Batsuchan

Romeo & Juliet - Spring 2012

52 posts in this topic

I was so thoroughly moved by Saturday night's performance that I have not been able to gather my thoughts or find words sufficient to describe adequately what transpired that evening. In the meantime, I will quote from Batsuchan, describing a moment of "epiphany" (although, she was describing Vishneva's and Gomez's performance), and from Leigh, in the Post, describing achieving "communion" (although, he was discussing Osipova's and Hallberg's performance.)

Leigh wrote: "The real magic happened . . . . [T]heir dumbstruck glances and passionate kisses went beyond chemistry to communion."

Bat wrote:

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.

In Roberto Bolle's performance, every subtle gesture conveyed complex details about character, plot, theme, and emotion. The moment of recognition of true love in Roberto Bolle's face was overpowering, stunning, honest, and real. It served as compelling testimony to the expressive power of dance and art, where words fail.

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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.

Yes, that laughter! blink.png It was coming from the older couple, sitting next to us in the orchestra. Actually, the whole ballet amused them very much, because they laughed at each movement. Pas de bourre couru seemed especially hilarious..

During the bedroom scene, when they started laughing, people in rows in front of them were turning heads to see what is wrong with them.

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I just came back from a heart-wrenching performance with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg!

In the same way that Roberto Bolle seems to be an ideal Romeo to me, Alina Cojocaru is definitely the ideal Juliet for me (since I've had the misfortune to never see Ferri live--a shame, I know). She looks like she's 13, and it doesn't feel like she's acting as all--she just IS Juliet. She definitely made the ballet for me!

In the final scene, a pang went through my heart when she screamed, and when she stabbed herself, she immediately collapsed to the floor. "Oh no, how is she going to get back onto the bed??" I worried. And watching Alina slowly, painfully crawl her way back onto the bed, stretching each finger out over the surface in an effort to reach Romeo was utterly, completely devastating.

Kobborg was also very effective in the death scene, and at the end, I just felt totally spent.

Although they may not have reached the mind-blowing heights of passion in their balcony scene like Vishneva & Gomes, they had a lovely and touching connection, and they totally broke my heart at the end. As it should be!

I'm sure I'll have more to add later after I've recovered a bit, but for now, BRAVO!

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I went to the Vishneva/Gomes performance earlier and attended the Cojocaru/Kobborg performance tonight. I agree with Batsuchan above when he/she says that Cojocaru is the ideal Juliet. I'm not a fan of over-the-top dancing at all and to me, Cojocaru hit the sweet spot completely tonight with her nuanced and well danced version of Juliet. C/K were not as powerful physically as V/G, but I found a story in their performance much more easily. I was somewhat hesitant about Kobborg at the start of Act I, but by the balcony scene, he seemed more a man than a silly boy and sold me on the part. I hope I can see more of these two (or anything with Alina, honestly) in the future!

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MakarovaFan noted the orchestra in the previous page and I have to agree - there was one section tonight where the strings sounded sublime, but at other times, one flooby flute solo, French horns out of tune, a violin solo out of tune, etc. I thought the orchestra had rebounded in the past few years, but I'm not so sure after this season!

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Alina was a pleasure as Juliet. It was a lovely performance. It was not overplayed - just right. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a big fan of Kobborg. I know he's no youngster, but his performance early in the ballet when he dances w. his friends before entering the ball was very poorly done. He seemed to warm up and improve as the ballet went on. Sometimes he looked like he was marking the steps instead of performing full out. I fail to understand why ABT keeps inviting him, unless Alina requires it as part of a package deal. Also, does anyone else here feel that he wears way too much makeup?

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Yes, that laughter! blink.png It was coming from the older couple, sitting next to us in the orchestra. Actually, the whole ballet amused them very much, because they laughed at each movement. Pas de bourre couru seemed especially hilarious..

During the bedroom scene, when they started laughing, people in rows in front of them were turning heads to see what is wrong with them.

I was sitting up in the balcony and I heard laughter at the above mentioned points. It was more than two people. There were enough people laughing that it could be heard throughout the house on Monday. Weird.

