Italian ballet superstar Roberto Bolle is a global sensation, as evidenced by his “Roberto Bolle and Friends” at the Florence Opera House this summer. Those friends included Taras Domitro of the San Francisco Ballet, Melissa Hamilton of the Royal Ballet in London, Misa Kuranaga of the Boston Ballet, Danil Simkin of American Ballet Theatre, Polina Semionova and Dinu Tamazlacaru of Staatsballett Berlin, Liudmila Konovalova of Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, and international guest artist Adiarys Almeida.

Roberto Bolle and Friends_Terme di Caracalla_Roma, 2016


Bolle is immensely popular in Italy. As the program notes say, “e riuscito ogni volta a ricreare per ognuno di questi appuntameniti uno spettacolo magico,” i.e., he has succeeded to recreate “a magical spectacle” at each performance.

To see these international stars performing pas de deux and excerpts from Edwaard Liang’s Wunderland, Petipa’s Carnevale di Venezia, Don Chisciotte, and Il Corsaro, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s La Pluie, and Ben van Cauwenbergh’s Les Bourgeois in the beautifully designed (and air-conditioned) Florence Opera House (l’Opera di Firenze) is a welcome cultural respite in an otherwise sweltering hot Florence in July.

Bolle, himself, performed – expertly, exquisitely, elegantly – in five pieces. He was stunning in the classic La Bayadere, animated in Robert Bondara’s contemporary Take Me With YOU, stylish in Roland Petit’s Carmen, imposing in Mauro Bigonzetti’s very modern Caravaggio, and transcendent in Massimiliano Volpini’s Rencontre.

As an ambassador of fine dance, exquisite dancers, and the need to support both, one could ask for little better. Bolle, as impresario and artistic director works his magic to bring leading stars, i.e., spectacular talent, on grueling tours to highlight the importance of the international language of dance. He brings together diverse styles, but also diverse schools – the elegant and the academic combine to produce a remarkable viaggio di emozioni (literally, a tour of the emotions, from the Program Notes) and a singularly dramatic, beautifully-executed spectacle. Bravo, Roberto!!!

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