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carbro

ROMEO & JULIET

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Thanks for your response, carbro!

Would you say that the Ferri/Carreno cast constitutes a big "hot ticket" event? According to the Met Opera website, everything except the Center Parterre and Family Circle is sold out. Any other advice about how to purchase orchestra standing room tickets would be greatly appreciated :) .

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Probably, especially coupled with the facts that it's closing night and pretty well sold out of seats.

For orchestra standing room, just tell ask the agent at the window what number is available. If it is over 40, I would then ask for Dress Circle stand. The big problem with Grand Tier is that the railing behind which the standees stand is horseshoe-shaped, and they sell spots that face well away from the stage. It makes for very crowded viewing if more than a few spots on either side are sold.

I hope you enjoy and I expect a full report from you, IS2HuangHe! :)

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How about Reyes and Corella on Weds matinee? I can't really imagine her in this role--did anyone see it? How was their connection compared to Corella and Vishneva?

The Reyes/Corella connection was equally intense as his with Vishneva but in a sweeter, gentler mode. She is a lovely Juliet and a wonderful dance actress. She doesn't shake her heard about and make faces; she communicates through her dance & her exquisite musicality.

This is a refined ballerina who immerses herself in the role. She also has the most eloquent feet after Ferri (they speak, laugh, weep) but Reyes' feet are far stronger. She also seems to have the Suzanne Farrell ability to balance on any part of her toe.

Unlike some other posters here, I didn't feel the Vishneva/Corella partnership worked all that well. I kept wishing for Stiefel - a better match for her, perhaps. Corella did have a long term partnership with Julie Kent but that seems to have been called off. Kent is taller, I think, than Vishneva & Corella had no problems partnering her but he certainly did with DV. He partnered Reyes well and he seemed to dance a bit better than Monday night.

I'm not sure what to make of Corella this year. He seems out of shape: thicker through the thighs & his previously perky posterior seems to have fallen. His dancing appears to be in the "star turn" manner & he totally phoned in the first two acts of his Manon, only coming to life in Act III.

As I've said on other posts, there is an artist inside this dancer but it has yet to emerge except in very small bursts and those are rare this season. His landings are sloppy; his feet are inconsistentlly pointed; he continues to do one more rotation than will end cleanly and he encourages the applause meter to an embarassing degree.

He is likely halfway through his career & hope is fading.

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Unfortunately, I agree with you, Zerbinetta. This season, Corella's dancing is not only sloppy but he doesn't seem emotionally connected to the ballets. While I appreciate his energy and efforts to please the audience, he should try, at this point, to work on his artistry not just his athleticism. I would rather see more depth, drama and fewer pirouettes (let's have them done cleanly, not just spinning on momentum).

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If you can, by all means see Ferri/Carreno. I love Alessandra, so anyone she

falls in love with is ok with me. Carreno was very very good. It's such a demanding

role - the bravura dancing with his friends, 3 major pas de deux, the sword fights,

and the acting ability to tie it all together.

I like the way the characters drive the drama and get us emotionally invested

in the story. Craig Salstein was brilliant as Mercutio - humorous and playful - you

can understand Romeo's rage when he is murdered. Sascha Radetsky as Tybalt

was the neighborhood bully. The Paris character should be slightly repulsive -

Juliet's parents are insensitive to their daughter - it is her nurse who knows her best.

The production flaws are minor except for the Balcony Scene. Alas, from the

Family Circle, you can only see Juliet's feet. It's a worse frustration than in

Swan Lake when you can't see Odette in the window. I can only imagine that

parting is such sweet sorrow. However, Juliet/Alessandra's silent scream in the tomb

reaches the rafters and almost makes up for it.

