Ashton's 'Romeo and Juliet'
Posted 13 April 2009 - 08:06 PM
Is Ashton's 'Romeo and Juliet' still in the repertoire? Is it really rarely performed, or have I just missed hearing about it?
Posted 13 April 2009 - 09:50 PM
Anna Kisselgoff's review:
I think the work fell out of the repertoire after Schaufuss left the company. I would hope, though, for the existence of video footage and notes from the revival process, which took place under Ashton's supervision.
I hate to admit it, but what sticks out most strongly in my memory is how dreadful Schaufuss' Romeo was in his final confrontation with Paris in the Capulet vault, waving his hands back and forth, shaking his head and mouthing 'no' repeatedly. Yikes, I thought, aren't Danes supposed to be really good actors? It was so incongruous with the rest of his performance.
Posted 14 April 2009 - 03:46 AM
But is it a masterpiece? There is no question that Ashton has created more inventive choreography elsewhere. There are, in fact, very few set pieces of dancing - which accounts, in fact, for the remarkably seamless and lyrical flow of the entire ballet.
[ ... ]
The real point about Ashton's ''Romeo and Juliet'' is that unlike so many other versions, it has no claim to realism or literalism. It uses classical steps for their own formal value, and it is this abtract power that is expressive in its own right.
Posted 14 April 2009 - 03:59 AM
Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:07 AM
Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:09 AM
Posted 14 April 2009 - 05:43 AM
A friend of mine saw the original Danish cast at the Edinburgh Festival in 1956.
I love the simplicity of this production, where Ashton concentrates on the love story and the crowd scenes are not too crowded. I think R&Js duets are absolutely ravishing.
I would love to see a revival of this production.
Posted 14 April 2009 - 07:27 AM
i have no idea if this telecast is among the videos slated for release as part of Lincoln Center's 50th Anniv. celebrations.
below are the credits for the NYPL copy of the first of two reels of this program:
Celebration, Reel 1 (Videotape) 1984. 60 min. : sd. color
Taped in performance at the Metropolitan Opera House May 13, 1984. A WNET-TV and Metropolitan Opera presentation of a gala performance celebrating 100 years of performing arts at the Metropolitan Opera. Producer: Jane Hermann. Conductor: Kenneth Schermerhorn. Lighting: Gil Wechsler. Staging: Donald Saddler. Director: Brian Large. Script: Gerald Fitzgerald.
CONTENTS. - Diversion of angels. Choreography and costumes: Martha Graham. Music: Norman Dello Joio. Danced by the Martha Graham Dance Company. Dancers: Peggy Lyman, George White, Jr., Takako Asakawa, Peter Sparling, Thea Barnes, Steve Rooks, Larry White, and corps. - Five Brahms waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan. Choreography: Frederick Ashton. Music: Johannes Brahms. Pianist: Philip Gammon. Dancer: Lynn Seymour. - Le spectre de la rose. Choreography: Michel Fokine. Music: Carl Maria von Weber. Dancers: Patrick Dupond, Lillian Gish. - The nutcracker (Hoffmann's solo). Choreography: Roland Petit. Music: Tchaikovsky. Dancer: Jean-Charles Gil. - Romeo and Juliet (Balcony scene). Choreography: Frederick Ashton. Music: Sergei Prokofiev. Dancers: Lis Jeppesen, Arne Villumsen. - Cameo appearances: Alexandra Danilova; Frederic Franklin; Jerome Robbins.
the attached scan, which shows Mona Vangsaae (as Juliet) and Henning Kronstam (as Romeo), the Royal Danish Ballet dancers for whom Ashton created his ballet's title characters, probably dates from the premiere performances in 1955 and is perhaps posed for the camera.
Posted 14 April 2009 - 09:25 AM
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