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Romeo & Juliet - Spring 2012


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#1 Batsuchan

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:12 PM

I'm still in ballet heaven after that amazing, astounding, heart-crushing, wonderful performance of "Romeo & Juliet" with Vishneva and Gomes!!!

In "Onegin," their characters never got to be happily in love together, so I felt like they took all that unrequited passion and unleashed it in R&J tonight. I've seen their 2009 and 2010 performances of R&J, as well as the balcony pas de deux at this year's opening night gala, but I felt like tonight was their best performance ever. I feel like they have taken their partnership to new heights this season. They can just stand and look at each other and you FEEL the connection. And they are so comfortable with each other that they can take risks--Diana really threw herself at Marcelo--and be incredibly passionate. One friend of mine said it took her all of the intermission after Act I to recover from their balcony pas de deux!

I'm sure some might find Diana and Marcelo's acting a bit over-the-top, but for me, it may be very dramatic, but it feels completely genuine. As another friend said, Diana's "scream" upon finding Romeo's body in the crypt was almost painfully real.

The house looked packed tonight as far as I could tell (with people in standing room), and the ovation at the end of the ballet was enormous--at least as big, if not bigger than after last week's "Onegin." And entirely well-deserved, in my opinion. BRAVO!

As usual, Diana and Marcelo's curtain calls were almost worth the price of admission--even after the show, they were so affectionate towards each other! Posted Image

#2 PAmom

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 02:46 AM

I'm still in ballet heaven after that amazing, astounding, heart-crushing, wonderful performance of "Romeo & Juliet" with Vishneva and Gomes!!!

I so wanted to see last evening's performance after seeing Mr. Gomes and Ms. Vishneva in "Onegin." Thank you for your insights!

I will be fortunate to see Mr. Hammoudi and Ms. Seo at the upcoming Wednesday matinee. So many exciting debutes this week!

#3 nysusan

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:05 AM

I agree that Vishneva and Gomes were wonderful last night. Th other soloists were good, but I felt that the rest of the company looked very listless and unengaged, I was really bored when V&G weren't on the stage. Or maybe I've just seen too many R&Js. Its not my favorite ballet but ABT just fields so many casts that are capable of transcendent performances in it that its hard to stay away.

#4 abatt

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:18 AM

Loved the performance of Vishneva and Gomes as well. I suspect that R&J will not be performed next season. They will probably do Manon instead.

#5 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 08:54 AM

I went last night too, Diana and Marcelo take their partnership to a brand new level every time they dance together, and last night, once again, the sky was the limit for such a tremendously emotional Romeo and Juliet, a true piece of art.
I have seen all their R & J here, but the one last night was to me their best, and certainly one of the best I have ever seen.

Vishneva uses her gorgeous lines, her amazing technique, and those gorgeously long arms and limbs in such a musical and dramatic way,
it really touched me, very much, every single movement, every single little moment, nothing was wasted.
She danced and responded to music from begining to end with astonishing perfection.

In the final scene, i jumped from my seat in one of the shaking moments when he was moving her around, it was so wild, and she was so dead,
that I trully thought she may have injured her back, no way a living human being would ever have such abandon in such movement.
When she woke up, and realized that her Romeo was dead, that last scream of pain, went deep into my chest.

The number of details are countless. In Act I she made 180 degree, slow motion, perfectly centered piruoete in attitude which was a marvel, and those extensions ! her lines are so beautiful, her body sems to have been tailored made to dance classic ballet.

The bedroom pdd was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, the movements were as expansive and beautiful as you can imagine, she has literally no bones in that back, the coordination was so perfect, both danced their variations flawless.........In Act III, her face when sitting in her bed, going from the desperation of what i am going to do, to ok, this is it, I have the solution,........and I could go on and on with every single step of the coreography. She just threw herself into the role, in a really distinctive way.

Brava Diana, bravisima, I cant thank abt enough for giving us the pleasure of enjoying the career of one of the most talented and accomplished artist of her generation, and for developing such a powerful, emotional and incredible partnership with our beloved Marcelo
....and next year, if we could only see her in SL too Posted Image

#6 Batsuchan

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 11:43 AM

The number of details are countless. In Act I she made 180 degree, slow motion, perfectly centered piruoete in attitude which was a marvel, and those extensions ! her lines are so beautiful, her body sems to have been tailored made to dance classic ballet.

