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Anastasia

“As Anastasia at all stages of womanhood, Viviana Durante the immaculate dancer proves also to be Durante the unsurpassable actress. The show is hers.” — Jenny Gilbert, Independent on Sunday

“For the ballerina, Anastasia is a triumph. Viviana Durante…travelled from purity to horror on opening night. Haunted by memory, her grotesquely pained limbs desperately seeking a secure toehold, Durante’s Anna Anderson was a tour de force of excoriating dance-drama.” — Debra Craine, The Times

“Viviana Durante’s extraordinary performance…. In Acts One and Two she is predictably delightful, but in Act Three, where her flayed body is either screaming with anger or locked into catatonic misery she appears both helplessly tiny and emotionally immense. It was worth reviving the ballet just to see her push to such extremes.” — Judith Mackrell, The Independent

“Anastasia is insanely glorious… Viviana Durante was deeply impressive.” — Ismene Brown, Daily Telegraph

“Durante danced on the first night: joyous, flirtatious, lyrical, and then…devastatingly moving.” — David Dougill, The Sunday Times

 

La Bayadere

“The critics drooled over the performance of the 31-year-old principal ballerina, mentioning her “superb form”, “outstanding talent”, and the purity of line and instinctive musicality that make her “one of the world’s leading dancers.” — Jan Moir, Daily Telegraph

 

Giselle

“Something special happened at the Opera House, Covent Garden on Tuesday. There were queues and ‘house full’ signs in Bow Street, standing room only inside and a rare buzz of anticipation…. Most experts realised Viviana Durante was born to dance Giselle. But few were ready for the impact of her first performances. Not only is she ideally equipped physically with a dark beauty and expressive technique, but she represents a new breed of dancer in Britain who enhance their performances with a quality not normally associated with ballet dancers – intelligence. Her portrayal…is an essay in clarity and reality…when she sees her lover kiss his true fiancée, it is a blow that strikes a painful echo in the heart of every watcher. And each shiver of her descent into madness is an implacable process impossible to disbelieve…Here is the making of a truly great Giselle. And for the first time in a generation, a home-grown dancer shows a quality deeper and truer than just her schooling. But Viviana Durante is not another Fonteyn, nor another Sibley. She is the future of ballet in Britain. Something to be proud of.” — Jeffery Taylor, The Mail on Sunday

“Durante reveals more beautiful things about her technique. Her dreamy airborne hops are soundlessly light; the whole demeanour of her neck, shoulders and arms is instinctively romantic and her arabesque has the exquisite inevitability of a perfectly tuned string.” — Judith Mackrell, The Independent

“Viviana Durante, a guest from the Royal Ballet in Britain, made her New York debut as Giselle on Saturday night, and through the amazing power of her technique’s expressiveness, she triumphed along with her Albrecht, a fiercely Romantic José Manuel Carreño.” — Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times

 

The Judas Tree

“With Durante we see a girl whose sexual bravado and street-smart personality are a mere shell which is shattered by her terrible suffering… The interpretations given by Durante, Mukhamedov, Nunn and their colleagues in The Judas Tree are magnificent.” — Clement Crisp, Financial Times

“Viviana Durante is mesmerizing as the ambivalent victim who is eventually tied up in knots in the typical MacMillan central pas de deux.” — Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times

 

Manon

“Viviana Durante and Irek Mukhamedov in MacMillan’s Manon is a partnership of such magnetic potency that it is worth an extra penny on anybody’s income tax. They create a personal drama of such gripping emotional conflict that the audience leaves dazed and elated.” — Jeffrey Taylor, Sunday Express

“Viviana Durante could well be the definitive Manon. Delicate and mercurial, she makes Manon’s passions seem as natural as a kitten’s. Her dancing is carefree, yet beautifully controlled.” — Allen Robertson, Daily Mail

“Mukhamedov sparked from Durante a performance of extraordinary reckless intensity, the lovely dancer turned dangerous, volatile actress.” — Judith Mackrell, The Independent 

