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Syrene Hvid

Neumeier's Romeo and Juliet (2016)

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While we are waiting for official casting to be announced, the official Instagram for the RDB (theroyaldanishballet.dancers) posted a beautiful picture of Gregory Dean/J'aime Crandall and Andreas Kaas/Ida Praetorius rehearsing the Madrigal with Neumeier, the text saying that these were their two main couples for the upcoming repremiere, suggesting that these two couples might be the only two cast as Romeo/Juliet?

Since they'd used a picture of Ulrik Birkkjær/Susanne Grinder as their website advertiser for the ballet, I had had high hopes that they'd be cast again… Not to say that there isn't a third casting simply not on the picture, but it wasn't the message I got from the text at least. Any thoughts?

However, that said. I am so excited that J'aime will get the chance to dance Juliet! I hadn't expected her to, but after seeing her Sylph, I would love to see what she can bring to such a dramatic role. I believe in you, J'aime! Dean has danced Romeo before, so it's nice to have a seasoned dancer in the duo. Praetorius danced Juliet with Dean last time, but seems to be dancing with Andreas Kaas now - the same combination that they took on summer tour last year. Since Neumeier seems to have a fondness for Praetorius/Kaas, I can imagine that they will lead the cast dancing on the night of the cinema livestream in April. That will be very interesting to see.

I have tickets for the 19th of March and hope that I, with the livestream, will be able se see both casts… So if it's Praetorius in the livestream, oh, then I want to see J'aime's Juliet on stage so bad. I am as in love with the thought of Dean as Romeo as with Kaas as Romeo, so I have no special preferences there. I loved Kaas as Armand in Lady of the Camellias, so he could do wonders with Romeo, I'm sure.

But all this leaves me a little in the dark regarding my beloved Susanne Grinder and what she might be cast as. I had really hoped to see her as Juliet, seeing how she has received almost nothing but praise for her portrayal, but I didn't take the chance to go see the performance a couple a years ago and it seems I might have missed my shot… Shoot. Will she instead, like Amy Watson, be cast as Lady Capulet? I know some wonderful Juliets in the past have seasoned into that role and Grinder herself has called it a very complex one, so I wouldn't be sad at all to see what she could do with it. I remember reading somewhere that Silja Schandorff grew from a very beautiful Juliet to an absolutely fantastic Lady Capulet, so I am crossing my fingers that I might be seeing Grinder trying her hands on it.

Other than that, this will be my first time seeing Neumeier's Romeo and Juliet. I recently ordered the Royal Ballet's recording with Cuthbertson - mostly to acquaint myself with the music, but also out of love for Cuthbertson. She will be a good introduction, although I know Neumeier's choreography is very different. Does anyone have any opinions on Neumeier's version and how the RDB stages it? It seems, I've read, to have been a staple in the repertory for a very long time and an audience favourite.

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Casting up for the first half of the run up.

First cast | Second cast:

Juliet - Ida Praetorius | J'aime Crandall

Romeo - Andreas Kaas | Gregory Dean

(Possibly IP and AK are some of the youngest to dance the leads, I don't know? He's debuting, she danced Juliet last time.)

Lady Capulet - Susanne Grinder | Amy Watson

Lord Capulet - Jonathan Chmelensky | Ulrik Birkkjær

Tybalt - Sebastian Kloborg | Benjamin Buza

Mercutio - Sebastian Haynes | Jon Axel Fransson

Benvolio - Alexander Bozinoff | Tobias Praetorius

Rosalinde - Caroline Baldwin

Helena - Lena-Maria Gruber

Emilia - Alexandra Lo Sardo (back from injury)