I would go again but opted for Hallberg/Herrera Saturday afternoon. I know I will

love them as well. :)

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I just want to second Zerbinetta's praise for Reyes. I had seen Vishneva in the role and while dazzled by her technical proficiency was left cold by her characterization. At the Wednesday matinee I was very touched by Reyes complete performance. Perhaps she doesn't have the dazzle of Vishneva which is not a criticism, for I feel Vishneva has a tendency to overdo things especially in the use of her arms. but what Reyes does in her interpretation is make you care about the character. At the end of Romeo and Juliet you felt you had seen a truly great performance.

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Ferri in R&J is usually a pretty crowded affair. I would probably try to get to the box office early, but it's probably not necessary to be there before 10. For hot-tickets, (Nina in "Swan Lake," Ferri-Bocca in R&J), I would usually get there between 10 and 11, and that would usually be fine to get first row orchestra. The Met box office people have always been very helpful to me as far as advising what best view would be.

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Reyes Wednesday also brought out the best in Corella. It is a superb partnership because they have a similar value, key or tonal range, specific gravity, something like that. Were they trained together in Madrid? They look like a couple who have danced together for a century.

As for his handling of Vishneva: Partnering Vishneva is like Wrestling with an Alligator

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Any opinions about the casts since monday night? I'm so eager to hear how they've been!

There was a tantalizing mention of the Ferri/Carreno performance on tuesday, but no more.

How about Reyes and Corella on Weds matinee? I can't really imagine her in this role--did anyone see it? How was their connection compared to Corella and Vishneva?

What about Hallberg and Herrera on weds night? I would love to see him as Romeo but am unsure about her as Juliet. Opinions?

There was a tantalizing mention of the Ferri/Carreno performance on tuesday, but no more.

Ah. There was a chance I might have been able to see tonight's performance -- I thought a compare/contrast review might be more insightful, but alas -- no such luck.

I did, however, have GREAT LUCK on Tuesday!! My sister and I bought standing room tickets (no student discounts offered for Ferri/Carreno) and we happily watched the first act from the first standing row on the orchestra level (I brought my binoculars!)...but during the first intermission were offered front row seats from a sweet elderly couple who were leaving -- so we ended up in the very first row (center) for the second and third acts!! (a first for me -- who could resist being so close to two such amazing dancers...)

So my first insight is that Alessandra's feet are REAL -- wow. Haha -- it's kind of silly, but she's just so beautiful that it's almost unbelievable until you really see her up close. The first row was great for seeing any kind of facial expression -- something I really miss sitting in the back, even more so during story ballets.

Ferri and Carreno looked as though they were missing a bit of the chemistry of Ferri and Bocca -- perhaps an unfair standard, but once you've seen them do this ballet I guess it's fair game. One of the people near me was commenting that he believed in Alessandra's portrayal of a smitten young woman, but that Carreno just didn't quite convince him. That's a fair interpretation -- the strength of Carreno's performance really was in the quality of his dancing (amazing) and not in his characterization. His acting didn't quite make it, even with the close-up view that the first row affords (you can see everything except the tips of the feet toward the back of the stage.) Alessandra almost seemed over-acted in the first row, but she (unlike my experience with Diana Vishneva a few weeks ago) projects all the way to the back of the cavernous Met so that even those sitting half a mile away can feel her performance and not just see it. Overall they were a pleasing partnership, but not an overwhelming one. Their sheer physical beauty alone is worth watching, even if they're still working out a few kinks (I don't know how many times they've done this ballet together, if any.)

The second act surprisingly was a lot of fun (for the first time) -- Radetsky and Salstein were incredible, Benvolio also (can't remember who he was) and all the townspeople on stage looked like they were having a great time (we could even hear a few of them whispering -- funny because we both do the same on stage!) Stella Abrera as LC was a bit overdone during Tybalt's death scene -- it was almost uncomfortable.

The production looks great -- especially the sets. I'd seen this performance in DC a few years ago and it looked like they were doing R&J Lite there (no huge set pieces -- much of the ambience was missing.) The orchestra hit a few bad notes, but Prokofiev's music is so beautiful that if you don't like the dancing you can just close your eyes and listen and still feel satisfied. This really is a beautiful score; I think my earlier comment about the choreography in Manon being shortchanged by the choice of score still stands. I think this ballet is better put together, but that many of the sequences would seem similarly clunky without the musical accompaniment.