“The elfin Viviana Durante enchanted as the tragic heroine Manon in the Royal Ballet’s wonderful production last night. Men in the audience were professing love for the waif-like ballerina who makes Manon’s fate compelling drama.” — Daily Express

“There was hardly a dry eye in the house last night as the glamorous Viviana Durante gave a heart-breaking performance as the bad girl Manon. She was dazzling, giving her best in a virtuoso display of dramatic dancing that showed precisely why she’s prized as one of our most thrilling ballerinas.” — James Belsey, Evening Post

“Viviana Durante is physically perfect for the role of Manon and her interpretation has grown with the years. There is a suggestion of innocence in that oddly exotic, tip-tilted face contradicted by wicked eyes and a wide, almost predatory smile. Although pathalogically slim, her tiny body is a mass of curves from the gorgeous lines of her calves and feet to her unusually voluptuous torso. She is completely irresistible to every man on the stage… In the brothel-scene sarabande the music takes a sinuous, oriental turn as she is passed from one client to the next, her head thrown back as she inhales their desire like some healing vapour. By Act III, Manon has lost her taste for luxury and sin, and struggles in vain against the advances of Ashley Page’s jailer in the gratuitously revolting oral rape scene. In her final delirium Durante gave a grandstanding performance, her eyes stretched wide like a woman on the very brink of damnation. After a prolonged ovation, she left the building with more lilies than she could carry. Durante’s latest appearances with the Royal Ballet have been on a guest contract only and this Thursday’s Manon is her last scheduled appearance. You would be a fool to miss it.” — Louise Levene, Daily Telegraph

 

Mayerling

“Viviana Durante,  the revelation of the night, imposed herself in the role of Marie Vetsera through the intensity of her acting and the perfection of her technique. She subjugated the audience with the finesse of her line, the vigour and the precision of her dancing, her rapidity and her virtuosity….” — René Sirvin, Le Figaro

“With her long legs slicing or winding around her partner, she danced with phenomenal fluency while her deeply arched back created many of the striking shapes within the difficult partnering.” — Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times

 

The Nutcracker

“Durante positively glowed and brought glamour and artistry to what is one of the oddest roles in the repertoire. In such hands the Sugar Plum even looks incredibly significant. She is one of the best dancers in the world….” — Bruce Marriott, Ballet Magazine

 

Ondine

“Thank heaven for Viviana Durante. With her in the title role, at least there was one person on stage (and by far the most important one) who knew what she was doing in the Royal Ballet’s revival of Ondine. Her role is as a water nymph who ventures onto dry land and unintentionally brings about the death of the man who falls in love with her. Not the last word in realism; but this is by no means a fairy tale, rather a medieval romance. It needs real conviction to work, and Durante finds this…. She certainly dances the role beautifully, rising to a full sense of tragedy at the end…. Structurally it is not a straight drama, but a kind of concerto for ballerina and company. She must shine out against the heavy background, and Durante did, with a bright grace and purposefulness.” — John Percival, The Independent

“Viviana Durante is a ravishing Ondine, unfathomable, her arms wafting like seaweed, her dark eyes burning. Glimmering in transparent sea-green, with her long black hair caught by something glittery and strange, she is both a fabulous mermaid and also a girl who gave her heart where society said she shouldn’t. Her haunting slippery pas de deux with Inaki Urlezaga – a noble Palemon – rang with a sense of universal tragedy.” — Ismeme Brown, Daily Telegraph

 

Rhapsody

“ ‘Rhapsody’ was Ashton’s showcase for Baryshnikov and no one since has matched the way he insoucicantly shrugged off the technical feats. But when Viviana Durante made her debut in the ballerina role last October, she claimed the ballet as her own. With brilliance of attack melting into lyrical, languorous curves, she not only brought out subtle tonalities in the choreography but projected a quality often lacking in Royal Ballet dancers these days: allure.” — Matt Wolf, The Guardian