Isabella - Kizzy Matiakis | Camilla Ruelykke-Holst

Luciana - Holly Dorger | Silvia Selvini

Brother Lorenzo - Magnus Christoffersen | Christian Hammeken

Prince Paris - Ariel Merkuri | Matteo Di Loreto

Valentine - Marcin Kupinski | Alexander Stæger

Nurse - Mette Bødtcher | Anna Kloborg

Lady Montague - Anna Kloborg | Lis Jeppesen

Lord Montague - Mogens Boesen | Morten Eggert

The Prince of Verona - Morten Eggert | Poul-Erik Hesselkilde

Second cast (though with Chmelensky as Lord Capulet rather than Birkkjær) is dancing on the night I have tickets for which is wonderful, because I really wanted to see J'aime and Gregory Dean in the title parts. However, I really, really hope first cast gets the cinema broadcast, because I would give anything to see Susanne Grinder as Lady Capulet. I'd love to see Praetorius and Andreas Kaas as Juliet and Romeo as well, but dear Lord, Susanne Grinder as Lady Capulet!

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Cast list up for the 6th of April when the performance will be broadcast to cinemas around the country.

Juliet - Ida Praetorius

Romeo - Andreas Kaas

Lady Capulet - Susanne Grinder

Lord Capulet - Ulrik Birkkjær

Tybalt - Sebastian Kloborg

Mercutio - Sebastian Haynes

Benvolio - Alexander Bozinoff

Rosalinde - Caroline Baldwin

Helena - Lena-Maria Gruber

Emilia - Alexandra Lo Sardo

Isabella - Kizzy Matiakis

Luciana - Holly Dorger

Brother Lorenzo - Magnus Christoffersen

Prince Paris - Ariel Merkuri

Valentine - Marcin Kupinski

Nurse - Mette Bødtcher

Lady Montague - Eva Kloborg

Lord Montague - Mogens Boesen

The Prince of Verona - Morten Eggert

Along with Esther Lee Wilkinson, Elisabeth Dam, Alba Nadal, Christina Michanek and Eliabe D'Abadia in other named supporting roles.

Best cast ever.

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New video up with a brief interview with Andreas Kaas and Ida Praetorius, first cast Romeo and Juliet. The interview is in Danish with no subs, but there are a few really good glimpses of performance footage. It looks absolutely spectacular.

kglteater.dk/det-sker/sason-2015-2016/romeo-og-julie/#galleri (First video.)

Those two are just really cute together. Besides discussing the ballet itself (they both love it and Ida calls it the best ballet ever made), they discuss how it feels surreal to be dancing opposite each other in these roles, seeing as they've known each other since they were children, went to the same classes at the Royal Danish Ballet School and even auditioned at the same time. They also talk about how it's one of those ballets that can be enjoyed by seasoned ballet enthusiasts and newcomers equally, since the story is so well known and so masterly told while still remaining complex and interesting in its choreography.

I can't wait to see them when their performance on the 6th of April is livestreamed in cinemas! However, I'm also very excited for the J'aime/Gregory Dean cast I'm seeing on March 19th.

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I have always been curious about this version of Romeo and Juliet...

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And this morning, just in time for his Romeo debut, Andreas Kaas has been promoted to soloist!

See Eva Kistrup's article here

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Such a well-deserved promotion. I've loved him in everything I've seen him in, but especially as Armand in Lady of the Camellias where he was really one of the best in his cast.

I've been waiting for Hübbe to start filling out the gaps in the male soloist ranks. Now that we have both Jon Axel and Andreas there, I am keeping my fingers crossed for Sebastian Haynes to follow in their footsteps soon.

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I have always been curious about this version of Romeonand Juliet...

In 1993 the Dance Critics Association held a conference on Romeo and Juliet, with discussion on several of the current productions -- you might look for the proceedings online.

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Eva Kistrup has already posted a very warm review of last night's opening R&J - sounds like a big success for Praetorius and Kaas. And it was nice to see them both in this morning's livestream of the RDB company class!

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Cast list up for the 6th of April when the performance will be broadcast to cinemas around the country.

