Former Paris Opéra Ballet etoile Manuel Legris has just been appointed artistic director of La Scala Ballet in Milan. Legris, who has directed the Vienna State Opera Ballet since 2010, posted on his Instagram page that he will assume his new position in December 2020. He replaces outgoing director Frédéric Olivieri. According to French news sites, Olivieri, who has led La Scala Ballet School since 2006, will continue to serve as the academy's director.
A longtime star of the Paris Opéra Ballet, Legris was named an étoile by Rudolf Nureyev at the age of 21. He took the reins of the Vienna State Opera within a year of his retirement, and has helped to raise the company's profile since then. He is also the artistic director of the Vienna State Ballet Academy, which was rocked by abuse allegations last year. The scandal led to the dismissal of faculty members and the school's managing director.
Back in 2017, Legris announced that he would step down from the Vienna State Ballet once his contract ran out this year. According to the Italian performing arts website Gramilano, rumors of his La Scala appointment have been swirling in Milan for some time. He has frequently worked with the company, most recently mounting his Sylvia (a co-production between La Scala and Vienna State Ballet) in December. He joins his longtime colleague Dominique Meyer, the former head of the Vienna State Opera, who will become general manager of the Italian opera house in 2021. With Legris' POB pedigree and star power, we'll be eager to see how he shapes this historic ballet company in the coming years.