A last note -- Alessandra didn't present her partner with a pull flower during their calls! There's a wonderful article in the playbill about all the flowers that are presented on stage and how they're crafted and delivered, with a special mention of the "pull flower" and how it's usually presented to the male lead by the ballerina...but then she didn't do that! Is this her normal custom? Did she forget? Was she upset with him? Nothing seemed to be technically amiss during their performance; there were a few things that may have been errors (I don't know the choreography well enough to know if something was supposed to be a releve or a pique to pointe), but nothing glaring.

So overall -- a great performance. Beautiful, enchanting at times, always pleasing to watch. After Manon I thought I may have lost my faith in story ballets, but it has been restored. Phew.

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Reyes Wednesday also brought out the best in Corella. It is a superb partnership because they have a similar value, key or tonal range, specific gravity, something like that. Were they trained together in Madrid? They look like a couple who have danced together for a century.

Reyes is from Cuba. She has danced in many places around the world, but her bio does not include Spain among them. Perhaps this particularly compatible match was just serendipitous.

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nmdancer: Although ballerinas sometimes present a flower to their partners, they often don't -- even in the case of true "partnerships" which Ferri and Carreno have, I assume, yet to develop. I wouldn't read anything into it. (It IS fun to see a ballet like Romeo and Juliet from the front row... though I get frustrated in the front because one often can't see the feet properly.)

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I just got back from seeing Hallberg and Herrera--

He is just fabulous. He really does bring out the best in her. She won't ever be my favorite juliet, but I did enjoy her, and more surprisingly found her quite moving in the role.

I cant get over him though--To act so well, as well as dance so well at his age. Fabulous.

The lifts *could* have been better, but the connection between them was good and the dancing was excellent overall--I think they'll get those down with a little more time (this is what, his 3rd or 4th time out in the role?)

I found Pastor, who danced Mercutio--well, sloppy. He did some fabulous things, but he is sort of all over the place.

Jared Matthews who was Benvolio was quite elegant and enjoyable to watch.

Isaac Stappas was a truly menacing Tybalt, his dying leap onto Romeo was fabulous in its intensity.

lets see...um, Carmen Corella was a fairly subdued Lady Capulet. I really wish I got to see her actually dance more, I feel like I see her only in the most minor of soloist parts, or ones like this that have little in the way of dancing. I know she did one of the stepsisters in Cindarella, but she was not part of the cast I saw.

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Ferri/Carreno--closing night

Tonight's reprise of their Romeo and Juliet was much as nmdancer and balanchinomane described the Tuesday performance. There can be little doubt that if you want MacMillan's vision of Juliet you should see Alessandra, who danced it for him as a very young dancer at The Royal. Naturally she has grown in and refined her performance, as both videos and years of admiration for her live performances demonstrate.

I think it possible to ONLY watch her feet the whole performance and get the story. Over time I've done that for intervals and bear witness to the expressive power of those famous extremities. But it would be silly to do that for any length of time, for she is wholly an actress.

Beginning in her chambers, it is a very simple, basic child Juliet. But. At one point she is walking away, back to Paris Saveliev, rising on those pointes and displaying the famous arched feet. They grab your attention, as surely she means them to. For at that point you are shown that she's not really just a child. She flashes the bottom of her right shoe at Paris: of course an iconic Ashton moment, she's interested.

Later, as she dances for Paris, of course for Romeo, watch her hands. Open, fingers poised to grasp, at first naturally as part of her port de bras, but all in anticipation as she and Romeo get near each other. Then not long later, when they meet momentarily alone and approach each other, the right hand is ready for that first clasp. These are little examples of use of nuance by a great actress. Those parts furthest from her heart tell the secrets of her heart.

