Carla Fracci: Art and Beauty
Most fragrances come into being due to fashion designers. They want something to accompany their fashions, and a fragrance is the perfect thing to do it. Others are actors or singers who want to impart some measure of their glamour or spirit to their fans. The scents from Carla Fracci are something different – the distillation of the some of the greatest performances and of some of the grace and beauty of one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Carla Fracci herself.
Carla Fracci is one of the most celebrated dancers of the 20th century. Many great classic ballets were danced by her, and she is known for adding an important man’s role to the ballet interpretation of Hamlet. Her dances have a certain magical quality, amazingly expressive, smooth, and light as air.
She was born in 1936, in Milan, Italy, and attended La Scala Ballet School starting in 1946. Another great dancer, Vera Volkova, was one of her contemporaries. She graduated from the school in 1954, and was made a soloist within two years, then principal in 1958. During her time at La Scala, she performed many great roles, including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Elvira in an interpretation of Don Giovanni as written by Massine.
Fracci danced with many of the most acclaimed companies in the world of ballet, including the London Festival Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, and the American Ballet Theater.
Her most remember contributions have been her romantic roles, which have granted her the nickname “The Legendary”. She danced the role of Giselle many times, with such partners as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Henning Kronstam, Rudolf Nureyev, Erik Bruhn, and Vladimir Vasiliev. Her performance of Giselle with Erik Bruhn was filmed and distributed in 1969. Other notable roles she has performed include Juliet, Sylphide, and Swanilda.
The Art of the Fragrance
Carla Fracci tried her hand at making perfumes in 2003, starting with a self-named perfume. Since then, she has designed six fragrances for women.
The first fragrance, Carla Fracci, was meant to capture the essence of the woman herself. This floral and feminine scent opens with ylang-ylang and tuberose, with a heart of jasmine, lily, and freesia, and a base of musk and vanilla. This light fragrance has an ethereal and fanciful quality, much like the dances of Carla Fracci herself.
A perfume based off one of Fracci’s most famous roles was launched in 2004 – Giselle. The role has a long and proud lineage going back to its creation and performance by Carlotta Grisi in 1841. As the story goes, Giselle is a beautiful and innocent peasant girl with a sweet heart and a talent for dancing. However, she has a weak heart, which prevents her from dancing as she’d like. In the course of the tale, she falls in love with a man who is engaged to another woman, and when she discovers this, her weak heart fails her and she dies. Death does not diminish her love, however. Her spirit is not vengeful, and does all it can to save her lover’s life. The perfume named after her is exquisitely floral, matching the beauty and innocence of the character.
One of the more unusual Carla Fracci fragrances was released in 2009 – black bottled Hamlet. Though it is named for the male protagonist of what may be the most famous of Shakespeare’s play, it is for a woman. Indeed, the perfume is exquisitely feminine, with certain contrasts that bring to mind the dark complexity of Hamlet himself. It has aquatic and citrus top notes, but white pepper and florals at its heart. The base is woody with sandalwood, Guaiac wood, and white amber.
Carla Fracci’s natural grace has found many expressions, and all of them have served her well. She no longer dances professionally, but she found a way to express her greatest roles though fragrance. Her greatest endeavor yet may have nothing to do with dance, but everything to do with graciousness.
She has been direct of ballet in Naples and Verona, and even now directs Balleto dell’Opera di Roma, but she has also turned her attention to great causes. In 2004, she became a Goodwill Ambassador for the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She is very much engaged in the fight to end world hunger.
Carla Fracci no longer dances the great performances that made her famous, but she still uses her fame to make the world a better place, whether through teaching new generations of ballet dancer or through promoting awareness of the ills that still plague mankind.