Juliet - Ida Praetorius

Romeo - Andreas Kaas

Lady Capulet - Susanne Grinder

Lord Capulet - Ulrik Birkkjær

Tybalt - Sebastian Kloborg

Mercutio - Sebastian Haynes

Benvolio - Alexander Bozinoff

Rosalinde - Caroline Baldwin

Helena - Lena-Maria Gruber

Emilia - Alexandra Lo Sardo

Isabella - Kizzy Matiakis

Luciana - Holly Dorger

Brother Lorenzo - Magnus Christoffersen

Prince Paris - Ariel Merkuri

Valentine - Marcin Kupinski

Nurse - Mette Bødtcher

Lady Montague - Eva Kloborg

Lord Montague - Mogens Boesen

The Prince of Verona - Morten Eggert

Along with Esther Lee Wilkinson, Elisabeth Dam, Alba Nadal, Christina Michanek and Eliabe D'Abadia in other named supporting roles.

Best cast ever.

Thank you, Syrene. I am thrilled that Ida & Andreas will get the cinemas cast, which will "make it's way across the pond" no doubt. Also very happy about Andreas' promo.

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I'm so bitter that I missed company class today! Normally I'd love such a livestream opportunity, but a bad cold made me completely forget until too late. Ah, well.

Natalia, I'm also really pleased about the livestreamed cast, though just as much for the supporting cast as for the two leads. Susanne's Lady C got praised by Kistrup, too. Likewise with Birkkjær's Lord C. I myself just really want to see the two Sebastians as Tybalt and Mercutio!!

Pictures have hit the RDTheatre's official instagram with rehearsal moments of J'aime and Dean's Balcony PDD and I have to say that I'm really happy those two are the first I'm seeing on the 19th, the first time I'm seeing the ballet on top of it.

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With the help of my girlfriend, I've collected a few of the (Danish) reviews that have gone up about R&J so far. Most of them are of the first cast, but a review from a ballet newcomer is on the debut of the second cast. I'm adding the links along with a few paraphrased quotes in my own translation into English for those of you who can't read the original. For those of you who can, please read the reviews over, if you feel like it and see if I've made any too obvious mistakes!

Official review, Berlingske (Danish newspaper), Vibeke Wern. Six stars.

b.dk/scene/berusende-ung-kaerlighed

"Through beautiful lines, musical phrasing and an intense interaction, they (Kaas and Praetorius) unfold in the Balcony's grand love pas de deux. And their intense interaction carries on until death tragically separates the lovers at the end."

Honourable mention also went out to the supporting cast of Bozinoff (Benvolio), Haynes (Mercutio), Grinder (Lady Capulet), Birkkjær (Lord Capulet) and Kloborg (Tybalt), noting that it's very obvious with this performance that Lady C and Tybalt were lovers.

Review, Magasinet KBH (online media), Bettina Nielsen. Five out of six stars.

magasinetkbh.dk/indhold/romeo-og-julie-0

"... Andreas Kaas' playful expression is completely in tune with Romeo's and he handles the many lifts in the two pas de deux strongly and touchingly..."

"Technically, she (Praetorius) only gets better and better and a principal title is probably not far out of reach."

"A light and far-leaping Sebastian Haynes charms superbly as the super-flirting Mercutio..."

"Susanne Grinder who is usually the most lovely (she danced Juliet three years ago opposite Ulrik Birkkjær who is her Lord here), is icy cold as the Lady who crumbles completely at the death of Tybalt, yet rather freezes at the death of her daughter."

The only complaint Nielsen had, really, was the casting of Ariel Merkuri as Paris, she found his portrayal dull. However, I believe I've read other reviewers mentioning that it's just as much a result of Neumeier's prioritising of the character itself. Might have been a Kistrup comment.

Review, Fyraften... (online media), Torben.

fyraften.nu/evig-kaerlighed/19862

"Ida Praetorius is a great dramatic talent, she can with just a glance convey Juliet's complex emotions, so no one can doubt her despairing inner life."

"And even the cold and harsh Lady Capulet, excellently danced by Susanne Grinder, makes us feel for her when her lover Tybalt is killed by Romeo. Grief almost pushes her over the edge of sanity..."

Everyone else were praised, too. There was a particular shout-out to Magnus Christoffersen who danced Brother Lorenzo.