 

Romeo and Juliet

“Ms. Durante’s beautifully arched and stretched body, the ease of her approach and the creamy fluidity of her dancing were the highlights of the evening.” — Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times

 

The Sleeping Beauty

“As Princess Aurora, Viviana Durante was on dazzling technical form, the balances of the Rose Adage executed with breathtaking poise and assurance…It is a long time since I saw this infamous technical hurdle surmounted with such grace and apparent ease…” — Edward Thorpe, Evening Standard

“The stunning dancing with which Viviana Durante’s Aurora triumphed in the Rose Adagio, the ballet’s most famous set piece… the turning point was Ms. Durante’s superbly musical Rose Adagio, embellished with the longest-held balances on one leg in recent memory… Given this artifical world, the dancers must project more strongly than usual. Miss Durante, who has grown into a true ballerina since the Royal last visited New York in 1991, did so through stunning technique and firmly centered dancing… her Rose Adagio was one of the best in years, building up to an exciting crescendo.” — Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times

“The whole engagement became a veritable showcase for Viviana Durante, who was starred, at least once, in every ballet shown, and who started and ended the season with a Princess Aurora of a radiance so glistening it challenged history and memory both.” — Clive Barnes, Dance Magazine (US)

 

Swan Lake

“A young ballet dancer, dramatically transformed from a cygnet into a swan, provided a fairytale ending to the Royal Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake. Viviana Durante was plucked from the corps and thrust into the spotlight to dance the demanding role of the Swan Queen after principal ballerina Maria Almeida injured herself on stage at Covent Garden. Miss Durante, 20, had never before danced the part that is said to be the peak of any ballerina’s aspirations. But at the close, despite having to be talked through some of the movements, she earned a massive ovation from a delighted audience who rained flowers on her. And there was an enormous bouquet from director Anthony Dowell, who picked Miss Durante from the rest of the cygnets.” — Suzanne O’Shea, Daily Mail

“Fragile and fearless, the 24-year-old Durante delivered an exquisitely musical and exceptionally dramatic performance, and her energy and magic seemed to inspire the other dancers as well, so the company closed amid well-deserved bravos and cheers. Durante’s technical power is unexpected because of her frail frame. Though her dancing throughout was strong – her turns in the second act were as smooth as a marble spinning on glass – the technique was always at the service of the drama. Durante changed her look and line from act to act: dazzled to dazzling, her body yielding or taut, her dancing warm or sparkling, depending on what she needed to convey.” — Alexandra Tomalonis, The Washington Post

“Brilliant…virtuoso…exquisitely presented…glittering pyrotechnics…crisp precision and an acute musical sensibility…” — Edward Thorpe, Evening Standard

“The quality of the dancing was everything we had come to expect from this exceptionally gifted young woman. A very sound technique gives her a head start: no problems with the famous fouettés for instance, simply 28 done strongly and cleanly, at an absolutely steady pace, followed by a multiple pirouette as a grace note to the sequence. But what is more to the point is how she uses her technique, shading the movement from a creamy gentle quality to a sharp emphasis, at the prompting of the music or the dramatic situation. There is a lovely confidence about this already, and the promise of more to come.” — John Percival, The Times

 

Profiles

“Viviana Durante has everything it takes to become one of the great ballerinas: passion, technique and that little something extra…. For a ballerina to achieve greatness, her impact must be more profound and penetrating than just the sum of her schooling. Having that extra magical element has already made Viviana Durante a star. At 5ft 2in she appears a tiny, fragile figure, her long raven locks framing a madonna-like face. Now aged 27, she brings to each role a dramatic illumination that will soon, assuredly, place her among the ranks of the world’s great dancers. Last summer in New York, when she performed Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, one critic wrote that she evoked Fonteyn and Sibley. With seemingly effortless technique she took amazing risks in the ballet’s famous set piece, and enthralled audiences with her prolonged balances on one leg. It is this ability to extend the limits of her performance that shines out in Durante. Her versatility is far-ranging. She has the tensile strength required for Balanchine, the sparkle and delicacy needed for Frederick Ashton, and the sensuality and sexual charge that the late Kenneth MacMillan desired.” — June Ducas, Sunday Telegraph Magazine

