abatt

Romeo and Juliet

141 posts in this topic

ABT needs to be more proactive in promoting and cultivating their younger talent before these dancers get fed up and move on to other companies.

What young ballerina talent at the ABT now (leaving aside Seo) do you believe have the potential to become principals that have even the hope of one day performing like Osipova and Vishneva?

Probably no one. However, IMO Maria Riccetto and Kristi Boone have the potential to be principals soon (I would include Stella Abrera except for her injuries, which might preclude a heavy performing schedule).

Don't count out Simone Messmer! In all of her dancing this season, she's had razor-sharp technique and stage presence to burn. And thank you for all the reports of super Saturday. I wasn't overly impressed by Osipova's Giselle last season, so I didn't feel the pull to see her Juliet- I'm wishing I had re-considered that decision.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that the Mercutios at both Saturday performances were below par. I remember about 7 years ago when Cornejo and Joaquin de Luz would alternate in the role, lighting up the stage with their incredible technical skills and charisma.

Those were glorious times indeed.

Share this post


Link to post

I also agree with Amour. De Luz was a wonderful Mercutio, though not quite as good as Cornejo in my opinion. I don't understand why Cornejo is the only principal dancing Mercutio. Mercutio is a very important role in Romeo and Juliet. If Gomes and Hallberg (and Malakhov when he was a principal with ABT) can dance the ridiculous and very unimportant role of von Rothbart in Swan Lake (and it's also a much smaller role than Mercutio) why can't they dance Mercutio? And what about someone in the corps like Joseph Phillips? From what I've seen of his dancing, I think he could do justice to Mercutio. I also agree with the many Ballet Talk posters who said many positive things about Blaine Hoven as Benovlio. I think Hoven would make a very good Mercutio. And I know I've posted about it before, but I still think Simkin would be a fantastic Mercutio.

Share this post


Link to post

The two performances you mentioned you previously liked Hallberg in are interesting. In On the Dnieper, Ratmansky's choreography allows, in the most prominent solo by Olga's fiance, for the expression of anger and aggression from the intricate and feisty footwork and fast pace of the solo. That intensity was communicated through the footwork and the choreography. I also saw Hallberg in one of the Fancy Frees this year. I thought he was endearing and cute and wonderful as the second sailor. Almost slightly goofy, and that is highly atypical for him for the classical full-length ballets and other classical works. Maybe, when we have a fall season again, you could explore Hallberg performing in certain less classical works and see if you like that more.

Regardless of classical or not, Hallberg was different on Saturday, to me, from his previous performances. I didn't enjoy his Oberon as much as him in On the Dnieper or in Fancy Free, though I'm not sure The Dream belongs to which category. On Saturday, I could feel both of the character originally required and the dancer himself at the same time, which I always love to see. I could feel that in his second sailor, too, and he was "alive" when he danced the fiance solo. I think, though it is just my speculation, if I had seen him in the classical ballet by RB or Bolshoi, I would have liked him more. ABT productions, which, sometimes, didn't match up to the high expectation I had based on its reputation, seems to require and/or drive the dancers inevitably wilder (or, that might be the style of ABT, its own color. I'm not sure which is first in terms of cause and effect). I will be in London from this fall, so, will be able to see Hallberg dance less classical ones during ABT's next visit to London, if he comes. However, as I wrote, I am more curious to see him dance in the classical ones in the other companies like RB, and, if I choose out of less classical ones, I want to see his Apollo, as it's the Greek god which I think becomes well his image I have for him.

In case of Gomes, I would like to choose Zeus for him, a king of the Greek gods, unfettered by any regulations or norms, having nothing to fear or worship. Zeus cares about only the love. Usually that sort of characteristic I think Gomes has as a dancer was optimally used by him in expressing the relevant character, whether it is Armand or purple RothBart or any one, but somewhat stronger or contradictory to the notion of Romeo last Monday. However, now I'm thinking there was something consistent with MacMillan's intention or at least, his style, in womanizer-like Romeo (before the awakening moment) and too vulnerable Juliet, like petal-like Des Grieux and a femme fatale Manon. I don't mean his R&J is the reverse version of his Manon. I just guess MacMillan may have preferred to present a strikingly contrasting couple, rather than a comparable, well-balanced one.

Anyway, what I want to say is that sort of self-contentment and/or defiance I have slightly felt about Gomes may offset his nobility to some degree, to some people, making him look less noble, though I think he has plenty of, definitely enough of it. Gomes also radiates the pure rapture of dancing, again, which some don't like to see especially in the classical ballet.