She is of course famously operatic in her acting as well. It is time for that in the balcony scene. We seem to wait an extra while before she enters onto the balcony, creating just an extra tension. The PdD with Romeo Carreno was danced intimately yet on a grand scale. His solo dancing looked remarkably fresh and youthful, and the lifts, even those that must be shoulder-killers, went smoothly. Of course one misses, however unfairly, the chemistry she shared with Bocca.

The bedroom PdD was agonizing. Early on she constantly avoided his attempted farewell kisses as if a last kiss would would have killed her. Later, as she sat petrified alone on the bed, no look of hope came over her face as she decided to see her priest. It was as if she were going to him for consolation as much as help.

The tomb scene was unusually effective. Some credit to Paris Saveliev. When Romeo and he spotted each other it was Paris who lunged in attack at Romeo, unlike other performances I have seen this year. Thus Romeo's killing Paris was not a gratuitous act, we could more fully feel sympathy for Romeo. Earlier, Saveliev had been a relatively Brutish Paris in the bedroom "betrothal" scene (the obedient Ferri, agreeing, gave him a look of utter disdain). When she stumbled upon Romeo on the tomb's floor, there was no momentary thrill of hope. Only the need to confirm the worst. Ferri's final scream had that operatic dimension of Ulanova's in the old movie. Then, when she stabbed herself she was, unlike others, already virtually leaning on the slab. That way she was able to mount it immediately and then stretch/stop time as she so slowly crawled across it to find Romeo's hand for one last grasp.

What an honor to see her.

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I also attended tonight's closing performance and had the luck to see it from row L in the orchestra. Although I have seen this ballet many times, I have never seen it this close up; it is incredible how many dramatic nuances (particularly in the street scenes) come through only at close range, (such as Romeo flirting with Rosaline or the lead harlot's contempt for Tybalt).

Although I wondered whether I could ever be happy watching Ferri dance this ballet with anyone other than Bocca, I believe her chemistry with Carreno was quite good. Carreno is a much stronger and more sensitive partner than Corella (with whom Ferri performs "Romeo" on the La Scala DVD) and their partnering had none of the straining or half-lifts Corella had. Although Carreno is not as energetic as Angel, I find him a more elegant dancer (and a natural turner) and more deeply dramatic. Although the Ferri/Carreno pairing may not have been quite as ardent as Ferri/Bocca, I thought they danced together with great sensitivity and each looked grief-stricken when they believed the other has died. Saveliev was a more aggessive and confident Paris than Hallberg was on Monday night. And while Salstein does not quite equal Herman Cornejo in technique or elegance, he did a very creditable job as Mercutio. And finally, NO ONE is able to portray a dead, lifeless Juliet like Ferri (no mean feat, if you have ever tried to let all your weight go limp when someone is picking you up). At the curtain calls, I thought Ferri and Carreno looked quite appreciatively at the other, maybe some hope for a new partnership. All in all, a wonderful closing night and a successful spring season for ABT.

As an aside, also in attendance at tonight's performance were Ferri's husband Fabrizio and her adorable young (and very sleepy) daughter Emma.

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The second act surprisingly was a lot of fun (for the first time) -- Radetsky and Salstein were incredible, Benvolio also (can't remember who he was) and all the townspeople on stage looked like they were having a great time (we could even hear a few of them whispering -- funny because we both do the same on stage!) Stella Abrera as LC was a bit overdone during Tybalt's death scene -- it was almost uncomfortable.

Hi. I'm a newbie here but wanted to jump into the fray as it were...

Benvolio was Carlos Lopez. Craig Salstein and he alternated roles in some performances. I think Carlos Lopez is wonderful as Mercutio as well although I think my favorite--if I had to chose--would still be Herman Cornejo.

I also enjoyed Radetsky's Benvolio on Monday night. I loved his precision (and beautifully pointed feet) in his solo at the Capulet ball. Of course, his Tybalt was excellent. I'd be curious to see him play Mercutio.

