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Romeo and Juliet


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#16 Amour

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 02:59 PM

I read awhile ago Sarah Lane had used some grant money to get coaching from Alessandra Ferri for Juliet...probably wouldn't turn out that bad with Ferri guiding you.

I was very happy to read in today's NYT that Ferri is coaching Osipova for R&J. That bodes VERY well for Osipova since IMO Ferri was the most perfect Juliet of all time.

#17 Ambonnay

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 03:29 PM

To my eye, for the last two seasons Corella has looked out of shape technically and has also gained weight. In addition, even in his prime, he had some difficulty with the lifts in Romeo and Juliet (you can see him laboring with Ferri in the balcony scene, in the La Scala production of R&J that is on DVD).

Unless Corella is injured or otherwise out of his own true volition chose not to perform, switching Corella out is unfair. If Vishneva wants to perform with Gomes, she should have articulated that to Kevin M before the schedule was announced. Then, Corella could have been paired with somebody else.

How can Kevin M remove an important role from a danseur who has so few full-length performances this Met season to being with? Unless the decision was Corella's (which I doubt), this is truly adding insult to a danseur whose performances many ballet goers adored and adore.

I really appreciate Corella, and, not inconsistent with that, did report that his upper thighs seemed chubbier in last year's Swan Lake. But I really enjoyed Corella as Siegfried because he can act, because he uses his whole body to express what is happening to the character, and, while Corella may not be in his prime technically, his technique remains good enough. So, while I love watching Hallberg as Siegfried (or in any other role, for that matter), I found qualities in Corella's Siegfried that made me prefer his performance last season. Corella's artistry is so much more important than whether he has gained weight, or whether he is at the height of his technical powers. I've never seen Corella dance Romeo and I will be deprived of that opportunity (at least for this Met season).

I saw Corella in other roles, e.g., Prodigal Son and Ali in Le Corsaire, last year (I think,last year) since his then weight gain. Corella did not look like he was outside of the reasonable range of weight for his build, even though he had gained a bit of weight. This year, I saw him in the Opening Night Gala and he looked fine in terms of weight. I also saw him perform when Corella Ballet Castilla Y León made its debut in NY and he looked fine there too.

On a separate note, I think it's amazing how well things work out sometimes. Members might recall that it was Stiefel who was supposed to pair Osipova, instead of Hallberg, in the roles that Hallberg ended occupying opposite Osipova last year. But Stiefel was injured. Can you imagine how akward it would be if Stiefel could not match the technical abilities of Osipova (no negative connotations on Stiefel, but he is no longer at the height of his technical liablities)? :pinch:

Finally, an update from Daniil S's twitter:
"Casting for the 8th week at the MET: Wednesday,
July 7 (Benvolio in 'Romeo and Juliet'), Friday, July 9 (Benvolio in 'Romeo and Juliet'), Saturday evening, July 10 (Benvolio in 'Romeo and Juliet')
I have not been performing in some of my previous shows due to a (relative) minor ankle injury. I hope to be able to perform this week. If n...ot, I will let you know here."

So, if Daniil's ankle permits, he's dancing Benvolio to Gomes' Saturday evening Romeo. I thought that ABT would schedule him to be included in the Natalia Osipova Saturday matinee, which is sure to be reviewed by Alistair M, but apparently not.

#18 vipa

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 03:40 PM

Have faith! Gomes is a horse! I have little doubt he'll make it through. As to other contenders for the future, surely Eric Tamm should be learning the role. ABT should be looking also as to who on the female side will be next in line. Hee Seo we know, but who else has the technique and temperament for Juliet? Possibly, Isabella Boylston. Maybe, maybe Sarah Lane, but her technique can blow hot and cold. Not as secure as one would like for Juliet.


