Timofej Andrijashenko And Nicoletta Manni’s Wedding Proposal Live On Stage

Romeo & Juliet: If you know anything about Shakespeare’s plays, it is likely that you know that Romeo and Juliet were “star-crossed” lovers who met premature, tragic deaths. On the balmy summer evening of Wednesday, 19 July 2023, the primo ballerino of La Scala opera house, Timofej Andrijashenko, attempted to revise the unhappy ending.

With the assistance of his friend, the preeminent ballet dancer Robert Bolle, and other co-conspirators, he staged a grand romantic gesture at the end of the famous dance duet from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. The Romeo and Juliet excerpt was included at the end of the Roberto Bolle and Friends, a gala evening overview of 19th and 20th-century ballet performed by dancers invited by Bolle.

It was a wise decision to propose after performing only the most romantic section of Prokofiev’s ballet. It would have been more than a little morbid to propose after a full performance of Romeo & Juliet! As you would have deduced, Timofej Andrijashenko’s intended is also a dancer, and they danced the Romeo & Juliet duet together. Nicoletta Manni and Andrijashenko have been a couple for seven years, and they both dance for the La Scala opera house company. (Manni is the prima ballerina.)

The story of the proposal on the stage of the Arena di Verona, a renowned open-air theatre, originates with Andrijashenko confiding in Bolle, the principal dancer étoile at La Scala Theatre Ballet, that he was planning to propose to Manni. Bolle thought the picturesque, romantic Arena di Verona was the perfect setting and invited the couple to perform the Romeo and Juliet duet at his gala event. That was only the beginning of the planning. First, here is Manni & Andrijashenko dancing together:

That was Nicoletta Manni & Timofei Andrijashenko in Act One of La Bayadere at La Scala Ballet in Milan, Italy, 2021, under the direction of Manuel Legris, former Etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet. This performance was based on Rudolf Nureyev’s early 1990s revival of the full-length La Bayadère with the Paris Opera Ballet. It was Nureyev’s final production as his health was failing from AIDS in the period before antiretrovirals. As was fitting, the Paris Opéra provided Nureyev with an enormous budget, with more funding coming from private donors.

Commenting on the video excerpt, Cynthia Fletcher perceptively noted on YouTube: “So romantic and danced beautifully! Thank you for this stunning video where they seemed to flow with love.”

Returning to the dramatically staged proposal, Andrijashenko ensured that both sets of parents and the couple’s closest friends attended the concert. As for the ring (it couldn’t be hidden in Andrijashenko’s ballet costume!), it was secreted on stage by Manni’s brother, who was a production technician.

The morning after the dramatic proposal, the ANSA News Agency spoke to Nicoletta Manni. “Let’s say that I haven’t recovered yet, I was already very happy to be able to play Juliet in Verona, her city, and to dance the duo with Tima, the man I love, my Romeo. Last night many friends had come to see us, Tima’s family had left Riga to stay with us for a while in Italy, and they were in the Arena. I did not know that my boyfriend had organized everything perfectly, without telling me he had invited my parents. My brother is a light designer and is working at the Arena. Nobody was missing, all our dearest ones were there, without my knowledge. To organize the proposal, Tima worked for months, many knew it except me.”

Alluding to Romeo and Juliet, Manni added: “Our love will be immortal…but less tragic!” The Music Man congratulates Nicoletta Manni & Timofei Andrijashenko on their engagement and wishes them well for the future.

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