Washington Ballet's Romeo and Juliet
Posted 10 May 2001 - 11:43 PM
The choreography is very simplistic, but there was enough to show that Michele Jimenez is a beautiful, beautiful dancer. She's tall, with, gorgeous extensions, and she can really MOVE when given the chance. I also admired Jason Hartley as Mercutio. The character is cardboard -- Mercutio as Class Clown -- so he didn't have much to work with, but he tried to give it some depth, and the stage was alive when he was on it.
Posted 11 May 2001 - 09:04 AM
A question for you (or anyone else who knows) -- I was wondering whether Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner were dancing at all, especially after being featured so prominently in the WB promotion for R&J, or whether their ABT commitments created a conflict.
[ 05-11-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
Posted 11 May 2001 - 10:34 AM
Posted 11 May 2001 - 10:51 AM
Posted 14 May 2001 - 07:30 AM
The production was good, with very nice sets from the Boston Ballet (I especially liked the crypt) and colorful, reasonably-high-quality costumes (although the trains of the noblewomen's party dresses looked like they were made out of the padded stuff that lines the elevators of my office building on moving days).
The choreography and the performances had their high and less high points. Michele Jimenez was gorgeous, but there was absolutely no chemistry between her and Runqiao Du. In their pas de deux, it wasn't Romeo and Juliet dancing; it was the glorious Michele Jimenez and Some Guy Who Has to Lift Her a Lot. And he did have to lift her A LOT. It was nice to see Runqiao Du smile (I didn't know he could), but his dramatic expression seemed limited to smiling and not smiling. Michele's acting was quite credible when she wasn't with Romeo; she obviously detested Paris, faced her fake death with horror, and was extremely moving in the last scene.
Jason Hartley was very effective as Mercutio, although he seemed a little tired at the performance I saw (completely understandable). Septime Webre really builds Mercutio's character and sets up the later confrontation between him and Tybalt by having Mercutio humiliate Tybalt at the Capulet ball. Unfortunately, the audience was so busy watching Mercutio's antics at the ball that Romeo and Juliet's first meeting was totally obscured even though they were in the foreground. Jared Nelson was a very pretty, petulant Tybalt, and the (here) underused Erin Mahoney got to get in a little bit of histrionics as Lady Capulet upon Tybalt's death.
It was a little disconcerting to have some of the harlots also cast as Juliet's friends. The harlots were particularly well-dressed in this production, so they didn't look very much like harlots. The tiny Brianne Bland stood out among them, with her pretty, knowing looks and fabulous grand jetes.
Some dramatic problems: the Prince (Webre made him an "Archduke Cardinal") appeared only in Act I and had no dramatic presence whatsoever and was dressed more like an altar boy than a cardinal; he didn't even show up in the second half to banish Romeo after he kills Tybalt. Also, after the balcony scene, Romeo shows up the next day goofing around in the marketplace, dancing with harlots and acting as if he'd never even heard of Juliet. And the orchestra was only marginally better than awful.
Still, despite the shortcomings, the performance as a whole somehow managed to come together remarkably well and the audience reacted very favorably, giving the dancers a well-deserved standing ovation.
I'd be very interested in hearing from anyone who saw one of the other casts.
Posted 14 May 2001 - 08:46 PM
I've found opinions on this one very polarized, which is always interesting. Two other people I talked to saw it exactly the same way I did, two others enjoyed it. Everyone I've talked to agreed with what's been said here, and in the Post, about the orchestra; I felt about the ballet the way others felt about the orchestra
There are at least four other Washingtonians here out of hiding; any of you see it?
Posted 19 May 2001 - 11:25 AM
I could go on about the drama missed (shy Juliet finding she is no longer prepubescent, Romeo and Juliet actually still involved with each other upon awakening in the bedroom, the whole poison bit...). Overall the choreography did not set up a situation, draw the audience into it, and leave time for the dancers to explore it.
The only costume I questioned was the Friar's. It looked more like a biblical woman's outfit.
My earlier comments on the orchestra for the Bach were only reinforced by its rendering of the Prokofiev.
Posted 19 May 2001 - 01:59 PM
I saw all three casts, and enjoyed them all, however, I felt that the Carrenos' had a bit more difficulty with the partnering and lost some of the fluidity in their pas de deux. She was very dramatic, and he was technically very fine, but together they did not work as well as our own two couples. I feel that I am being objective here, however, as you all know I am connected to Washington Ballet, so the possibility of some prejudice does exist
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