Review, Muligheder (blog), Jan Dresler. A sort of common man's review?

muligheder.blogspot.dk/2016/03/i-det-kongelige-teater-lrdag-aften.html

Dresler saw the second cast, led by J'aime Crandall and Gregory Dean. Previously, he'd seen the Balcony PDD as danced by Ida Praetorius and Andreas Kaas when it was part of Hübberiet some weeks back.

It was interesting to note how he, despite his own admittedly limited knowledge out in the technicalities, found the dance and dramatic presence of Crandall and Dean stronger and more fully-fledged than what he'd seen Praetorius and Kaas present at Hübberiet. He was very impressed and made me feel even more hopeful for my theatre trip on the 19th!

I tried looking around the board for rules on what sort of reviews/thoughts you're allowed to link to in BA threads, but couldn't really find anything that stated the above was off-bounds, so if it is, please feel free to delete. I just tought I'd share some thoughts I'd seen here and there!

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An English review of first cast Romeo and Juliet. Major praise of Praetorius and Kaas, but also lots of praise for Haynes and Susanne Grinder!

michellepotter.org/reviews/romeo-and-juliet-the-royal-danish-ballet

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The RDB Principals and Soloists Facebook site has an interesting and thoughtful interview with Susanne Grinder, covering amongst other things her feelings about moving from Juliet to Lady Capulet. The company really does love this version!

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It's such an intelligent interview. She has such a lovely analytical approach to her portrayals and art form.

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I attended the performance yesterday. Before the performance itself, I was on the offered backstage tour of the Old Stage and it was quite an enlightening experience. Since the Queen was in attendance, the Royal chambers were being prepared for her and the halls backstage were decked with flags and flowers, because it was character dancer Eva Kloborg's (dancing the nurse that night) 50 year anniversary with the RDB.

As for the performance itself... This was my first time seeing Neumeier's Romeo and Juliet. However, the ballet only convinced me once again that everything that man touches becomes gold. Lady of the Camellias is my favourite ballet ever.

The leads yesterday were second cast J'aime Crandall and Gregory Dean as Juliet and Romeo. Amy Watson and Jonathan Chmelensky as Lady and Lord Capulet. Sebastian Kloborg as Tybalt. Jon Axel Fransson as Mercutio, Tobias Praetorius as Benvolio. Christian Hammeken (?) as Brother Lorenzo. Caroline Baldwin, Lena Maria Gruber and Alexandra Lo Sardo as Juliet's friends. Matteo di Loreto as Paris. Alexander Stæger, Camilla Ruelykke Holst, Silvia Selvini and Liam Redhead as the commedia dell'arte troupe. Overall everyone did a fantastic job and I was crying like a baby at the end, but a couple of specific shout-outs...

J'aime was perfection as Juliet. Although Praetorius in the intro interview characterises Juliet as "a girl who's no good, basically" - with J'aime she had grown a certain edge. She WAS good, but she didn't fit into the house to which she had been born, couldn't live up to the demands made of her by her parents and fluctuated between struggling to win her mother's approval and just saying: Screw that, I want to be free! This makes perfect sense as she meets Dean's Romeo. With him she is allowed to be who she is, he loves her for exactly that. At the same time, Dean's Romeo is sort of her opposite and sort of the same. He has lived a carefree life, fooling around with his friends and seduced all the girls, but Dean masterly portrays an underlying yearning for more. Something more that he discovers in Juliet. As such they are two young, lost souls who not only find each other, but themselves in each other. The greatest tragedy is perhaps how the world they lived in wouldn't or couldn't allow them this freedom.

This is where Chmelensky as Juliet's father, but especially Watson's Lady Capulet comes into the picture. I'm not usually a big Watson fan, but she nailed Lady C, despite a little bit of technical struggle in the ballroom scene. She was cold as ice, bitter towards Juliet and resentful towards Lord C. Only in her relationship with Tybalt did her emotions seem to warm up. It was heart-breaking, really - how Juliet was so much like her mother, a free spirit who wants something else for herself, but rather than supporting each other, they become estranged and almost hostile. Lady C is trying to push her into a marriage with Paris as she was undoubtedly once forced to marry Lord C. The difference is that Juliet will have Romeo and none other, Romeo or death. In the end, all Lady C's compromises rob her not only of her lover Tybalt, but her daughter too. Watson portrayed this tragedy amazingly well. Especially the way she bound together the amazingly danced mourning choreography at Tybalt's death with Lady C's reaction to finding Juliet dead... I was sold, though I (of course) look forward to seeing Susanne's portrayal on the 6th.

