A Duel of a Sprite and a Bacchae

In 1982, it was the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer Daniel Auber, and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma ballet troupe decided to time the ballet to his music by this date. The theatre management turned to Pierre Lacotte – a connoisseur of vintage ballet and master of restorations. It was decided to bring back to life the lost ballet Marco Spadaor the Bandit’s Daughter by Joseph Mazilier.

dancers, Amalia Ferraris (1830–1904) and Carolina Rosati (1826–1905) starred in the Opera de Paris of the period, and the idea was to allow the talents of both of them to reveal at the same night. The plot of Auber‘s opera aſt er Eugène Scribe’s libretto of Marco Spada was the best solution to this problem.

The real intrigue of the show was the performance of the two main parts by leading ballerinas. The rehearsal process was very uneasy. Ferraris was sobbingand Rosati almost leſt for England on the eve of the premiere, although Joseph Mazilier was extremely cautious and tried not to favor any of the dancers, giving each an equal opportunity to express themselves. Only once the choreographer brought them together – in the scene when the Marchese (Ferrari) teaches Angela (Rosati) to dance. Critic St. Victor described the competition of the ballerinas as a “duel of wings and feet, body and spirit, of and flame of a Bacchae”.

Marco Spada took place 27 times. Pierre Lacotte, in fact, made a completely standalone production. It premiered very successfully. Magnifi cent scenery, characters which come to life, subtle choreography by Pierre Lacotte, participation of such stars as Rudolf Nureyev, ensured that Marco Spada was warmly welcomed and loved by viewers.

Staging the ballet for the Bolshoi Theatre, Pierre Lacotte promised to increase the number of characters in the new edition and the diversify dances for the corps de ballet of the Bolshoi Theatre – the theatre, which became “his second family” according to the choreographer. And he kept his word.