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Ferri and Bocca (belated)


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#1 Sonora

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 06:11 PM

This is a very belated post about Ferri and Bocca's Romeo and Juliet of May 29 - their second-to-last together, apparently, as Bocca will dance Romeo no longer.

I was actually hoping someone else might comment on the evening but no one did (not counting the paper reviews), unless I missed it (highly possible). I've seen several different productions of Romeo and Juliet within the last few months, including Cranko's for the Stuttgart, and felt that ABT looked extremely strong and at home in the MacMillan. Whereas the Cranko looked disappointingly tired and underrehearsed, MacMillan's, notwithstanding whatever shortcomings there might be with his interpretation of the story and use of the score, I felt looked the opposite. This was a particularly interesting cast for someone who isn't often able to see ABT, as Freddie Franklin portrayed Friar Lawrence, Susan Jones the nurse, Georgiana Parkinson Lady Capulet, etc. Several of the corps dancers seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, and thoroughly engaged in their roles and in the story. Joaquin de Luz took an enormous amount of applause as Mercutio and danced brilliantly, although I thought neither Mercutio nor Benvolio were terribly distinguishable from one another in terms of their characterizations.

I didn't get the sense, as Kisselgoff apparently did, that Bocca was managing the technical aspects of the role "as necessary" (to paraphrase from memory). I thought he danced with ease and control, and that the technical demands of the part were at the service of his character.

I'm sure others are longtime observers of this partnership, but this was the first time I had seen Ferri and Bocca together, and I thought they were captivating in terms of their rapport and sort of 'symbiotic', or complimentary, musicality. Certain small details of their relationship onstage remain in one's memory: the moments after they first become aware of one another during the ballroom scene; Ferri's perfectly natural reaction - terribly excited and almost giggling; eager - to the first touch of his hand during the first pas; the way she runs confidently toward him during the balcony pas, the intensity of their mutual focus during that scene and the sheer beauty of every line of her body...I remember her balances in arabesque as being so musical, like emotional responses, in a way, certainly not like 'balances'.

I hope someone else saw either of their two final performances and will comment.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:12 AM

Thanks, Sonora -- good to see you. I hope others who saw this will chime in. (Franklin did Friar Lawrence when the company was here this spring and he gets my vote for performance of the year. I hope some of the dancers were watching him; they could have learned something. Lots of things, actually.)

#3 sidwich

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:02 AM

I was at Bocca's last performance (I can't remember the date now), and it was quite magical. I have seen Ferri and Bocca in R&J before as well as Cranko's "Taming of the Shrew," so in some sense I knew what to expect.

The acting and very palpable chemistry were as much in evidence as ever. I don't know what it is but Ferri somehow manages to completely channel Juliet for me. The pas de deux were as memorable as ever.

I can see why Bocca is retiring from the role however. As I said I saw Ferri and Bocca perform R&J a few years ago, and, at least I could see that Bocca is having a more difficult time with the changes in direction, especially evident when dancing side by side by Joaquin de Luz. And the lifts were not quite secure and they're not staying up quite as long. At least they looked that way to me.

There were many, many, *many* curtain calls for the cast as a whole, and of course for Bocca in particular. It was a really lovely, warm feeling at the Met that night. You could tell that much of the audience had happy memories and they wanted to share the love.

#4 Sonora

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:30 AM

Alexandra - regarding Franklin, I think you could sense that the dancers were aware of him and of the other 'mature' dancers performing character roles. Each one of them added a layer of depth and interest to the performance. Franklin, especially, approached the Friar from a distinct point of view. I guess it was nice to see non-generic supporting characters.

I think that sort of dramatic dance/acting develops over time particularly if - or maybe only if - dancers have the opportunity to dance the full-length classics on a somewhat regular basis, and if they are coached by people who take the dramatic nuances of individual roles seriously.


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