The bedroom pdd was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, the movements were as expansive and beautiful as you can imagine, she has literally no bones in that back, the coordination was so perfect, both danced their variations flawless.........In Act III, her face when sitting in her bed, going from the desperation of what i am going to do, to ok, this is it, I have the solution,........and I could go on and on with every single step of the coreography. She just threw herself into the role, in a really distinctive way.

Brava Diana, bravisima, I cant thank abt enough for giving us the pleasure of enjoying the career of one of the most talented and accomplished artist of her generation, and for developing such a powerful, emotional and incredible partnership with our beloved Marcelo
....and next year, if we could only see her in SL too Posted Image


Classic_Ballet, you took the words right out of my mouth!! I agree wholeheartedly!

I too could go on forever about the details Diana brought to her performance--my friends and I marveled at the way her leg whips out and up to her ear in her variation at the ball, with seemingly no effort at all. I also love the way she plays the moment when her Nurse reveals that Romeo is a Montague--she goes almost limp with despair, as if she's previewing what will come in Act III.

Like you, I too hope that we will get to see her in "Swan Lake" again...the White swan p.d.d she did with Marcelo in their 2009 performance remains the best I've ever seen (though I admit that I'm relatively new to ballet-watching...).

@ abatt - I do hope they do "Manon" again, though not necessarily at the expense of R&J. I've never seen "Manon" performed live, so that would be thrilling for me!

Will be back at the Met for Kent & Bolle tonight!

#7 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:03 PM

oh Batsuschan, so glad you felt the same, I think everyone in the house fell under their spell last night.

...and I forgot to mention her pas de bourees...omg, she flew all over the stage, she levitated, the speed was unbelievable...... in the final scene with Hammoudi, her desperation, the disgust to be in his hands was stunning, the partnered pirouettes were so fast and marvelously synchronized wth her arms movements rejecting him, she was so abandoned that in one of the turns when he is holding her by her arm and she is on point, she almost fell, not because of her, but because she did not move a single muscle to stabilize her position, she was completely out of her own body....i am almost sure Hammoudi himself was a little shocked, he realized he had to hold her real strong or otherwise she would fall.

#8 abatt

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 12:31 PM

No reports on the Saturday R&J's?

#9 Batsuchan

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 06:30 PM

No reports on the Saturday R&J's?


Here's one! Posted Image

I attended the Saturday evening performance with Kent and Bolle.

The Kent-Bolle pairing was no match for the fireworks of Vishneva & Gomes, BUT, in my opinion, Bolle is a PERFECT Romeo. It's true that he struggled a little bit with some of the turns--sometimes he could land his pirouettes nicely, even extending a leg at the end, but other times he had to hop a bit on the landing. But he just IS Romeo. Although he's much closer to 40 than 20, he still has this boyish grin and almost angelic charm and is much, much more believable as a dreamy, innocent teenager than Marcelo, in my opinion. And he totally looks the part. Posted Image

Whenever he was onstage, the crowd scenes seemed less dreary, though he was helped by a very strong Mercutio (played by a very technically-on Jared Matthews). And Act III may have actually felt sadder than on Friday night--Bolle looked so sad when he found Juliet, that you couldn't help but feel so sorry for this broken-hearted young boy!

I think he and Julie Kent have forged a nice partnership over the past few years, but I kind of wish that he had had a more powerful Juliet to play off of. (I remember his 2009 performance with Dvorovenko as being spectacular!)

Julie Kent is still a beautiful, touching artist, but her waning technique was obvious to me, especially in comparison to Vishneva the night before. She still has impressive core strength and balance, so she can pull off some very nice balances and turns, and she does very well when partnered by the uber-strong Bolle. However, she has lost some the flexibility in her front and side extensions and no longer does a 180-degree split in the grand jetes. Everything she does remains graceful and elegant, but compared to Vishneva's full-throttled, throwing-caution-to-the-wind dancing, she came off looking a little restrained and limited to me.

In general, Vishneva's Juliet was wildly passionate and rather unhinged, especially in Act III--for better or for worse--but there was one scene where she did less than Kent: when Juliet is sitting on her bed in Act III, thinking about what to do. Kent slowly sort of rolled her head from side to side, as if showing us the wheels in her head turning--but I did not see the epiphany moment in her face. In contrast, Vishneva kept her face completely blank, and almost motionless. She had her face tilted slightly downward, and slowly, slowly, almost imperceptibly, she raised her face up and fully into the light (very subtle but effective, I thought). And then--I don't know how she does it--but it's like her eyes are not really seeing and then suddenly FOCUS. I was looking through binoculars and I could definitely SEE the epiphany moment in those huge eyes of hers.