Personally I never thought of Juliet as a technical role as much as a dramatic one. Ferri, who most of us agree was one of the greatest, had technical limitations that limited her repertory. I can't imagine that she did Aurora or Theme and Variation, but she was one of the greatest dancer/actresses ever. Margot Fonteyn was a wonderful Juliet even in her later years, when she had greatly diminished technique. I'd love to see Simkin/Lane do R&J. They'd really look like children.

#19 Helene

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 03:46 PM

Since there's been no official news about the casting changes, we don't know why the casts were shifted around. There are plenty of reasons that wouldn't have driven a danseur to slap someone in the face with a white glove in another era.

#20 mimsyb

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 07:57 PM



Have faith! Gomes is a horse! I have little doubt he'll make it through. As to other contenders for the future, surely Eric Tamm should be learning the role. ABT should be looking also as to who on the female side will be next in line. Hee Seo we know, but who else has the technique and temperament for Juliet? Possibly, Isabella Boylston. Maybe, maybe Sarah Lane, but her technique can blow hot and cold. Not as secure as one would like for Juliet.


Personally I never thought of Juliet as a technical role as much as a dramatic one. Ferri, who most of us agree was one of the greatest, had technical limitations that limited her repertory. I can't imagine that she did Aurora or Theme and Variation, but she was one of the greatest dancer/actresses ever. Margot Fonteyn was a wonderful Juliet even in her later years, when she had greatly diminished technique. I'd love to see Simkin/Lane do R&J. They'd really look like children.


Agreed. A dramatic role for sure. But there is a good deal of partnering and neither Simkin or Lane excel in that department, although I've seen some big improvements in Simkin's partnering this season. Lane struggles at times (e.g. "Birthday Offering" and "Brahms/Haydn". Oddly, her supported piroettes always looked forced, sometimes late with the music). But they would certainly look the age of the characters. Now to find dancers to play their parents and not look like their grand parents! OK, Roman is Zhurban is one.

#21 4mrdncr

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 08:00 PM

Not sure if I worded this correctly for moderators (please fix if necessary) but...

TICKET AVAILABLE:
To save myself the expense of having to stay overnight in NYC--I am willing to offer up my ABT R&J Sat. July 10th evening Ctr.Parterre ticket (at a discount?) to any ABT/Vishneva-Gomes fan/BT poster, who might be interested. I am already attending the matinee performance (Hallberg/Osipova) that same day with my mother (and she needs to return to MA shortly thereafter) so I could meet the prospective purchaser at LCtr/Met--or nearby--immediately before/after the matinee, and then leave with mom. Email/PM me if this is feasible for you. (My cellphone doesn't receive emails, just texts)

(I have seen both Vishneva and Gomes peform R&J several times--though only once together, so I don't feel completely awful about missing them now. And if my finances were better, or superheated NY/MA weather more manageable for my aging parents, I'd probably stay.)

#22 Kyeong

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 08:02 PM

Not sure if I worded this correctly for moderators (please fix if necessary) but...

TICKET AVAILABLE:
To save myself the expense of having to stay overnight in NYC--I am willing to offer up my ABT R&J Sat. July 10th evening Ctr.Parterre ticket (at a discount?) to any ABT/Vishneva-Gomes fan/BT poster, who might be interested. I am already attending the matinee performance (Hallberg/Osipova) that same day with my mother (and she needs to return to MA shortly thereafter) so I could meet the prospective purchaser at LCtr/Met--or nearby--immediately before/after the matinee, and then leave with mom. Email/PM me if this is feasible for you. (My cellphone doesn't receive emails, just texts)

(I have seen both Vishneva and Gomes peform R&J several times--though only once together, so I don't feel completely awful about missing them now. And if my finances were better, or superheated NY/MA weather more manageable for my aging parents, I'd probably stay.)


I need it. I also attend at the matinee performance, so we can meet at the Met.

