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Alessandra Ferri to retire as principal dancer of ABT


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Official release:

ALESSANDRA FERRI TO RETIRE AS PRINCIPAL DANCER WITH AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE.

Final Performance Scheduled for June 23, 2007 with Guest Artist Roberto Bolle.

Principal Dancer Alessandra Ferri has announced she will retire from American Ballet Theatre following a 22-year career with the Company. She will dance her final performance in the role of Juliet in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet on Saturday evening, June 23, 2007 at the Metropolitan Opera House. In her final bow as Juliet, Ferri will dance opposite Guest Artist Roberto Bolle as Romeo.

Ferri was born in Milan, Italy and studied at Teatro alla Scala until the age of 15 when she joined The Royal Ballet School. Ferri joined The Royal Ballet in 1980 and danced leading roles in The Sleeping Beauty, The Two Pigeons, Swan Lake, Mayerling, the title role in Manon and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She created roles in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Valley of Shadows and A Different Drummer, as well as Anna in Seven Deadly Sins. She danced Odette in Franco Zeffirelli’s Swan Lake in Milan, and the title role in Roland Petit’s Carmen with the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet).

Ferri joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1985. Her roles with the Company include the title role in Anastasia, Nikiya in La Bayadère, the pas de deux from Roland Petit’s Carmen, Titania in The Dream, Katherine in Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII, The Accused in Fall River Legend, the Glove Seller in Gaîté Parisienne, the title roles in Giselle and Manon, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, Tatiana in Onegin, the pas de deux Other Dances, the Youngest Sister in Pillar of Fire, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, a featured role in Sinfonietta, Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, the leading role in Some Assembly Required, the Sylph in La Sylphide, the leading role in Les Sylphides and Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew.

A permanent guest artist with La Scala in Milan, Ferri has also appeared with the Ballet National de Marseille in Roland Petit’s Le Diable Amoreux, which Petit created especially for her. Other guest appearances have included the role of Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet with National Ballet of Canada, Manon with Kirov Ballet, Blanche Du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Tatiana in Onegin and Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew with Stuttgart Ballet, and the title role in Roland Petit’s Carmen and Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris with Paris Opera Ballet. She has also appeared with the National Theatre of Tokyo, the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

Ferri won the Prix de Lausanne in 1980 and the Sir Laurence Olivier Award in 1982 (for her role in Valley of Shadows). In 2005, Ferri celebrated her 20th year with ABT. In the same year, she received the honor of Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana by the President of the Italian Republic.

Guest artist Roberto Bolle, Ferri’s partner for her final performances with American Ballet Theatre, has been a Resident Guest Artist at La Scala since 1998. Bolle trained at Teatro alla Scala and joined La Scala Ballet in 1994. He was promoted to principal dancer with the company in 1996. His repertory at La Scala includes The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Bayadère (Makarova), Giselle (Guillem), Le Spectre de la Rose, Romeo and Juliet, Onegin and Apollon Musagète, among others. The 2007 Metropolitan Opera House season marks Bolle’s first appearance with American Ballet Theatre.

In addition to Ferri’s performance as Juliet on June 23, she is scheduled to dance Desdemona in Othello and the title role in Manon.

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Alessandra has danced with other ABT-ers besides Julio. Am I the only one who thinks her importing of Bolle is a snub to the ABT's men?

I think it is, just a bit - even though she may have danced with Bolle more than any of the current ABT men. Apparently, he has also danced Manon with Ferri, AND Makarova's La Bayadare with Zakharova. Hmmm.

I had always hoped to see Ferri and Gomes in Romeo and Juliet. Or Ferri and Stiefel. I guess it just ain't gonna be.

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Alessandra has danced with other ABT-ers besides Julio.
Do retired ABT men count? Long ago she danced with Baryshnikov (eg., in the Dancers film). Perhaps he could be persuaded to join her for a reprise of a bit of Sonnambula.
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I remember her mentioning at a Spotlight Seminar in 2005 that right after her last Romeo and Juliet with Julio, she danced a Romeo with Robert Bolle in Covent Garden, which was "really hard". Then she said something about Bolle being a beautiful dancer whom New York really should see at some point... maybe this is his op? He is much younger than her, could be a sort of "passing the torch" thing, I don't know...

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Did Ferri ever dance Romeo & Juliet with Angel Corella at ABT? Certainly they danced it together at La Scala. There's a DVD to prove it.

My own feeling is that Roberto Bolle is too tall for her. He may be the biggest dance star in Italy, and it's very nice of her to introduce him to New York audiences (that bit at the Turin Olympics didn't really show him off that well since the cameramen didn't have the slightest idea of how to film dance), but I have a sneaking suspicion they're not all that compatible physically.