I might be wrong, as my thoughts about Hallberg and Gomes are based solely on my short experience of this season. I didn't see or know about any of them before this season. That being said, anyway, I think Hallberg and Gomes are both excellent, like five great Bordeaux chateaus, of current vintage :), then, how much we can enjoy and appreciate the objectively great wines depends on individual taste, specific occasion, and how it is served (f.g., the accompanying dishes and, even, the decanting). ABT is lucky to have both. I hope, like many others, ABT pay more attention to the development of each and every dancer, and much more to its costumes, stage, and most importantly, its production of classical ballets.

Share this post


Link to post

If Gomes and Hallberg (and Malakhov when he was a principal with ABT) can dance the ridiculous and very unimportant role of von Rothbart in Swan Lake (and it's also a much smaller role than Mercutio) why can't they dance Mercutio?

Well, Gomes, Hallberg, Cornejo and Stearns were the only danseurs portraying Romeo this season. Gomes already did 3 Romeos out of the eight performances on 6 days last week, and Hallberg had 2 Romeos. If Gomes or Hallberg also played Mercutio to each other's Romeo: (1) they would have had to both dance two performances on Saturday, which is not practicable, (2) they wouldn't have been as fresh as they were as Romeo, (3) Hallberg wouldn't have had as much time to devote to Osipova, who was debuting in the role (as he would have to practice all of Mercutio's dancing on top of practicing all of Romeo, and then performing both roles), (4) Gomes wouldn't have had as much time to practice with Vishneva, after it was announced he would replace Corella, (5) Hallberg would have had to learn Mercutio, as he had always played Benvolio instead of Mercutio before he added Romeo to his repertoire (as confirmed by his ABT bio), (6) you could have had Mercutios that rivalled their particular performances' Romeo in dancing quality, stage presence and handsomeness, when they were dancing the same or similar steps in parallel (unlike, say, Basilio and Espada, or Siegfried/purple von Rothbart, who dance different sequences),(7) you might be diminishing opportunities for non-principals to develop, as they dance the Mercutio role, and (8) if you attended multiple performances, you would be seeing the same two people as part of the three in the Montague trio.

Share this post


Link to post

Bravo, bravo, bravo! One for each of the curtain calls they received.

Thank you Diana and Marcelo for a marvelous end to a marvelous season!! I enjoyed myself thoroughly, as did my friends who’d never seen it.

But I will admit, that a small part of me wishes we could have done away with Romeo & Juliet altogether and had Vishneva & Gomes give us one last devastating performance of their superlative “Lady of the Camellias”! :wink:

Yes, that was another happiest moment of the performance. Long and warm applause. I could feel each audience member say thank you to the whole ABT company, for the whole season, in addition to the great last performance.

As it was Lady of Camellias by Vishneva and Gomes that made me move temporarily to NYC and attend many ballet performances, and, further I sadly missed their third Lady of Camellias, seeing them again in the curtain calls at the end of the season was special to me. Thinking back at this time, the second and third week of this season was the real gem of the crown to me, when I saw four times Lady of Camellias, Don Q by Herrera and Corella (with the first and last Espada by Gomes :) ), Don Q by Murphy and Stiefel, and the Alicia Alonso celebration, though I don't mean at all the latter part of the season was not great.

Share this post


Link to post

That being said, anyway, I think Hallberg and Gomes are both excellent, like five great Bordeaux chateaus, of current vintage :), then, how much we can enjoy and appreciate the objectively great wines depends on individual taste, specific occasion, and how it is served (f.g., the accompanying dishes and, even, the decanting).

If those two were Bordeaux, Hallberg would be Haut-Brion (more elegant, subtle; and my preferred Chateau) and Gomes would be Mouton, leaving aside issues of vintages.

Share this post


Link to post

That being said, anyway, I think Hallberg and Gomes are both excellent, like five great Bordeaux chateaus, of current vintage :), then, how much we can enjoy and appreciate the objectively great wines depends on individual taste, specific occasion, and how it is served (f.g., the accompanying dishes and, even, the decanting).

If those two were Bordeaux, Hallberg would be Haut-Brion (more elegant, subtle; and my preferred Chateau) and Gomes would be Mouton, leaving aside issues of vintages.

Interesting. To me, Gomes is definitely Latour (consistency in quality, deep and dense, and long finish).

By the way, out of curiosity, googling Mouton, I found the motto of Mouton significant and even insightful: The first motto was "First, I cannot be. Second, I do not deign to be. Mouton I am", and the second and current one, after it became the first growth wine, is "First, I am. Second, I used to be. But Mouton does not change."

Who will not think like that, if he dances. Everyone is on the way to his better self. I think Gomes will like that motto.