#23 Ambonnay

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 06:24 AM

Monday, July 5 performance

Romeo -- Gomes
Juliet -- Kent
Mercutio -- Cornejo
Benvolio -- C Lopez

Tybalt -- G Saveliev
Paris -- S Radetsky
Lady Capulet -- S Abrera
Lord Capulet -- V Barbee

Frair Laurence -- F Franklin
Three Harlots -- L Paris, A Milewski, K Boone

Marcelo technically paired Kent well. However, in Acts I and II (except for the Act I balcony scene and the Act II chapel scene), I found Marcelo's Romeo to be too forward, flamboyant at times, and impetuous. During those portions, the positive qualities in Marcelo that make him a good bravado-type lead left me thinking that his Romeo lacked a soulfulness and an inner reserve. During those portions, he seemed more into himself (or conforming to his notions of himself) than anything, or he could have been playing Basilio in Don Quixote.

While Kent danced expressively, I'm not sure she is convincing as a young girl. That being said, she danced well during the Capulet ball and balcony scenes.

Cornejo danced well, as did Carlos Lopez, as Mercutio and Benvolio. Their portrayal of Romeo's friends made it seem like a college-frat-type atmosphere, however. I found the way the Mercutio death scene is staged a bit too drawn out -- he walks around for a while, then drinks some wine and dances with a Harlot, then picks up the sword, walks around some more, and then collapses. To me, those steps seemed to lessen the impact of Mercutio's death. S Radetsky was a very proud and controlling Paris.

This was the first time I saw the ABT production of R&J. Some parts don't seem to be ideal. As examples, (1) Juliet literally playing with a cloth doll and jumping into nurse's lap during the sequence when she is introduced to Paris in Act 1, (2) the distracting nature of the role of the three harlots (I understand they pair Romeo and his buddies in some sequences), and (3) horrible costumes for Paris (the super long droopy sleeves that hang down like balloons) and for most of the corps (although the costumes for Romeo and Juliet were fine). Also, some parts of the translation from Shakespeare's play to the ABT production that are omitted seem to be unhelpful. In the ballet, there is no attempt on the part of the Frair to warn Romeo about Juliet's having taken the "deep sleep" potion to mimic death. In the play, there is such intent on the part of the Frair, but the message never reaches Romeo. That makes sense. Not even explaining why Romeo was never attempted to be alerted to Juliet's "deep sleep" does not. Also, I don't like the addition of the Harlots into the ballet, relative to the Shakespeare play. And the "market"/town center backdrop is used too much and is somewhat monocromatic.

There was a leaflet included in the program, honoring G Parkinson:

"This evening we honor Georgina Parkinson, a luminous Juliet and the original Rosaline in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's production of Romeo and Juliet. After an illustrious 20-year career as a ballerina with The Royal Ballet, she became a cherished ballet mistress and coach at [ABT]. Georgina supported, mentored and inspired our dancers for over 30 years. Her steadfast commitment and sparkling wit are greatly missed."

I had a smoked salmon plate ($11 or 12; different from the smoked salmon sandwiches) and a sangria during one of the intermissions.

#24 DeCoster

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 07:37 AM

I remember that piece about Ferri coaching Lane on Juliet. Lane has really impressed me this season. She is an expansive, if small dancer, who has such beautiful lines, although she can stumble on turns. I would love a Lane Juliet with Cornejo or even the young Simkin. Regarding Cornejo not getting many performances, I agree that Vishneva, although petite, is too powerful for his size. Lane getting more principal roles may help us see more Cornejo (Giselle?).

And a "tall" R & J with Hammoudi and Abrera would be just dreamy in my opinion. They make an utterly perfect pairing in what I've seen them in (7 Sonatas and Brahms-Hayden Variations), and I would love to see their partnership develop. Their long limbs and ability to cover space complement each other well.

I've enjoyed reading everyones' reviews this season. It sure helps me picture the many performances I can't attend. I haven't had time to post much, but when I find a moment I should comment on the Gillian Murphy Swan Lake, as I think she is at top form in this role. I also hope to report on the Osipova R & J debut this Saturday. So looking forward to it.