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Alina was a pleasure as Juliet. It was a lovely performance. It was not overplayed - just right. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a big fan of Kobborg. I know he's no youngster, but his performance early in the ballet when he dances w. his friends before entering the ball was very poorly done. He seemed to warm up and improve as the ballet went on. Much of the time he looked like he was marking the steps instead of performing full out. I fail to understand why ABT keeps inviting him, unless Alina requires it as part of a package deal.

That was exactly my thought. That it looked like he was marking. Especially after watching David etch out those steps so beautifully just a few nights earlier. I also thought he improved. He did dance fairly well in the ballroom scene, and even better in the balcony scene.

You just don't get the architecture of the steps though.

I did enjoy his characterization, however. I just wish he hadn't required the early part of the ballet to warm up. Or maybe it was reserving his energy. Whatever it was, it was a bit of a disappointment.

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Agree with Batsuchan about last night with Cojocaru/ Kobburg. I must have sat in my seat crying after the last call for several minutes, before the ushers came to ask me to leave. I have no words for her Juliet, other than to say I'm pretty sure we saw greatness last night. And if Kobburg isn't the huge bravado dancer that others are, still he was the ONLY person Juliet could love and fight to be with. Their deaths at the end bespoke Shakespeare's words,"eyes, look your last; arms, take your last embrace; and lips, O you the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss a dateless bargain to engrossing death".

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Alina was a pleasure as Juliet. It was a lovely performance. It was not overplayed - just right. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a big fan of Kobborg. I know he's no youngster, but his performance early in the ballet when he dances w. his friends before entering the ball was very poorly done. He seemed to warm up and improve as the ballet went on. Much of the time he looked like he was marking the steps instead of performing full out. I fail to understand why ABT keeps inviting him, unless Alina requires it as part of a package deal.

I did enjoy his characterization, however. I just wish he hadn't required the early part of the ballet to warm up. Or maybe it was reserving his energy. Whatever it was, it was a bit of a disappointment.

Responding to myself here! I'm still caffeinating....

I just wanted to clarify that I thought his slow start was somewhat of a disappointment, not that the night/performance was. They (unsurprisingly as they are of course a couple) had a really lovely and touching rapport. And it was on the whole very very well danced.

I also wanted to say that while salstein is of course not Cornejo as Mercutio, he made the role his own and did a very nice job with the difficult mandolin dance. For me to enjoy someone else dancing that as much as I did, so soon after seeing Cornejo in the role says a lot about the quality of performance. Kudos to Salstein!

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I cried, too, last night. A lot! Alina Cojocaru was so exquisite. I was totally overcome by the sheer beauty of her artistry. The way she shapes a phrase and envelopes herself inside the music. Although she fully articulates every position, it always appears totally fluid like liquid silver. And her dancing (and acting) was so full of contrasts. Delicate yet powerful. Passionate yet nuanced. Last night’s performance will resonate forever in my heart. What a privilege to catch a glimpse of heaven on earth as embodied by this great, great ballerina.

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I was there for Cojocaru/Kobborg too. I agree with what has been said about Cojocaru's Juliet. This was a great performance. I disagree with some of what's been said about Kobberg. I think both had characterizations that were amazingly real and true, in their own actions and their every interaction with each other and the other characters.

Their connection was beautiful and so right though-out, from their first look to the final scene. Every moment gave insight into their feelings and everything seemed specific not generic.

As far as Kobborg's own dancing, I never found him lacking techniquely, although he did not dance in a bravado manner, I thought it fine dancing. His whole approach looked more relaxed than some other dancers, particularly in the beginning, which I saw as a reflection of his character. I have to admit that I have always found the choreography for Romeo rather awkward no matter who I see do it, but I liked Kobberg's easy manner. Through-out I thought his dancing stayed in character and never had the feeling of -- OK lets stop to do some steps now -- that sometimes comes across. I also noted his sword fighting had a lot of aggression and seemed realer than the others. Maybe being Royal Ballet he just has more experience with it. My husband, who has done a lot of theatrical sword fighting, said it had something to do with the extension of his arm.