I'd very much like to hear the opinion of those who have seen them dance together.

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This is such sad news. Romeo & Juliet is not one of my favorite ballets but each year I go to see Ferri in it at least once, each time thinking that it could be my last chance to see her in the role. It's very sad to think that this year really will be the last time.

I don't blame her too much for bringing her own partner for her farewell. I saw her with Corella a couple of years ago and really liked them together. Last year I saw her with Carreno and didn't think she had a great rapport with him. I bet she'd be great with Stiefel or Gomes but who knows what it would take for her to work on this with a new partner, or even whether either of them would be available. I have no knowledge of the inner workings of a ballet company but I imagine that coordinating schedules & rehersal time can be a monumental undertaking. All things considered I think it makes sense for her to dance this last performance with a partner she knows well rather than trying to work with someone less familiar.

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Ok, now I'm starting to feel old...all the "stars" of my most fervent live viewings of ABT are now retired or retiring. It's very strange to have seen them at the beginning of their careers at ABT, and then have a big blank period (10yrs) when I lived too remote from NYC or tour cities to catch them and had to rely on even more infrequent PBS airings or very expensive/rare videos. And now, when I can finally go to performances on a more regular basis, they are all leaving!

After seeing Eagling and Parke at Covent Garden in R&J, I was curious to see the young Macmillan muse, Alessandra Ferri. And of course, understood immediately why she inspired Macmillan and her audiences. But though her gorgeous anatomy, ineffable grace, and supreme dramatic abilities will always be remembered, it's the other smaller performances I remember most...

Like the one (and maybe only?) time I saw her do Act II of Swan Lake (I think Blair's staging) for ABTin L.A.--except for Gregory, I have never seen more graceful pdbs and arms (and that includes Makarova and Plisetskaya), especially in that first entrance. If the technique wasn't perfect throughout, I also thought it could have been nerves, and gave her points for at least trying.

I also remember the first Fall River Legend and the starkness of her face visible from even 3 balconies away. She drew all emotion and eyes to her and then reflected back Borden's tortured soul underneath. There was a stunned silence when the performance ended. And then, of course, the ovations began.

Unfortunately, except for that very early viewing, I've never had the opportunity to see her Juliet in live performance since. So thank the video gods her artistry in that role has been preserved full-length at least twice on video (now DVD), and the balcony and bedroom pdds with Bocca on PBS if memory serves. And maybe this time, I'll be able to see her next June.

Now I really must run and get a tissue.

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This day was bound to come eventually, but it's still inexpressibly sad news :clapping:

Yes, I was sad to hear this too. It's odd but earlier this week, since my mind was on ABT and it's rep (because of the CC season) I was wondering if next Spring/Summer would be Ferri's last with ABT.

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Alessandra has danced with other ABT-ers besides Julio. Am I the only one who thinks her importing of Bolle is a snub to the ABT's men?

Not necessarily. Bolle has expressed his strong desire to dance with ABT or NYCB. His New York debut with the Royal Ballet at the Met meant a great deal to him because it was the best chance to score an invitation. So if this is the last chance Ferri can make that happen for her friend, then why not? Here the quote from the Bolle interview on the eve of RB's visit to the Met:

Are there any companies left with whom he hasn't danced but would like to? "Oh yes. I would love to dance with American Ballet Theatre or New York City Ballet….I would love to dance with one of the NY companies. I am going there now for the first time with the RB, and I am very glad I'm going with them because I feel part of them and feel comfortable with them, so that will make my NY debut a bit easier. Maybe someone will see me and invite me to dance with them."

Full interview: http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_04/ju...rview_bolle.htm

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I'm so grateful that I saw her dance Juliet (about a year ago at the MET). She gave one of the rare performances I see that evokes a genuine emotional reaction. Absolutely stunning. All I could see was Juliet...I can't even give any technical details of her performance. Just that she embodied the character and was 100% perfect.

I've had the fortune of seeing her in class a number of times and actually dancing right next to her at the barre. Very gracious, lovely, and friendly. Best wishes to her.

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Truly sorry to see her go... would love to read reviews of the final performance, if anyone gets to see it.

I applaud her incomparable career, and am thankful for all that she gave for all these years; this is sad :( , but certainly well deserved. Great job, and good luck! :(:(

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Well, 4mrdncer, if that makes you feel old, it makes me feel real ancient.