#25 Ambonnay

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 06:38 PM

July 6, Tuesday

Romeo -- Hallberg
Juliet -- Murphy
Mercutio -- J Matthews
Benvolio -- B Hoven

Tybalt -- P Ogle
Paris -- G DeLong
Lady Capulet -- K Boone
Lord Capulet -- R Zhurbin

Friar Laurence -- C Luckett
Three Harlots -- M Copeland, S Abrera, M Hamrick

This performance was carried along as though flushed with the blush of young love and the feeling of wind beneath the lovers' wings. Just like Hallberg's jumps and lifts.

The performance was so accomplished -- lush, refined, engaging and exquisitely danced by Hallberg. Murphy was effective as well.

The pair communicated well their budding, but deepening love. They breathed emerging feelings and growing esteem.

Hallberg was much more refined a Romeo than Gomes, and portrayed better the young generation of a noble and wealthy family than did Gomes. Gomes could well have been a member of the Verona band of joksters. Hallberg appropriately seemed like he was not at any point in time romantically interested in the harlots, but was just friendly with them, whereas Gomes seemed like he could have had some sort of seamy relationship with them.

I think Hoven worked as well here with Hallberg as lead danseur, as Hoven did in this season's two Hallberg Swan Lakes. Hoven danced better than Mathews tonight, leaping taller and being more constantly in character and more involved even when not at the centre of the action. This is the most handsome Montague trio one could imagine.

Roman Z continues to show good acting in roles that are supposed to be occupied by much older danseurs. With facial makeup, he looked (including his face and the way he carried himself) the age that V Barbee did yesterday in the same role.

Today's Paris was somewhat "softer", more laid-back, than last night's proud, controlling Paris.

#26 4mrdncr

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 06:52 PM

Monday, July 5 performance

Romeo -- Gomes
Juliet -- Kent
Mercutio -- Cornejo
Benvolio -- C Lopez

Tybalt -- G Saveliev
Paris -- S Radetsky
Lady Capulet -- S Abrera
Lord Capulet -- V Barbee

Frair Laurence -- F Franklin
Three Harlots -- L Paris, A Milewski, K Boone


This was the first time I saw the ABT production of R&J. Some parts don't seem to be ideal. As examples, (1) Juliet literally playing with a cloth doll and jumping into nurse's lap during the sequence when she is introduced to Paris in Act 1, (2) the distracting nature of the role of the three harlots (I understand they pair Romeo and his buddies in some sequences), and (3) horrible costumes for Paris (the super long droopy sleeves that hang down like balloons) and for most of the corps (although the costumes for Romeo and Juliet were fine). Also, some parts of the translation from Shakespeare's play to the ABT production that are omitted seem to be unhelpful. In the ballet, there is no attempt on the part of the Frair to warn Romeo about Juliet's having taken the "deep sleep" potion to mimic death. In the play, there is such intent on the part of the Frair, but the message never reaches Romeo. That makes sense. Not even explaining why Romeo was never attempted to be alerted to Juliet's "deep sleep" does not. Also, I don't like the addition of the Harlots into the ballet, relative to the Shakespeare play. And the "market"/town center backdrop is used too much and is somewhat monocromatic.

There was a leaflet included in the program, honoring G Parkinson:

"This evening we honor Georgina Parkinson, a luminous Juliet and the original Rosaline in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's production of Romeo and Juliet. After an illustrious 20-year career as a ballerina with The Royal Ballet, she became a cherished ballet mistress and coach at [ABT]. Georgina supported, mentored and inspired our dancers for over 30 years. Her steadfast commitment and sparkling wit are greatly missed."

I had a smoked salmon plate ($11 or 12; different from the smoked salmon sandwiches) and a sangria during one of the intermissions.