Share this post


Link to post

I picked Mouton because it can at times show a little spicier on the palate than Latour, and because it's visually an arresting bottle, with the art on the label, depending on the artist for the particular year in question. Mouton is captivating-looking at first glance (not that that is the sole source of its appeal).

http://www.theartistlabels.com/index.html

Just based on the art (and not the quality of the vintage), some Mouton possibilities:

http://www.theartistlabels.com/mouton/1969.html (Miro)

http://www.theartistlabels.com/mouton/1999.html (R Savignac)

Hallberg:

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/bordeaux/hautbrion.shtml

(picutre of label midway through)

Gomes might be in a more jazzed up "bravado"-type package, but the wine inside an Haut-Brion bottle (for those who care to carefully drink it) is more beautiful, elegant, classical and just better :blushing: Haut-Brion doesn't seduce by being in-your-face or being packaged with bold artwork on the exterior; it's about the beauty inside the bottle and quiet savoring of the terroir of Pessac-Leognan, like Hallberg is about the beauty of classical ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

It sounds like a choice between Maria "Marcelo" Callas and Renata "David" Tebaldi. Or maybe Magic "Marcelo" Johnson and Larry "David" Bird.

Share this post


Link to post

I feel sorry for posting reviews not directly related to the topic. It will be the last.

I picked Mouton because it can at times show a little spicier on the palate than Latour, and because it's visually an arresting bottle, with the art on the label, depending on the artist for the particular year in question. Mouton is captivating-looking at first glance (not that that is the sole source of its appeal).

http://www.theartistlabels.com/index.html

Just based on the art (and not the quality of the vintage), some Mouton possibilities:

http://www.theartistlabels.com/mouton/1969.html (Miro)

http://www.theartistlabels.com/mouton/1999.html (R Savignac)

Hallberg:

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/bordeaux/hautbrion.shtml

(picutre of label midway through)

Gomes might be in a more jazzed up "bravado"-type package, but the wine inside an Haut-Brion bottle (for those who care to carefully drink it) is more beautiful, elegant, classical and just better :blushing: Haut-Brion doesn't seduce by being in-your-face or being packaged with bold artwork on the exterior; it's about the beauty inside the bottle and quiet savoring of the terroir of Pessac-Leognan, like Hallberg is about the beauty of classical ballet.

Thanks for the link. I was looking for a site like this, as I've thought a performance review combined with a matched wine is great.

The tasting note for Latour, the wine which I think matches Gomes really well, says exactly what I felt and wanted to say about him: "The aromas here are magnificently perfumed and lifted, but with a very dense and tightly-creamed layer of dark berry fruits tinged with a sweet exoticism. What a palate too, broad and svelte, creamy seamlessness, but underneath this upper layer a ripe, dense, velvety but mouth-coating layer of prodigious tannins. The fruit copes admirably with them, and the acidity plays its part, providing a gentle balance rather than a vigorous tingle...How can this be so harmonious, so balanced, and yet so structured and built up? The tannins persist in the mouth for minutes, the flavours slowly fading during this time...This is what Bordeaux is all about! Incredible; a wine to move me to tears." :)

Further, please see the following comments about Latour:

"One of its strengths is said to be that it outperforms in weaker vintages, and so when the weather has not been so favourable it is perhaps to Latour that buyers of first growths should look first."

Even in the weak production of Sleeping Beauty, Gomes, to me, successfully built up the fantasy so that each audience member could enjoy the show, and, in his Swan Lake, when Kent finished her 32 fouettes which somewhat travelled, and cast a slight chill on the atmosphere, Gomes restored the kingdom of beauty immediately by his extraordinarily great turns and expression of his unchanged love for his partner. At that time, he took apparently showy-off attitude, in order to erase any bad memory about Kent from the audience (I felt like that). His partnering doesn't end at supporting his partner during turns and jumps, rather he does something extra to highlight his partner's strength, hide the weakness, and, further, cares for the whole performance. I like that kind of his great devotion, caring attitude, and commitment to his partner and the company.

My final comment: your ;blush; emoticon is really cute.

Share this post


Link to post

Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet is not only the version of this ballet I have seen most often, it is also the Romeo and Juliet which has the power to touch my soul. This is especially true when the title characters are lovers I can believe in.