But in the end, like I mentioned above, I keenly felt the tragedy thanks to Roberto's heartbreaking Romeo. During the bows, Julie Kent looked like she was on the verge of crying, she was so deeply moved.

Two nights, two great performances! Posted Image

#10 abatt

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:18 AM

I attended the Monday evening performance w. Hallberg, Osipova and Cornejo. Osipova is fascinating to watch, and she can and does fly through the air like a rocket. However, I thought some of her performance lacked nuance. I don't think she has performed the role many times, and so her Juliet is a work in progress. I don't think she has the upper body fluidity that someone like Vishneva has. Also, sometimes she takes thing to an extreme that is counterproductive. In the scene where she is forced to dance w. Paris in her bedroom, the ballerina is supposed to be somewhat limp (foreshadowing what will happen in the final scene). Osipova took it such an extreme that she practically collapsed to the floor, evoking laughter from the audience. I've been going to R&J for about 15 years, and have never heard laughter at that moment. However, later in that same scene I liked what she did to show her revulsion, as she pulled her body in extreme positions away from Paris (Hammoudi). Also, when she's sitting on the bed hatching her plan to visit the Friar for the sleeping potion, she went from extreme sadness to having a huge grin. It just doesn't ring true.Sometimes less is more in this ballet. I also felt that her reaction to her first kiss with Romeo during the balcony scene was too over the top. Having said all these things, I must admit that much of her dancing was wonderful, and her childlike face and small size enhance the tragedy of the story. Hallberg has the most beautiful lines of any man at ABT, and he was goregous, especially in the balcony scene. The height and speed of his movements (and Osipova's) conveyed the urgency of their love. Sascha Radetsky (tybalt) played the sword fighting scene where he kills Mercutio as though he was completely drunk. Everyone who has seen Cornejo dance Mercutio already knows how wonderful he is in that role. Quick turns, great height on the jumps. Simkin danced an excellent Benvolio.


The audience went nuts after the balcony scene, and continued to applaud until Hallberg and Osipova came in front of the curtain. Normally, there are no intermission bows at ABT. Had to head out pretty quickly at the end of the show, but I'm sure the ovation must have been enormous. I was glad to have seen this performance, and Osipova is an astonishing dancer in many ways, but it did not rival Friday's Vishneva/Gomes performance. It seemed that the performance last night was very, very well sold.

I miss Freddie Franklin as the Friar. Without him the role is a total bore.

#11 California

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:32 AM

I attended the Monday evening performance w. Hallberg, Osipova and Cornejo. Osipova is fascinating to watch, and she can and does fly through the air like a rocket. However, I thought some of performance lacked nuance. I don't think she has performed the role many times, and so her Juliet is a work in progress. I don't think she has the upper body fluidity that someone like Vishneva has. Also, sometimes she takes thing to an extreme that is counterproductive. In the scene where she is forced to dance w. Paris in her bedroom, the ballerina is supposed to be somewhat limp (foreshadowing what will happen in the final scene). Osipova took it such an extreme that she practically collapsed to the floor, evoking laughter from the audience. I've been going to R&J for about 15 years, and have never heard laughter at that moment. However, later in that same scene I liked what she did to show her revulsion, as she pulled her body in extreme positions away from Paris (Hammoudi). Also, when she's sitting on the bed hatching her plan to visit the Friar for the sleeping potion, she went from extreme sadness to having a huge grin. It just doesn't ring true.Sometimes less is more in this ballet. I also felt that her reaction to her first kiss with Romeo during the balcony scene was too over the top. Having said all these things, I must admit that much of her dancing was wonderful, and her childlike face and small size enhance the tragedy of the story. Hallberg has the most beautiful lines of any man at ABT, and he was goregous, especially in the balcony scene. The height and speed of his movements (and Osipova's) conveyed the urgency of their love. Sascha Radetsky (tybalt) played the sword fighting scene where he kills Mercutio as though he was completely drunk. Everyone who has seen Cornejo dance Mercutio already knows how wonderful he is in that role. Quick turns, great height on the jumps. Simkin danced an excellent Benvolio.


The audience went nuts after the balcony scene, and continued to applaud until Hallberg and Osipova came in front of the curtain. Normally, there are no intermission bows at ABT. Had to head out pretty quickly at the end of the show, but I'm sure the ovation must have been enormous. I was glad to have seen this performance, and Osipova is an astonishing dancer in many ways, but it did not rival Friday's Vishneva/Gomes performance.