Ambonnay, the 3 Harlots, while they are not in the play, in this instance (I believe) serve the purpose of showing Romeo's maturation as an individual and lover. His frivolous play with them, is in contrast to his more serious encounters with Juliet. Because we don't have Shakespeare's language to explain Romeo's thought-processes and change in attitude, Macmillan used the harlots. Cranko had gypsies, though not used in quite the same way. I do think there are other ways to convey Romeo's maturation, but then it wouldn't be MacMillan without the undertone of sex in some of the byplay.

The thoughts/actions of Fr.Lawrence/Laurence? are extraneous to the thoughts/actions of the two principals and their immediate families, which is what a ballet (which again cannot use Shakespeare's glorious language to convey inner arguments) should concentrate on.

The costuming is almost correct for the time period--15th century Italy. And thank goodness it is only costume sleeves that are long, and not the extra long pointed toes on the shoes (which some 15th c. aristo-fops even held up with small chains attached to their knee garters!). But I do worry about ease of movement and overheating for the dancers. For some other 'takes' on that time period's clothing, see Zefirelli's 1968 film. (Last year, the costumes from the film were on display at Columbus Center, I was in heaven since I have loved them since I was v. small.)

I'm VERY glad they wrote a tribute to Ms. Parkinson in the program/insert. She deserves every honor.

#27 Ambonnay

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 07:18 PM

4mrdncr -- Thanks. I guess the 3 harlots are less objectionable in tonight's Hallberg/Mathews/Hoven depiction of Romeo/Mercutio/Benvolio. Somehow Hallberg's demeanor and his comportment of youth made the relationship with the harlots lighter and not romantic-focused. Also, Hallberg seemed to be more defending the harlots against the disrespectful behavior of Tybalt and some of the other Capulets towards the women.

I guess the harlots could serve other potential purposes in the ballet, beyond the prominent one you identified:

-- They serve as partners for the Romeo trio at one point in Act I.

-- Their antics allow some of the leading characters to get sufficient rest at some points. At a point in Act II, while Mercutio/Benvolio/one danseur from the villagers' wedding procession, dance with the three harlots, Romeo is positioned at the top of a flight of stairs in the Verona market area. He is sort of resting for a little while.

-- I guess the typical full-length ballet has several roles for female soloist-level-type dancers. In Romeo and Juliet, there really isn't a meaningful ballerina dancing role among Lady Capulet, nurse, Rosaline, etc., beyond Juliet. The support female roles, other than the harlots, are more acting roles. So the harlots provide the typical opportunities that one would like for female soloists or soloist hopefuls (e.g., the non-lilac, fairies in Sleeping Beauty).

#28 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:25 PM

Ambonnay- how did you post so quickly? I saw the same show and right when I got back I saw your post!! Speedy!!

I definitely think David and Marcelo have different approaches to Romeo. As David said in the recent ABT e-newsletter: "[Romeo's] life seems incomplete. Once he meets Juliet, he never questions it again." The way I saw it, David's Romeo believes in finding "the One" and is not too interested in Harlots. He thinks he loves Rosaline, but is tentative and shy. We see a change in his approach when he sees Juliet. Immediately he realizes that she is "the One." He goes for her right away without inhibitions. I loved David's performance tonight. He looked wonderful on stage.

I didn't see Marcelo's performance last night, but I've seen him before. I think he has Romeo more on a testosterone high and basically wants any girl he can have. I remember he placed a huge kiss on the bride's cheek (during the wedding procession in act 2) and was much more into the Harlots. Of course his love for Juliet was much deeper, but he showed more uncontrollable adolescent desire than Hallberg.

I'll be watching the gomes/Vishneva performance on Sat. night so I can confirm or deny my above statements about Gomes.

I'm pretty curious about Osipova. I can't really imagine her as Juliet, and I wonder how she'll do on her Juliet debut!

#29 Ambonnay

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:41 AM

Ambonnay- how did you post so quickly? I saw the same show and right when I got back I saw your post!! Speedy!!