“At first glance she’s the small conventional ballerina type, but once Viviana Durante, 26, takes centre stage – she transforms. The drama and the tragedy of her heroines, Giselle, Manon and Ondine, are expressed in her dark exotic eyes and a sweep of her famous “liquid arms” are enough to establish why she has been singled out as the Margot Fonteyn of tomorrow.” — Marquesa de Varela, Hello

“When she dances, Viviana Durante is like a beguiling small bird. She’s tiny and darkly attractive, with seductive eyes and dazzling smile that entice and disarm with their warmth and charm. In the fiercely competitive world of ballet she is hailed as the name of the Nineties, a star in the true sense, and in five years has shot from ballet student to cygnet in the corps of Swan Lake to principal dancer with the Royal Ballet ready to capture the world.” — Geoffrey Aquilina-Ross, FHM

“It is this talent of ‘losing herself’ that has lately transfixed her audience as they watch her fill the stage with a rare, lyrical spirit, brilliantly demonstrated earlier this year in Manon at the Royal Opera House. Here, she showed an extraordinary sympathy with Irek Mukhamedov as they danced a ravishingly sensual love duet in the first act. She has since added more tensile strength to her nymph-like physique and technique, picking her way through her steps in Les Biches on pointes like steel knitting needles, and harnessing renewed confidence and technical precision in Scènes de ballet. It is not every dancer who can enchant her audience into a state of willing suspension of disbelief…” — Sarajane Hoare, Vogue

“From the moment she shot to attention in the middle – literally – of a performance of Swan Lake in 1988, Durante has exhibited an amazing strength and versatility, underpinned by an impeccable technique and a quiet virtuosity, that have marked her out as a prima ballerina. In roles such as Manon, Juliet and Nikiya in La Bayadere, she has been revealed as a talented dance-actress, while her physical brilliance has been highlighted in abstract ballets by Balanchine, Ashton and MacMillan.” — Debra Craine, The Times

“At 28, she has mastered just about all that the Royal Ballet’s repertory can currently offer. In the classics, she is an immaculate technician of the utmost stylistic elegance; she can be cool in Balanchine, lyrical in Ashton, steamy in MacMillan. She has won the awards, she has wowed New York, she’s done the glossy magazine covers and the South Bank Show. Now the arrestingly beautiful Rome-born ballerina is preparing to face what will possibly be the final challenge of her career, when she takes the title-role in a major new production of MacMillan’s epic Anastasia.” — Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph 

“Durante became not only an exquisitely melancholy Giselle but, for many, the ideal Kenneth MacMillan ballerina, rifling through the lingerie drawers of emotion to bring us his troubling visions of women: sleazy Manon, tortured Anastasia, damaged Marie Vetsera, and the brutal role made for her in The Judas Tree, in which she was simultaneously Mary Magdalene and a victim of murderous gang rape…. By the early 1990s she was MacMillan’s best girl, soaring on the back of her fabled partnership with the outstanding Russian Irek Mukhamedov…. The sort of chemical bonding that occurred between them when MacMillan first put them together in Manon a decade ago is remarkably rare. In 25 years the Royal Ballet mustered two legendary couples, Fonteyn and Nureyev and Sibley and Dowell. Undoubtedly the Durante-Mukhamedov partnership lit up the 1990s with something of the same explosive fire.” — Ismene Brown, Daily Telegraph

“A dramatic ballerina with a fiery Italian temperament and a British upbringing. This combination of extremes has helped to propel Durante to international stardom; a Royal Ballet principal since 1989, she was one of the company’s three top ballerinas… Now at the peak of her profession, Durante continues to seek new goals.” — Hilary Ostlere, Dance Magazine (US)