Lord C, in comparison, is a relatively small part, but Chmelensky really filled it well. His bald head added a chill to the man and how he focused all his energy on arranging events for the house and such seemed to be a cover for an underlying dissatisfaction with her relationship to his wife and his palpable knowledge of her affair. In this strained relation, it was no wonder J'aime's Juliet had grown up too fast and too fractured. Especially the interaction between Chmelensky and J'aime when they try to force her to marry Paris, Chmelensky soldiered through the cold exterior and man-handled Juliet in such a way that he was being severe out of genuine concern and love of her.

I had my concerns about Kloborg as Tybalt to begin with. The first major scene, the dance of the knights, didn't seem to flow very well between him, Watson and Chmelensky, but by the second act in all interaction with Fransson's Mercutio, he had me convinced and the death of both Mercutio and Tybalt was amazing. Kloborg's portrayal of Tybalt as a drunken, angry and frustrated man whose life was under such strain in his house added to the sort of rotten-beneath-the-surface feel of the Capulets.

His opposite was Mercutio in Fransson's form. What a trio of merry youths they were, him and Dean and Praetorius as Benvolio. Their dancing was carefree and comic. They functioned well as a unit. Fransson was almost demonic in his portrayal of Mercutio - as if his daring spirit and in your face approach rendered him untouchable. Very much like young men think of themselves. Looking forward to seeing what my favourite Sebastian Haynes does with the role in the other cast.

The performing troupe was one of my favourite aspects of the ballet. Lovely to see Stæger in a meaty role again, but last night wasn't the best I've seen him. In contrast, Camilla Ruelykke Holst was amazing as his wife, though Liam Redhead and Silvia Selvini delivered some of the most stellar performances all night as the artists reflecting Romeo and Juliet (can't look up the character names right now, unfortunately). I was mightily impressed with the both of them.

In terms of dancing, I didn't particularly like the crowded market scenes, but I imagine having seen the ballet a couple of times would make me feel less overwhelmed. All the PDDs between Dean and J'aime were beautiful and generally looked very fluid and problemfree, though there was one lift that left J'aime looking a little worried. My favourite PDD was the bedroom PDD. Dean was amazing at portraying Romeo's regret at having killed Tybalt and J'aime changed effortlessly between being a Juliet who could tell something was wrong, trying to comfort Romeo and yet not wanting to know what had happened, in turn also seeking comfort from Romeo. It was a deeply moving scene. Another favourite scene of mine was the scene where Lord and Lady C try to get Juliet to marry Paris for the last time. Giving her away again and again despite her protests and sorrow. This scene really affected me deeply. I loved everything about it. Di Lorento was a Paris that I sort of felt bad for, because although he didn't necessarily have a lot of emotions invested in Juliet, he seemed to genuinely want to help her, trying to ease the process as much as possible.

Everything that followed that scene was just testimony upon testimony to J'aime Crandall's amazing dramatic talents. She was crying on stage and died in a frenzy of hopeful dilusions and physical pain. Amazing.

I can definitely understand why this has been a recurring ballet in the RSB repertory. It's a gem and my first introduction to it will only lead me back for seconds and more.

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Anyone else attending the cinema livestreams tomorrow? I'm going with my girlfriend, best friend and some of my girlfriend's coworkers - a small flock of ballet enthusiasts and I'm weirdly excited about it, we wouldn't be able to do it like this, all together, if our only option of seeing the performance was in the theatre!

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So, about Romeo and Juliet last night... Wow.

