Italy’s illustrious Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company will perform in Australia for the first time ever in its 240-year history, when it presents a season in Brisbane from November 7 ­to 18. Announced today by the Queensland Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch and Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones, the visit is part of the 2018 Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) International Series and is exclusive to Brisbane.

Nicoletta Manni as Kitri in Don Quixote. Photograph © Marco Brescia and Rudy Amisano 

The Company will perform two classic ballets: Rudolph Nureyev’s Don Quixote and a revival of Giselle by Yvette Chauviré, with music played live by Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Audiences will have the chance to see both productions in one weekend, between November 16 and 18.

The performance of Don Quixote on November 10 will be simulcast through the Live from the Lyric Queensland program so that people in regional Queensland can experience it. The 2018 tour will also include an extensive accompanying program of events called La Scala Plus.

Since its inception in 2009, the QPAC International Series has presented some of the world’s finest ballet companies including the Paris Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and The Royal Ballet.

Resident at La Scala in Milan, Teatro alla Scala is one of the world’s oldest and most renowned ballet companies. It was formed in 1788 but its history can be traced back to the Renaissance courts of Italy. The Company will bring 75 dancers to Australia, among them Principal Artists Nicoletta Manni and Claudio Coviello, where they will perform with a number of star guest artists including David Hallberg, Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre (who became the Australian Ballet’s first international resident guest artist in 2017), Leonid Sarafanov, Principal Dancer at Mikhailovsky Theatre, and Maria Eichwald, First Soloist at Stuttgart Ballet.

Manni will be partnered with Hallberg, and Eichwald with Coviello in Giselle, while Sarafanov will partner Manni in Don Quixote.

Nureyev’s Don Quixote is one of the signature pieces of Teatro alla Scala and will showcase sparkling choreography and virtuosic performances. Based on episodes from Cervantes’ classic novel and set to Ludwig Minkus’ magical score, Nureyev first staged the ballet for the Vienna State Opera in 1966. Transporting audiences to a bright, enchanting Spain, with gypsy dances, fandangos, matadors and windmills, the ballet has lost none of its charm and remains a crowd favourite. The Australian Ballet has a version by Nureyev in its repertoire.

Giselle. Photograph © Marco Brescia and Rudy Amisano

For Giselle, one of the great classic ballets with its tragic tale of unrequited love, betrayal and redemption, the Company performs the original Coralli-Perrot choreography in a revival by Yvette Chauviré, set to Adolphe Adam’s glorious score.

General Manager of Teatro alla Scala, Maria Di Freda, said the company’s tour to Brisbane was the cause of enormous pride and satisfaction. “It is our first ever presence in a theatre in Oceania and since Teatro alla Scala’s very first tour in 1878 to Paris, our activity abroad represents a real passion that has led us to stage opera, ballet and concert performances in 39 countries, comprising 152 projects and 841 curtain openings,” she said.

“The first contact with QPAC took place in 2012 with QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas. Today, finally, the work done over the last few years bears its fruit and we are ready for this new challenge. For our part, as we always do, we will make every effort to win over the public of Australia, a nation linked to Italy by very strong ties!”

Complementing the Company’s on-stage performances, there will be a program of events and activities including conversations, masterclasses, community participation projects, exhibitions, access to dress rehearsals for students and more under the banner of La Scala Plus. The program will also explore historical and contemporary Italian culture, and its impact and influence across multiple disciplines including fashion, design, food and film.


Don Quixote plays November 7 – 11, and 17; Giselle plays November 14 – 16, and 18. Tickets will go on sale to the general public from 9am on Thursday March 22 via qpac.com.au/lascala or 136 246

To access the presale, join the waitlist here