I did not find Stella Abrera's Lady Capulet overdone. It's been probably 15 years since I performed in (and studied the text of) Shakespeare's R&J, but I felt Abrera's was a valid--and not infrequent--interpretation. I found Veronika Part's interpretation in the same vein.

Of the performances that I saw, Corella/Vishneva, Ferri/Carreño, Corella/Reyes and Kent/Gomes (I couldn't help myself. It was the last week of the season!), I felt Ferri and Carreño gave the best overall performance.

There are so many nuances to Ferri's dancing. Ferri's dancing always seems entirely integrated with the character. Sometimes, when I watch others dance, I find myself thinking about the dancer and not the character. I don't think that has every happened to me while watching Ferri.

Of the Romeo's, Carreño made the choreography seem completely character-driven and natural. His dancing was incredible without appearing showy. The other Romeos—less so.

Corella was definitely my favorite Romeo in the scene where he avenges Mercutio's death. His reaction was so intense and truthful. I don't think I've seen anyone else fight with that intensity. I loved it.

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I found Carreno unexpectedly fabulous tonight. Unexpected because, among ABT's principal men, he is one of the few I would never think of as a boy rather than a man. However he did boyish deliciously & was the sexiest Romeo since Anthony Dowell in his mature years. He makes a clear definition between his play-acting infatuation with Rosaline & his real love for Juliet; he has history with his good buddies; he's a bit of a tearabout but a courtly and elegant one.

Carreno has been dancing better this season than he has for a couple of years; pain-free, perhaps?

Ferri is reminding me more and more of Marcia Haydee. Never a great technician, it is apparent that her powers are waning when she dances alone. There were many instances in which she simplified the choreography and MacMillan hardly created difficult choreography here.

But what she does in partnered work is miraculous. On or off the ground with her partners, she is still fascinating in this role.

Salstein is one of the best acting dancers around. No, he can't do what H. Cornejo does but who can? Salstein has great imagination: Act I, in the sword horseplay with Romeo & Benvolio, Salstein grabs his right waist when he pretends to be dying, so in his real death scene, grabbing the right waist, you understand his friends' thinking he is just fooling around again. This is one example of a multitude of details he brought to his characterization. He is always in the moment, which must be very helpful to his colleagues.

Funny, I thought Saveliev was a gentler Paris in the third act than most, not losing his patience until very late in the second encounter in the bedroom. He seemed to be urging his fiancee not to make things any more difficult than they need be.

Radestsky doesn't yet have the Big Presence to carry off Tybalt. He plays him one dimensional, pure thug. Savaliev is much better in the role - he strikes what must be a difficult balance between nobleman and thug. Another good actor who looks beyond the obvious & creates a layered character.

Friday night - Kent/Gomes - was a curiously muted affair. It was Kent's 20th anniversary, so one would have thought she would be "on". There was zero chemistry between her and Gomes. Now nobody doesn't have chemistry with Gomes, including Kent on many previous occasions. I would have left at the second intermission if I hadn't had a guest with me and I have never left a Gomes performance. Sorry to say it, but it was a bore.

The MacMillan Fest is over, praise be. Maybe in ten months I will have forgotten what a dreary choreographer he was.

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I too found Carreno unexpectedly fabulous last night. In the first act, he began rather dully and too mature in my eyes for a young Romeo, but by the balcony scene he suddenly broke out, shedding about 20 years off his real age, and became this sexy, giving creature I had not seen in seasons. His passionately loving thrill to be with and dance for his Juliet absolutely set the stage on fire. From then on, Carreno ate up every opportunity to be the Romeo dreams are made of.

Ferri never fails to amaze me. She is convincing from beginning to end in all her beauty -- from those expressively beautiful feet and legs to her radiantly smitten or tragic face. I could watch her arms alone and see the entire story unfold. Ferri's a brilliant actress, a fine dancer, and one can't take their eyes off of her whenever she's on stage. You don't watch Ferri to see how many turns or jumps she can pull off, but she carries an intense role as nobody else I've ever seen except Gelsey. Maybe it was because it was the last performance of the season, but it seemed Ferri also brought out the passion and abandon in everyone else on that stage too. It was a wonderful night to be at ABT.