I did not see the Vishneva/Gomes, but saw the Osipova/Hallberg last night and just loved it. The curtain calls at the end were very touching. Cornejo in front of the curtain got noticeably enthusiastic cheers, too. For some, O&H had their arms around each other's waist and would bow forward together, a variation I hadn't seen. And yes, they were called back several times, walking the width of the stage for more bows together in front of the standing ovation.

I don't remember ever seeing the audience demanding bows after the balcony scene, but it was very intense and heartfelt. The lights were up. The orchestra was gone for intermission, but the audience would not relent. After a long time, the two came out in front of the curtain to very loud cheers and standing ovation. They seemed touched.

The only odd thing I would add about her interpretation: when she is running, instead of a delicate run, she pulls her arms back, sharply bent at the elbow, and pumps her arms, in what looks more like the run of a gymnast on the way to a tumbling run than a dancer. That worked in Bright Stream, but doesn't fit in R&J.

#12 abatt

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:40 AM

Yes, I noticed the thing you're referring to California regarding the running sequence. To me, it was another example of how she needs to better calibrate certain aspects of her performance in this ballet. Small adjustments in her performance would yield signficant improvements in the overall dramatic arc of her character.

#13 Ilya

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 09:07 AM

I'm very surprised to read descriptions of Osipova's performance as over-the-top. It seems to me that Juliet herself is over-the-top and should therefore be portrayed as such, in order for a convincing characterization to be achieved. Falling in love at first sight, getting secretly married to someone from a rival clan, and committing a suicide---all during a very short period of time, all at the age of 13---this sounds quite extreme to me. How does one make this improbable story look logical without portraying the heroine as going somewhat off-kilter? I thought that Osipova brilliantly conveyed Juliet's emotional fragility and her being driven to near-madness at times. It was an astonishing performance in all respects, especially memorable for the intensity of Osipova's acting. Watching both her and Hallberg, it was difficult to imagine more convincing interpretations.

The balcony scene and the bedroom pdd weren't simply sequences of beautiful steps and lifts (as they can be sometimes): they were infused with emotion and drama. It was electrifying and, at times, almost scary.

#14 abatt

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 09:41 AM

Ferri and Bocca remain my gold standard for this ballet.

#15 MakarovaFan

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 01:11 PM

I loved last night's performance with Osipova and Hallberg. Leaving the theatre I felt exhillerated and that kind of ballet experience hasn't happened to me in years. Seeing Osipova as Gamzatti last month demonstrated that she is more than a bravura virtuoso, but her Juliet was a revelation. At the start she is a spritely bundle of energy and every bit a little girl. But when she first locks eyes on David Hallberg at the ball her face underwent a sudden, dramatic change that took one's breath away. The balcony PDD was stunning. The sheer beauty and elegance of Hallberg's line, plus his faultless jumps and turns prove why he is such a star. He and Osipova filled the duet with a rapturous, burning intensity and the way they molded their bodies together in exquisite harmony explains why the audience went crazy as the curtain fell. I've been going to R&J at The Met for 20 years and have never seen the crowd insist on a curtain call at the end of Act I. Osipova and Hallberg seemed genuinely touched by the reception.

They danced the bedroom PDD with desperate passion. But what really blew me away was how Osipova turned Juliet's inner struggle about the Paris dilemma and the sleeping potion decision into a vortex of charged energy and despair that made her look like a wild animal. She was particularly gorgeous when she had the epiphany to go see Friar Laurence and, seizing the green cloak, she arched her back langorously, and literally jets around the stage like a tornado, devouring space, with the cloak billowing behind her and exits with feet barely touching the ground. The way she flies and floats is amazing.

Herman Cornejo was the other highlight of the evening. He infused his Mercutio with a wonderful joie de vivre and, despite his small stature, his turns and jumps were superb and powerful. His Mandolin Dance was fantastic and he made the treacherous choreography look effortless.

Unfortunately, not everything was great last night. The orchestra sounded dreadful. I don't know how much was the fault of Maestro DeMarche or not enough rehearsals, but the strings sounded too thin and the horn section was positively anemic. Also, during Mercutio's dance of death there was a woodwind passage that came to an abrupt halt and I felt so bad for Cornejo. Also Kristi Boone's Lady Capulet was uninspired. I still have Georgina Parkinson's brilliant performance from the 90's in my head and her raging grief at the death of her nephew/lover Tybalt's death.

Despite the roar that greeted Osipova and Hallberg at the curtain calls, they both looked completely drained and Osipova could't even smile at first. But they both soon recovered and the extensive bows showed what a complete triumph their R&J was.


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