Rome Opera Ballet
Eleonora Abbagnato

Eleonora Abbagnato, principal at the Opéra de Paris and now head of the Rome opera house ballet company, honours the memory of Roland Petit

Sicilian-born Eleonora Abbagnato owes much to Roland Petit for her career as a ballerina. He helped her start while still very young and remained her life-long mentor. She was 18 when she entered the Opéra de Paris corps de ballet, but it was only at the age of 34 that she was appointed principal dancer... after a performance of Roland Petit's production of Carmen, in which she danced the title role that evening. Last spring, she was appointed head of the Rome Opera House ballet company. The ballet La Chauve-Souris  by Roland Petit dates from 1979 and was created for the Ballets de Marseille company. Throughout his life, Roland Petit had close ties with the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, where he set up his first company at the age of 20 and where he presented this ballet that same year, in 1979, with his muse, Zizi Jeanmaire, in the title role. It is a fitting twist of history that La Chauve-Souris returns to this stage with such a good fairy as Eleonora Abbagnato.

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