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Romeo & Juliet - Spring 2012


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#16 mimsyb

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 01:19 PM

While an "over the top" Juliet can seem right for a girl of thirteen, newly in love, Osipova carried it to an extreme. While all that athletic running about might be fine if someday ABT decides to field a soccer team, for me she just came off like a spoiled nine year old. It negated her formidable technique and left her with no vulnerability. Her grinning mouth and athleticism would somehow seem better suited to the cowgirl in "Rodeo" than a Renaissance maiden. (actually, "Rodeo" would be a good role for Osipova). 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. They just didn't seem to be on the same page emotionally. The steps were all there, but so was the calculation in front of everything they did. Friday's Vishneva/Gomes was as seamless as it comes. Last night was all jittery stops and starts. "Arm up, check." "Leg whipped around, check. On and on it went. Even in death, she looked more like she was rock climbing than reaching out to her lover. As for the curtain call after the balcony scene, just plain poor taste. I know, you see it in Europe and Russia all the time, but to break the fourth wall at that particular moment and bring them out as mere dancers (surprise!), was, in my opinion a very poor choice on ABT's part to allow it. Treat the audience like a mob scene and they will only be encouraged.
As for the rest of the ballet, Cornejo was his absolute best and saved the night for me. His ovation at the final call was well deserved. And Sasha as Tybalt was astonishingly good!

#17 canbelto

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 01:56 PM

I felt there was a lovely energy and freshness to Osipova's Juliet. Has she mastered "stage running" or potion wretching or dying? No, but in time she will. But I loved the sincerity to her approach and I thought she and Hallberg were magic together.

#18 aurora

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 02:36 PM

While an "over the top" Juliet can seem right for a girl of thirteen, newly in love, Osipova carried it to an extreme. While all that athletic running about might be fine if someday ABT decides to field a soccer team, for me she just came off like a spoiled nine year old. It negated her formidable technique and left her with no vulnerability. Her grinning mouth and athleticism would somehow seem better suited to the cowgirl in "Rodeo" than a Renaissance maiden. (actually, "Rodeo" would be a good role for Osipova). 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. They just didn't seem to be on the same page emotionally. The steps were all there, but so was the calculation in front of everything they did. Friday's Vishneva/Gomes was as seamless as it comes. Last night was all jittery stops and starts. "Arm up, check." "Leg whipped around, check. On and on it went. Even in death, she looked more like she was rock climbing than reaching out to her lover. As for the curtain call after the balcony scene, just plain poor taste. I know, you see it in Europe and Russia all the time, but to break the fourth wall at that particular moment and bring them out as mere dancers (surprise!), was, in my opinion a very poor choice on ABT's part to allow it. Treat the audience like a mob scene and they will only be encouraged.
As for the rest of the ballet, Cornejo was his absolute best and saved the night for me. His ovation at the final call was well deserved. And Sasha as Tybalt was astonishingly good!


To me she was completely vulnerable, and they were completely emotionally in sync. I thought it was one of the most emotionally gripping R&Js I've ever seen. She and Hallberg have a complete and utter rapport that is magical. It did not seem calculated to me.

#19 Ilya

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 07:20 PM

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.

#20 mimsyb

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 02:43 AM

No, Ilya. Completely center view. For me, as a director, when the spot is focused on a certain point of the stage (on the balcony, it's at the apex where the balcony juts out a bit), I would very much like my dancer to hit the mark. But perhaps Osipova just chose to be more in the shadows, which is fine I suppose. Except then we miss her emotion and longing. Or maybe it was a lunar eclipse.
I stand by my comment regarding the bow at the interval. Breaking the fourth wall there was a poor choice.

#21 Ilya

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 03:53 AM

I readily concede that I am not a director, only a regular spectator with no professional connection to theater, just like the majority of the audience. I found the beginning of the balcony scene very moving. I also thought that the bow after the balcony scene was a natural thing to do. Pre-intermission bows are done all the time during operas and at many ballet companies throughout the world, and I don't see anything wrong with this custom. Moreover, even at ABT it is customary to bow at certain points during various performances (e.g., after Giselle's variation in the first act, after the Rose Adagio, etc.)---this is also fine with me.