I can't speak to his use of make up. I didn't note it one way or the other from Dress Circle.

Last year when I saw C & K do Sleeping Beauty I felt privileged to see them together - the rapport, musicality, nuances and beauty of the partnering. I feel that even more so now.

Salstein was excellent as Mercutio.

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Yes, that laughter! blink.png It was coming from the older couple, sitting next to us in the orchestra. Actually, the whole ballet amused them very much, because they laughed at each movement. Pas de bourre couru seemed especially hilarious..

During the bedroom scene, when they started laughing, people in rows in front of them were turning heads to see what is wrong with them.

I was sitting up in the balcony and I heard laughter at the above mentioned points. It was more than two people. There were enough people laughing that it could be heard throughout the house on Monday. Weird.

Yes abatt. I was near the front orchestra and heard laughter from at least 10 people all around me during the bedroom scene duet with Paris and Osipova's pas de bouree couru. It was strange and inexplicable. dunno.gif

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Also, in the opening of the balcony scene she was totally out of light, hidden a bit upstage. If that was a "choice" it's misguided. Someone needs to tell her her marks for lighting. Odd that she couldn't "feel the moon" on her face.

New York Times published pictures from J&R, here is the one of opening of the balcony scene.

Natialia Osipova is "feeling the moon" on her face.

She is in the light, clearly visible. (And this is exactly how I remember seeing it.)

http://www.nytimes.c...2_ABT_SS-5.html

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Also, in the opening of the balcony scene she was totally out of light, hidden a bit upstage. If that was a "choice" it's misguided. Someone needs to tell her her marks for lighting. Odd that she couldn't "feel the moon" on her face.

New York Times published pictures from J&R, here is the one of opening of the balcony scene.

Natialia Osipova is "feeling the moon" on her face.

She is in the light, clearly visible. (And this is exactly how I remember seeing it.)

http://www.nytimes.c...2_ABT_SS-5.html

Thank you for pointing this out. That's exactly how I remember it as well. But after reading some of the messages on this thread I was beginning to wonder if I was imagining things. It's nice to have a piece of physical evidence to confirm that I can still trust my senses.

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Also, in the opening of the balcony scene she was totally out of light, hidden a bit upstage. If that was a "choice" it's misguided. Someone needs to tell her her marks for lighting. Odd that she couldn't "feel the moon" on her face.

New York Times published pictures from J&R, here is the one of opening of the balcony scene.

Natialia Osipova is "feeling the moon" on her face.

She is in the light, clearly visible. (And this is exactly how I remember seeing it.)

http://www.nytimes.c...2_ABT_SS-5.html

Thank you for pointing this out. That's exactly how I remember it as well. But after reading some of the messages on this thread I was beginning to wonder if I was imagining things. It's nice to have a piece of physical evidence to confirm that I can still trust my senses.

But I'm afraid that, to my taste, picture 4 confirms some other critics, and my fear. Maybe just a bad editor choice, though. I cannot imagine, how she will be with Vasilev in Tokyo: they are dancig R&J next year with La Scala. She is often very over the top when dancing with him (I LOVE it in some ballet, much less in others). Anyway she is always one of the very few dancers worthing a trip: I'm looking forward her Swan Lake, Manon and Esmeralda in Milan next season (being grateful also for a trip of just 15 min by bike).

MacCauly reviews are always illuminating, for what he says about his casts (FIVE!!! some were truly unmissable for baletomans, anyway congratulations for the dedication of the professional critic!) and for what he skips (a review by itself).

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There is a distinction between matters of taste (describing one's opinion of the performance) and matters of fact (giving a play-by-play of some parts of the performance). There can be many different opinions, but surely there is only one set of facts. It has been simply pointed out above that one of the NY Times pictures refutes a factually incorrect statement made on this thread about Monday's performance.

