Giuseppina Bozzacchi

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Giuseppina Bozzacchi
Giuseppina Bozzacchi as Swanhilde in Coppélia
Born (1853-11-23)23 November 1853
Milan, Italy
Died 23 November 1870(1870-11-23) (aged 17)
Paris, France
Nationality Italian
Occupation Ballet dancer

Giuseppina Bozzacchi (23 November 1853 – 23 November 1870) was an Italian ballerina, noted for creating the role of Swanhilda in Léo Delibes' ballet Coppélia at the age of 16 while dancing for the Paris Opera Ballet.

Bozzacchi, who was born in Milan,[2] had come to Paris to study with Mme Dominique. The choreographer, Arthur Saint-Léon, and the director of the Académie Royale de Musique, Émile Perrin, had been searching for a suitable Swanhilda, after deciding that none of the ballerinas previously considered – Léontine Beaugrand, Angelina Fioretti and Adèle Grantzou – were suitable. They even asked the composer Léo Delibes to seek out a suitable Swanhilda on his trip to Italy. He returned empty-handed, but in the meantime Saint-Léon and Perrin had discovered Bozzacchi.

She created Swanhilda on 25 May 1870 in the presence of Emperor Napoleon III. She repeated her success in the following weeks. In July an international dispute broke out between France and Prussia over the succession to the Spanish throne, and on 19 July France declared war. Giuseppina Bozzacchi danced Swanhilda for the 18th and last time on 31 August, when the Paris Opéra closed for the duration of the Franco-Prussian War. The Opéra had stopped paying salaries, and Giuseppina, weakened by lack of food, became ill. She contracted smallpox and fever, and died on the morning of her 17th birthday. She was buried at Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.


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