#22 nanushka

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 04:54 AM

Moreover, even at ABT it is customary to bow at certain points during various performances (e.g., after Giselle's variation in the first act, after the Rose Adagio, etc.)


This is, interestingly, not the case in opera (to the extent that singers are severely criticized if they break character for even a moment). For both opera (where end-of-act bows are quite typical) and ballet (with bows after every movement of most classical pdds) the traditional 'fourth wall' is not at all an impermeable boundary.

#23 Meow

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:36 AM

This conversation is very interesting to me, and I wish I had seen the performance. I recall seeing videos of Gelsey Kirkland's Juliet, and the consensus was that she was passionate and inspired, but I thought it was over the top and affected. I do not have much ballet education and so enjoy reading the reasons why viewers think as they do. So -- thank you for sharing!

#24 Birdsall

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:26 AM


Moreover, even at ABT it is customary to bow at certain points during various performances (e.g., after Giselle's variation in the first act, after the Rose Adagio, etc.)


This is, interestingly, not the case in opera (to the extent that singers are severely criticized if they break character for even a moment). For both opera (where end-of-act bows are quite typical) and ballet (with bows after every movement of most classical pdds) the traditional 'fourth wall' is not at all an impermeable boundary.


I can't remember (lived in Germany and Austria in the very early 90s) because it has been a long time, but I have heard it is more common for opera singers to take a bow or acknowledge extra heavy applause after an aria in Europe. Maybe that has changed. I know that you are quite right here in the U.S. Here a singer is not supposed to break character and take a bow despite plenty of applause after a difficult aria. A singer will be raked over the coals if she or he does that here in the U.S. But I think the rules are slightly different in Europe. At least they used to be.

Getting used to the applause and cheering during ballet while music is being played by the orchestra has been hard for me. In opera you really aren't supposed to clap at all during the music so that you can hear every note, although many audiences start applauding as the curtain is descending even if a beautiful last note is being played by the orchestra ruining the mood. There is a short video (or there was) of Barenboim getting bug eyed as the audience at La Scala breaks out in applause right as the final note is sounded in Tristan und Isolde. It is quite funny.

To my chagrin most opera audiences applaud the scenery as soon as the curtain rises as well, even when the sets look like crap! Occasionally a very famous singer will be applauded on her entrance, but that is usually reserved for very famous ones who have proven their worth (not the bright star that hit the scene this year).

I am enjoying the discussion of the various opinions of Osipova's Juliet. My gut reaction without seeing her in the role was that I didn't think it would be the right role for her (and I am a fan), but it sounds like some people really enjoyed her in it, so I will keep an open mind about it.

#25 Drew

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:50 AM

I thought Osipova and Halllberg were sensational in Romeo and Juliet when she made her debut in the role a few years back. I rather suspect how one registers her over-the-topness is a matter of taste, but Juliet is a role in which a profoundly lived intensity pays a premium--at least in my eyes it does--and that's how I see Osipova, as someone who brings a profoundly lived intensity to all of her roles. I wish I could have been at Monday's performance.

The discussion about the intermission bow is interesting. For me, the unexpected twists and turns of live performance including audience response and the artists' bows are part of the whole experience...and one reason it's so compelling to go to many different performances. Of course I prefer the conventions I'm used to--and am still sort of bemused by European Ballet company bows at intermission and Russian soloists who come out for an extra call if so much as one usher is applauding at the back of the Family Circle--but I roll with it and if there were an exceptional performance and something exceptional were to happen in the way of curtain calls (as happened Monday), no reason I would not enjoy it.

(I imagine too that if one were less wowed by the performance than others in the audience, the extra bow would seem all the more irritating especially if one disliked intermission curtain calls anyway.)

#26 puppytreats

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:08 PM

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.

#27 Goldfish17

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:16 PM

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! Posted Image 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.

#28 Batsuchan

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:35 PM

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!

#29 Nyankeesy01

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:28 PM

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!

#30 Nyankeesy01

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:37 PM

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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