Of course the NY Times photos cannot possibly refute anyone's opinion of the quality of the performance: those who didn't like it will probably dislike the photos as well. I for one liked all the pictures (of all the three casts, including the ones that I, unfortunately, didn't get to watch), including picture 4.

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NY Times states: "Mr. Hallberg is a completely rounded Romeo: he’s both patrician and rebellious, brave and overwhelmed, conscientious and defiant."

Is this Romeo? I think I saw another ballet.

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NY Times states: "Mr. Hallberg is a completely rounded Romeo: he’s both patrician and rebellious, brave and overwhelmed, conscientious and defiant."

Is this Romeo?

I'd say yes.

I don't undestand if the critic is to the reviewer or the performer.

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It has been simply pointed out above that one of the NY Times pictures refutes a factually incorrect statement made on this thread about Monday's performance.

Are we sure that they were taken at the same performance? :-) I don't know about ABT habits, but companies usually have photoshoots at dress rehearsals.

I for one liked all the pictures

Honestly I didn't: I think some are quite bad ballet photos, n1 and 5 especially.

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Are we sure that they were taken at the same performance? :-) I don't know about ABT habits, but companies usually have photoshoots at dress rehearsals.

I think they were probably taken in dress rehearsals earlier in the day. From what I know, they tend to take the pics then, rather than during the actual performance. But who knows?

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Her larger than life portrayal carried over into an actual physical over stepping of the stage at times. The Met stage is pretty big and if not big enough for her, it's all we've got, short of building her a new theater. She needs to learn to pace herself space wise so she doesn't step "out of frame" into the wings and out of the light as she is wont to do. Also, in the opening of the balcony scene she was totally out of light, hidden a bit upstage. If that was a "choice" it's misguided. Someone needs to tell her her marks for lighting. Odd that she couldn't "feel the moon" on her face. I guess I'm in the minority here, but I felt little passion between Osipova and Hallberg.

Sounds like perhaps a partial-view seat. There are many of those at the Met---many more than the management would officially admit. Osipova was certainly always "in the frame" (unlike in "Bayadere" where she did finish a variation inside the wing). She was very clearly visible throughout the opening of the balcony scene, "felt the moon" on her face---it was actually a very beautiful moment, and the passion between her and Hallberg was quite obvious from seat E12 in the orchestra.

As for the curtain call after the balcony scene, just plain poor taste.

As a practical matter, it's difficult to see what else they could have done. The audience just wouldn't leave for the intermission and wouldn't stop clapping. For a very, very, very long time. This was very unusual for ABT. I think their coming out for a bow was the only reasonable solution.

I hope I am pasting the quotes above correctly - please excuse me if they have not pasted properly

My comments:

Osipova/Hallberg’s Romeo and Juliet: While most members on Ballet Alert seemed to love the performance, I was quite surprised to read the negative comments such as “over the top” with regard to Osipova. I was at Monday night’s performance and thought it was spectacular, and in a class by itself. I have seen many of the world's greatest ballerinas dance Juliet, many of which have simply blown me away. I expected a lot from Osipova, but once again, she surpassed all expectations. WOW! I can't even begin to describe it, except to say, that both dancers were truly committed and believable. Natasha was so in the role that my entire heart simply ached, and I had to keep from crying. The audience was so engrossed, that you could hear a pin drop. The connection between this pair of dancers is very special, even down to David’s gentle kiss on Natasha’s forehead during the final curtain calls.

As far as the curtain call at the first intermission…that was brought on by the insistence of the audience. The dancers had no choice but to finally come out. The lights were on, and the audience demanded to show their appreciation. It may not be the custom, but I think it is unfair to pick on ABT for allowing it. The curtain was down, the house lights on, and they took a curtain call at the intermission.

On to the comment about Osipova’s face in the moonlight. I saw her face very clearly from my orchestra seat. I always make it a point of sitting on the left side of the orchestra for Romeo and Juliet so that I am sure to see the balcony scene clearly. Monday night was no exception. Osipova was not in the shadows. To quote Ilya: “She was very clearly visible throughout the opening of the balcony scene, "felt the moon" on her face”

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