For my (then) very young daughters I had collected a few video tapes on my very first video. One of those films was a documentary about the Royal Ballet School. Ferri as a young pupil did a short solo and you could see already then that she had enormous talent. The steps were fairly simple, it was a rather wistful romantic dance, but how she came across, and that on TV. Much to my regret I have never seen her in real life.

At the moment I am in the process of editing all my ballet videos, putting it on DVD in stead - much of it bits and pieces I have recorded from the TV. A lot will be scrapped as being of no interest any more, but some old stuff will be for ever treasured. F.ex. I have nearly all of the EBU competitions - it is wonderful to look back and see how some dancers have developped.

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I just purchased my tickets for the ABT Spring series and this includes two Mannon performances, One with Ferri (6/14) and one with Vishneva (6/12). I doubt my wife will want to go to ballet 2x in one week... but who knows??? Depending on which one she chooses I could have an extra ticket for one of the perfomances. Anyone interested please contact me. I suspect she will choose Ferri, but who knows...

Thinking of you....

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I just purchased my tickets for the ABT Spring series and this includes two Mannon performances, One with Ferri (6/14) and one with Vishneva (6/12). I doubt my wife will want to go to ballet 2x in one week... but who knows??? Depending on which one she chooses I could have an extra ticket for one of the perfomances. Anyone interested please contact me. I suspect she will choose Ferri, but who knows...

Thinking of you....

Where is your seat for Vishneva? I might be interested, if it's a very good seat.

Also, do they already let you "make your own series" or did you just purchase two different series with a Manon in each one?

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aahh, yet again I am very behind in news. I have never seen her live, wishing I could have in R+J in particular. She has always appealed to me because of her gorgeous line and especially her emotional performance. The only clip I have of her is the wonderful R+J Bedroom PDD with Wayne Eagling. Oh, how I love her. I looked at ABT's schedule and it seems they won't be in CA until mid-July. I guess I'll never see her.... :wink:

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Sadly you are correct, Artist. I'd hoped this would be like Julio Bocca's retirement last summer, just ABT-specific (indeed, America will see him soon on tour). But La Republica reported on March 19 that her last performance at La Scala would be on March 30, and the ABT retirement of June 23 would be her final final one, as her plans primarily revolved about her children. From a review of her final Italian performance on March 30:

Milan: La Scala, the Farewell of Alessandra Ferri, her last official appearance, ... in the dramatic leading role of Dame aux Camelias[John Neumeier]. She, in this intense performance with Roberto Bolle and directed by John Neumeier received a "double" standing ovation and a true rain of flowers. Affected until tears from the applause from the public, the etoile embraced partner Roberto Bolle and from the theater box received warm thanks from supervisor Stephane Lissner: “We do not succeed to imagine our location without the name of Alessandra Ferri to cover the place of honor under the title, to ignite the passion of the public one more time to see her on display. Many years of art and passion are in our memory, gone, but will not be forgotten.”

Please forgive my weak Italian translation: From Radio Lombardia, with photo:

http://www.radiolombardia.it/rl/newsl.do?id=20678

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Just for information.

A farewell gala for Alessandra Ferri will be held on August 2nd,3rd and 6th in Tokyo.

Ferri will be dancing the balcony scene from R&J with Roberto Bolle and extracts from Giselle act 2 and some more which is not annouced yet.

http://www.ferri-bolle.jp/ (Japanese page)

You can see some photos of Ferri in La Scala although the page is in Japanese.

http://www.fujitv.co.jp/events/ferri-bolle/special.html

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Just for information.

A farewell gala for Alessandra Ferri will be held on August 2nd,3rd and 6th in Tokyo.

Ferri will be dancing the balcony scene from R&J with Roberto Bolle and extracts from Giselle act 2 and some more which is not annouced yet.

...

Wow! Japan is really doing it right! Thanks for the information, naomikage. I hope you will be able to attend, and, PLEASE, if you do , WRITE ABOUT IT ON BT!!!

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Just for information.

A farewell gala for Alessandra Ferri will be held on August 2nd,3rd and 6th in Tokyo.

Ferri will be dancing the balcony scene from R&J with Roberto Bolle and extracts from Giselle act 2 and some more which is not annouced yet.

...

Wow! Japan is really doing it right! Thanks for the information, naomikage. I hope you will be able to attend, and, PLEASE, if you do , WRITE ABOUT IT ON BT!!!

Some others are added. Jose Manuel Carreno, Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes will also appear in this gala, along with Alexxander Riabko and Silvia Azzioni from Hamburg Ballet and Robert Tewsley.

I have bought all three tickets!

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