This is certainly the case with the July 10th matinee. Bolshoi guest artist, Natalia Osipova, and ABT principal, David Hallberg, are the most natural and realistic young lovers I have ever seen. Amazingly, this was Osipova’s debut in the role of Juliet. I’ve read much about Osipova’s incredible technique, (July 10th was the first time I saw her dance), but she is also a gifted actress. Osipova has an incredibly mobile face, which shows Juliet’s every emotion – from joy to love to fear to sorrow. She also knows how to use her body to show Juliet’s progression from a fourteen year old child to a young wife who cannot live without her husband. Osipova’s dancing brims with a delicate buoyancy. Her gorgeous port de bras and nimble footwork is a joy to behold. Osipova’s body is the perfect vessel for Prokofiev’s gorgeously rhapsodic music. Osipova’s Juliet touched me so deeply that I can’t imagine ever seeing another ballerina in the part.

As Romeo, David Hallberg is clearly Osipova’s equal. Hallberg, usually the most princely of performers, dances the part with full physical abandon. (Being David Hallberg, however, his line is always perfect.) Romeo’s explosive multiple air turns during the balcony scene clearly show his overwhelming love for Juliet. Hallberg’s acting is as free of restraint as his dancing. After Tybalt kills Mercutio, Hallberg rushes at him with such ferocity that he almost slips.

As well as Osipova and Hallberg dance separately, the real wonder is how perfectly complete they are together. During their pas de deux, both move as if they are one. The sweetness of their passion during the balcony scene is very real and natural. For me, Osipova and Hallberg are not just performing Romeo and Juliet. They actually became Romeo and Juliet for that brief three hours at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Jared Matthews has a good handle on the character of the happy go lucky Mercutio, but his dancing is disappointing. His leaps lack elevation and his turns are devoid of power. As Benvolio, Blaine Hoven is a revelation. His technique is dazzling, with commanding jumps and vigorous turns. Patrick Ogle’s Tybalt seems more like a thug who delights in slaying Mercutio, than the protector of the Capulet family. As always, Susan Jones is very warm and funny as Juliet’s nurse.

The June 10th matinee of Romeo and Juliet will stay in my mind’s eye for a long time to come. I hope ABT will continue to perform this Kenneth MacMillan classic for many years to come. I hope the company also invites Natalia Osipova to perform with ABT for their 2011 season at the Met.

Share this post


Link to post

The 2007 Osipova interview from which the NYT article draws the ballerina's indication of her desire to suffer is linked:

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_08/feb08/interview_natalia_osipova.htm

Some excerpts:

-- Osipova on why she wanted to do Giselle (Bolshoi): "I wanted to do something diametrically different [from Kitri], and I’ve always been attracted to ballets with some kind of dramaturgy, which offered a chance to act. Plus, I desperately want to suffer on stage. I feel close to such roles. I am drawn to Juliet, but Romeo and Juliet is not in our repertory now. So that’s how I came to Giselle."

-- When asked about her plans/dreams: "I dream about serious, major work – about Juliet. I would really like to dance it now, at my age, not when I am thirty. I don’t even care which version I dance. I’ve been invited to Stuttgart. Perhaps, I’ll be able to dance Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet” there..... [she discusses several other potential roles] ... It would be interesting to dance “Sleeping Beauty”, but it’s performed so rarely that I am unlikely to get it. In that ballet I would have liked to dance the happiness of youth. After all,I am still so young." :lol:

Share this post


Link to post

That was a really interesting and thoughtful interview. Now 3 years down the line she has had her Juliet but not with the Stuttgart, lucky for we New Yorkers! I would love to hear her impressions learning Juliet from Ferri and working with Hallberg.

Share this post


Link to post

A general sense on Hallberg during the balcony scene, from the 2009 Indiana collaboration with Kent:

(newly posted video)

(also contains some Manon PDD excerpts)

(middle section includes Hallberg snippet)

The video can't capture what Hallberg/Osipova achieved, but the costumes were similar and one can get a very rough indication.

Share this post


Link to post

I found it interesting that Ivan Vasiliev doesn't have a strong sense, at this point, whether his working with Osipova would reach "historic partnership" levels and that he seems realistic in his assessment:

" 'What Nurevey and Fonteyn had was magic.' Because he often dances with Natalia, is that perhaps a partnership he wishes to develop further in the future? 'Nobody knows what will happen. We have to wait. It is always interesting to live when you don't know what will be in the future.'

'Of course, I want our partnership to continue. I always want to work. The important thing is not to stop."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1300688/The-new-Nureyev-The-Bolshois-Russian-rocket-Ivan-Vasiliev-hailed-superstar-just-21.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

(also confirms that I Vasiliev/Osipova are a real-life dating couple)

Part of me thinks that if it's not Vasiliev/Osipova, it could well potentially be Hallberg/Osipova (if Osipova is part of any historic partnership), but, as Vasiliev said, we'll have to see how things develop... :blink:

Share this post


Link to post