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Mashinka

New Romeo and Juliet

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Now that the new production of Romeo & Juliet is scheduled for London next year, I'm keen to hear exactly what the Moscow audience thought of it.

Have any of you Ballet Alertniks actually seen it yet?

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In December the Bolshoi show a world premiere of Prokofiev’s Romeo&Juliet, staged by young Moldovian choreographer Radu Poklitaru and British theatre director Declan Donnellan. The casts was like that:

Juliet – Maria Alexandrova, Anastasia Meskova

Romeo – Denis Savin, Yan Gidovsky

Mercusio – Yury Klevtsov, Mark Peretokin

Thibault – Denis Medvedev, Alexander Petukhov

Lady Capuletti – Ilse Liepa, Maria Volodina, Maria Isplatovskaya

It was quite different from well known productions by Lavrovsky or MacMillan. There was no dancing on pointes, the choreography was modern, a mix of Kyllian, Preljocaj, Ek. But unfortunately it was much less musical, sometimes discrepancy between music and steps was very hard. The plot was not changed but the staging badly lacks sense. It looks like a chain of scenes scarcely connected with each other. Judging by the interviews in the booklit and the press, Poklitaru and Donnellan have different views on the ballet, and often changed something, so I dont surprised that the result is a mess. Honestly, I think the ballet is a disaster. The dancers did their best but it cannot help.

The most surprising for me is great difference in opinions about the ballet between the public and the critics. The applause after the performances was just polite, most part of my friend think it’s shame that Bolshoi Ballet degraded itself by such weak production. But the journalists went wild with enthusiasm: they write it’s great, it’s step in XXI century, it’s revolution! Very weird.

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Thank you, Inga, for posting about this rewarding experience. No matter what the critics think and write, it's their own thing and you definitely belong to the old romantics and conservatives :rolleyes: . Yet what I don't buy is that some of the reviewers represent it as if this is not only what the Bolshoi needs, but also what will save it and present the new beginning for the company.... Come again, what new beginning?

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The critics impressed because it’s first Bolshoi ballet without pointes in many years. They think that if a ballet is in modern style, it’s masterpiece by definition. I have nothing against modern dancing but if a ballet is dull, no matter in what style it’s done.

OK, we will see – may be with time the audience will be used to it.

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Oh, dear, your critics are beginning to sound like ours. ("They think that if a ballet is in modern style, it’s masterpiece by definition.")

We've had ballet directors that thought that, too, but as they get older they begin to see -- some of them, anyway -- that if you're going to have a school to train dancers in classical ballet, then it makes sense to acquire work that .....are classical ballet!

Thanks very much for the report, Inga.

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Alexandra, I always suspect that the world is crazy :FIREdevil: . It’s real pity that there is not many new ballets in classical style.

That R&J was shown four times already and I hear about two or three people who like it J. And the Bolshoi want to bring the ballet on tours in London, Paris and USA.

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In spite of my strongest possible adherence to classical ballet in its purest form and very selective acceptance of modern ballet I am looking forward to seeing this new R & J since I saw a set of photographs on:

http://www.bolshoi.net/balet/romeo/libretto.htm

Regardless of whether I like it or not I just wish that the new management of the Bolshoi who takes over in 2004 will treasure the Bolshoi's classical traditions and does not reserve a disproportional place for modern ballet productions in the Bolshoi's repertoire.

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Thanks for the link, coda.

Alexei Ratmansky made it quite clear in interviews that it is also his goal to preserve the classical tradition of the Bolshoi. He hopes to give the company some new works (i.e. creations and ballets they hadn't danced before), but emphasized that with their busy schedule there is very little time for novelties. Ratmansky also thinks of reviving some of the old Soviet works like Laurencia, Red Poppy and Flames of Paris.

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You mentioned "The Red Poppy", Marc. Do you know that quite soon after its revival at the Bolshoi in 1949 (in response to the revolution in China) it has been renamed and became "The Red Flower". It was rumoured at that time that 'the red poppy' notion was not acceptable to the Chinese.

The Western ballet historians who wrote about Ulanova very rarely mentioned her role in this ballet but in my opinion she was incredible as Tao Hoa - a real exquisite Oriental flower of such tenderness and grace.

It would be a joy to see the ballets you mentioned back on the Bolshoi stage, however, who knows, may be Chabukiani and Zakharov's versions will be replaced by new ones, in the same way as Lavrovsky's R & J was replaced by Poklitaru for example.

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