I definitely think David and Marcelo have different approaches to Romeo. As David said in the recent ABT e-newsletter: "[Romeo's] life seems incomplete. Once he meets Juliet, he never questions it again." The way I saw it, David's Romeo believes in finding "the One" and is not too interested in Harlots. He thinks he loves Rosaline, but is tentative and shy. We see a change in his approach when he sees Juliet. Immediately he realizes that she is "the One." He goes for her right away without inhibitions. I loved David's performance tonight. He looked wonderful on stage.

I didn't see Marcelo's performance last night, but I've seen him before. I think he has Romeo more on a testosterone high and basically wants any girl he can have. I remember he placed a huge kiss on the bride's cheek (during the wedding procession in act 2) and was much more into the Harlots. Of course his love for Juliet was much deeper, but he showed more uncontrollable adolescent desire than Hallberg.

I'll be watching the gomes/Vishneva performance on Sat. night so I can confirm or deny my above statements about Gomes.

I'm pretty curious about Osipova. I can't really imagine her as Juliet, and I wonder how she'll do on her Juliet debut!

onxmyxtoes -- There were two intermissions, and I stayed in my seat during one of them. I started taking down some thoughts on my iPhone which became the crux of my post.

I'm glad you mentioned Marcelo kissing ladies other than Juliet. He planted a full on kiss on one of the harlots' lips during Act I Monday evening. Cornejo did the same on a harlot after he gets stabbed by Tybalt and as he saunters about before his collapse in death. I was wondering whether Hallberg would follow suit. As you might recall last night, Hallberg only pecked on the cheek one of the harlots, in a gentle/greeting kind of way, during a market scene other than the first one. Hallberg has already met Murphy at that time, and the kiss on the cheeks (as opposed to Marcelo's on the lips) seemed an unobtrusive greeting and expressive of how the Montague trio viewed the Harlots with compassion and did not look down upon them.

I agree that Hallberg's portrayal of Romeo is less hormones-drive. He's more pensive, more coming onto his own. He seems slightly younger than Marcelo's Romeo. What is great about that is each danseur's portrayal is in keeping with how their dancing styles would suggest they might play Romeo (not the only way each could play Romeo, but one of the ways you could see each of them could play that role).

I must stress how beautifully, beautifully David has been dancing this Met season. I thought he danced gorgeously last year and before, with great technique and beauty of line. He has continued so remarkably.

On your curiosity about Hallberg/Osipova, I'll try to report the best I can on that. I also have tickets to the Gomes/Vishneva, because I had been intent on seeing Corella. I didn't think I could do both ballets on the Sleeping Beauty double bill Saturday (because the pair I preferred seeing Hallberg/Osipova was in the evening, and I worried that watching the earlier couple would make me tired for the evening performance). However, I had originally planned to see whether I could see Gomes/Vishneva after Hallberg/Osipova this Saturday. We'll see if I can do that.

#30 bcash

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 07:26 AM

Monday, July 5 performance

Romeo -- Gomes
Juliet -- Kent
Mercutio -- Cornejo
Benvolio -- C Lopez



Marcelo technically paired Kent well. However, in Acts I and II (except for the Act I balcony scene and the Act II chapel scene), I found Marcelo's Romeo to be too forward, flamboyant at times, and impetuous. During those portions, the positive qualities in Marcelo that make him a good bravado-type lead left me thinking that his Romeo lacked a soulfulness and an inner reserve. During those portions, he seemed more into himself (or conforming to his notions of himself) than anything, or he could have been playing Basilio in Don Quixote.


You are right. Soulfulness, inner reserve and maybe a touch of pathos are essential qualities of Shakespear's Romeo. The approach of Gomes to the role you described seems the same as Corella's, which is why I don't understand why some people see Corella as the best Romeo. But then the MacMillan production in general did away with the underlying sense of pathos and dark premonition of Shakespear's original work.

I think Nureyev's version might be more faithful to Shakespear's R&J in this respect. Rumor has it that the literary critics reacted better to Nureyev's production than dance critics did initially.


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