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Hi. I'm a newbie here but wanted to jump into the fray as it were...
Happy to have a new newbie in the fray! :tiphat: I can't help but marvel how well you've mastered the diacritical marks. Well done, indeed! And thanks for such a vivid review.

I hope you'll tell us a bit about yourself and how you found yourself here. This link will take you directly to our Welcome Page.

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Ok, just a quick recollection of the Vishneva/Corella and Reyes/Corella pairings, and clarification of a few questions that were raised previously. (As you can see its several months ago now.)

July 10: Diana Vishneva is a very strong, very dramatic dancer. And I agree with the comment that partnering her had the same excitement and danger as "wrestling an alligator." It was fascinating to watch, but that "edge" is also what I noticed. She uses her long arms and extensions to great effect, but she also has a tendency to fling herself into the action AND her partner. Yes, I noticed the difficulties Corella had in partnering her. But I do not think it was solely his fault. He did make a few "saves" as well. I don't know if more rehearsal time would have helped, or did the technique change with the heightened emotions/adrenalin of a live performance? Either way, it made me much more critical of the performance. I also saw their "Giselle" the previous month, and again, loved her technique but thought Act I a little histrionic. Angel's partnering in "Giselle" Act II, however, was amazingly perfect--especially when compared to the matinee's.

RE: Diana Vishneva's running exit in Act III to see Fr. Lawrence... She went out the wrong wing, and crashed into a set/staging piece, hitting her ankle (falling?) and bruising her shoulder. She finished Act III, but the long pause before Act IV was because they were not sure she would be able to continue. She did, but died a little earlier than the music indicated, possibly because she didn't want to haul herself across that bier on her bruised shoulder.

July 12: I actually thought this was a much better performance. Corella danced better, the partnering was much surer, and there was a beautiful rapport between him and Xiomara Reyes. Maybe he could relax more with her, but there was definately more detail and nuance. I had some borrowed binoculars for this performance--much better than my "free" ones--and actually noticed a few spontaneous reactions to the usual choreographed ones, that made their interactions so much more real.

Xiomara Reyes has also been a frequent partner on Corella's now annual tour of Spain, and last year they performed the R&J balcony pdd at most of the locales on that tour. Something that may explain the ease in partnering/technique and the rapport.

Overall, I too noticed the "slackness" in Corella's technique earlier in the season, and thought it partially due to a very tight performance schedule: 2 galas & a full performance before the matinee of "Corsair" I saw, trying to squeeze in a flamenco performance between "Manons"--cancelled, but don't know if rehearsals for it were. But a throw-away soaring grand jete in Act I of "Giselle", the partnering in Act II, the Act I entrance solo in "Sylvia", the R&J Wednesday with Reyes, and that ineffable grace will always stay in my mind.

Edited to remove unofficial insider information.

Edited by Helene

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The MacMillan Fest is over, praise be. Maybe in ten months I will have forgotten what a dreary choreographer he was.
I've been waiting all summer to see if anyone would respond to this.

So many posters have written long, extremely detailed and quite nuanced appreciations of the dancers' performances. What about the choreography that they were performing?

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I’m with Zerbinetta on this. To me, the strong suits of MacMillan’s ballets are that they give the dancers some meaty emotional roles and some stunning pas de deux. Unfortunately one has to sit through interminable evenings waiting for the highlights. I’ve often wished ABT would reduce his R&J to a Romeo & Juliet suite. Those harlots do get awfully tiresome....

And when it comes to Manon the bedroom pas de deux and the final pas de deux are quite enough for me. If ABT didn’t have 2 wonderful MacMillan ballerinas in Ferri & Vishneva I would have skipped them all and saved a lot of money last season.

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