All reservations I might ever have had about Ida have been swept away, cleanly. What a sublime performance. She was not just an amazing, defining Juliet, she WAS Juliet. I was so glad to be able to see this performance on a big screen with good camera-work, so I could really get a look at that intense face of hers. Yesterday, she wasn't a dancer, she was a first-rate actress and that promotion was fully deserved. I can't really pick just one scene or moment where I thought she was particularly brilliant, because she was brilliant all over with tears and a lot of light-hearted comedy in perfect balance. What really struck me, though, was her chemistry with Andreas Kaas' Romeo, the lightness, speed and emotion they managed to pour into their PDD. This is a golden partnership and I look forward to seeing what awaits them in the future.

Of the various PDD, I think the balcony PDD was my favourite. Playful and fun and passionate, all the lifts were executed in stride. I also loved their bedside PDD, but missed some of the profoundness that Dean and J'aime had added to it, maybe age really did play in there? Not that Andreas' and Ida's wasn't amazing, it really was. Their chemistry and their fluid, flowing dancing really made up for that underlying edge I missed otherwise.

Andreas was an amazing Romeo, as I knew he would be. He's also a great actor and his adoration for Ida's Juliet was as real as it could get. I thought he wasn't completely synchronised in act one with his group of friends, they were all good individually, but something was lacking in their dancing together, if not in their acting. Luckily this settled itself in act two!

Sebastian Haynes as Mercutio. Wow. My beloved Sebastian. What a powerhouse and that intense acting of his! I was just blown away. There was something more serious and less... infuriating about his Mercutio than Jon Axel Fransson's, but I really liked him. His death scene was stellar and kind of stole the entire second act. All in all, act two was my favourite.

The Capulets. Susanne was as amazing as I'd expected she'd be as Lady C - along with Ulrik Birkkjær as a more sympathetic Lord C and Sebastian Kloborg suddenly fitting into the constellation as Tybalt, these three were a force to be reckoned with in every scene featuring them. Susanne danced like a dream and her few key scenes, the Dance of the Knights and Tybalt's death, were chilling. Her interaction with Ida's Juliet was also so strong and you could really see their story lines reflected in each other so very clearly. Her interpretation was intelligent and understated. It was very evocative. However, in act two and three, I hope they have some alternate angles they've shot from, if this gets released on DVD as I think it might. Or just if it gets broadcast on DR. Her mourning dance over Tybalt suffered under some unfortunate zooming at first and the same goes for his funeral. That mourning/insanity scene, though. The way she dared to just let the moment be, let the spectator understand the situation on their own, understand the implictions and THEN explode in grief. And she really did explode. How she could kick and move like that in that costume, I have no idea. I had chills. All the scenes with Juliet and Paris were so well captured on film and also here the strong sense of bond between Susanne, Ulrik and Ida became palpable. I loved Ariel Mercuri as Paris and Mette Bødtcher as the Nurse.

As for the street performer troupe... My otherwise favourite part of the ballet... Maybe it was because the rest of the cast was so completely haunting, but for the most part they rang more hollow than when I saw them in March. I missed Alexander Stæger as the lead, Marcin Kupinski just fades a bit on stage for me, especially in all the gear he has to wear in this role. However, both Camilla Ruelykke Holst and especially Holly Dorger as Luciana were flawless. Holly's big eyes and wonderfully expressive face served her well with the pantomime like mimicry. She was also very tender and rather amusing in her acting. I loved Silvia Selvini in the role too and however small, I think it might be one of my top-three female roles in the ballet and Holly owned it. So beautiful.

All in all, a rather perfect evening and then watching Ida get promoted to principal on screen, on VERSE. So cute. She was really starborn yesterday. Hopefully I'll catch her Kitri in Don Q next month.

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Let me add my thanks too. I was able to watch this just tonight and really enjoyed it, especially Ida Praetorius' Juliet. I hope one day I will be able to see her live. (Some of her qualities even remind me a bit of Kirkland.)

Edited by Drew

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The recording offer is extended and could be seen till January 7th. it is a lovely performance.

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It certainly is Naomi!  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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