Salammbô, based on Flaubert's Salammbô, on p. 3 (second section). Music by Paolo Giorza; choreography by Lorenzo Vienna.

Caterina Beretta-Viena danced the title role.

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I looked up the Dancing Times article mentioned by rg - it is one of a series of 8 written by Karsavina about the teachers she worked with. I don't have my copy of Theatre Street to hand but I think these were specially written rather than extracts from the book.

There is an enchanting drawing of Beretta as Autumn in Les Vepres Siciliennes in 1855, but there's not much about her career - the article is entirely about the three months Karsavina spent taking classes from her in Milan in 1907. The classes were certainly hard work - Karsavina fainted in the middle of the barre on her first day!She came away feeling both her technique and her stamina had been greatly improved.

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