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ABT 2016 Romeo & Juliet

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Did anyone attend last night?

And, eager to hear reports following tonight's dream cast of Vishneva and Gomes (and Scott)....

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I was there and I thought it was spectacular. Vishneva is such a beautiful dancer, and the two of them had real emotion together. The final pose when the curtain comes down will be indelibly printed on my memory. I have to admit that I have only seen R&J once before, but based on this performance, it's one of my new favorite ballets.

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I have seen McMillan's production of RJ 6 times with various different casting in the past few years.

I have to say that last night performance with the magical couple MARIANA (Marcelo and Diana) was one of the best RJ performanceI have ever seen.

I could actually hear the audience members aroundme sighing with ador so often. The Balcony scene was unbelieveable. There were total trust and sincere love with each other. Many times, I can see and feel Diana just let go and Marcelo is there to catch here. She jumps with total freedom into Marcelo's arms. I simply cannot describe last night performance... it is one of those shows you have to be there to feel the true brilliance of the performance.

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Marcelo and Diana were truly sublime Tuesday night. They were scheduled to do this on a Friday night in 2015, but she cancelled with injury just a few hours before the performance, as I remember. But such a great partnership - I just wish we had more of it on tape for the ages.

The only other performance that even came close in my memory was Hallberg-Osipova a few years ago - the performance when the audience demanded (and got) bows after the first act. Was that in 2013?

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Wednesday night with Murphy and Hammoudi was a bit of a let-down after Vishneva-Gomes. The highlight for me was Jeffrey Cirio as Mercutio. Where Hammoudi is utterly packing in presence, Cirio totally commands the stage, even in crowd scenes. Add that to a crisp, sparkling technique and he is really someone to watch, as others have noted.

I don't know how you teach Presence. Hammoudi does the steps, but you are never compelled to watch him. Nothing is special or astonishing or even done full-out. He looks like a gangly, awkward teenager. That might have worked with a flat-chested waif, but Gillian is quite visibly a mature woman. Their partnering seemed studied, well-rehearsed, cautious. Gillian showed real abandon in solo turns, but didn't seem to trust Hammoudi completely.

The house seemed nearly sold out and quite enthusiastic about Cirio, as well as Hammoudi-Murphy.

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I was there last night too for Hammoudi/Murphy. What I will say is that though this wasn't a great Romeo, it was better than usual Hammoudi. However, when he danced with Blaine Hoven and Jeffrey Cirio, Hammoudi was just a half beat behind them (he is much taller and longer-limbed). Cirio seemed to be the dancer whose technique and performance energy forced you to watch. As for Hammoudi's partnering, I think in the balcony scene duet there were some places where he had to lift Juliet over his head and he just lifted her to his shoulder. In some lifts Gillian kept one hand on his shoulder just in case. Otherwise, no mishaps. His acting wasn't that terrible - he has gotten some good coaching. Hammoudi was convincing breaking down in tears after Romeo has killed Tybalt.

However, Gillian is on a whole other level. I have avoided Gillian as Juliet in the past - I avoid this ballet too. However, she owns the role both in dance and dramatic terms - each moment was fully realized and captured. There was no hardness, no remoteness - every step had an emotional through line. Of course she has strong feet and a high extension but that was used for musical and expressive means, not technical display. There was a sense of emotional abandon and headstrong passion that was blandly responded to by Hammoudi but she made him better and pulled him up to her level.

Jeffrey Cirio was the male dancing star of the evening with incredible precision and speed in his turns and beats. However, as an actor he is still a little callow and you really didn't get a good sense of how Mercutio is different from Benvolio until the later scenes. That will come - Herman didn't have it initially either. Blaine Hoven danced with wit and style as Benvolio - his technique is looking sharp these days and he really should be promoted this season. Also nice to see Daniel Mantei out of the corps and dancing Paris - beautiful partnering and elegant presence in the little he had to do. More please. Roman Zhurbin and Devon Teuscher were the Capulet Mr. and Mrs. and Martine Van Hamel the Nurse - all good. Cassandra Trenary, Skyler Brandt and Catherine Hurlin were the Harlots - nothing to say there except that the fright wig-white face hooker drag actually makes Skyler Brandt look exquisitely pretty. I don't know how that works but it does - much prettier than she is on or offstage. :dunno::wacko:

Gillian was really carrying the whole performance even in scenes like the Tomb Scene where she has little real dancing. She also made Hammoudi look better in their scenes despite some timorous partnering. There was real passion there and real acting. I would love to see her dance this with Marcelo just once. House full and enthusiastic - maybe ABT needs to move their season until after NYCB leaves for Saratoga. They are currently the only big show at Lincoln Center with the tourist crowd all to themselves.

BTW: report (not from me) from the Weds. matinee: Isabella Boylston had a very successful debut as Juliet - lots of passion and very good interpretation with many details. James Whiteside is a fine technical dancer but not a Romeo - poker-faced and cold. He didn't give back what she gave him.

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There is an article in today's NY Times about Ferri's appearance tonight as Juliet. It's probably in the Links section. What I found most interesting is Ferri's statement that McKenzie approached her about returning to dance at ABT. Worth a read.

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Several articles about Ferri's return. One mentioned that she is being sworn in as a U.S. citizen tomorrow. I can understand why Ratmansky preferred U.S. citizenship, given political situation in Russia. Baryshnikov had no real choice after defecting and became a U.S. citizen in the mid-80s. Ferri's choice is a little more puzzling. She said she spends so much time in New York that she feels like a New Yorker. She also mentioned that Manon is an easier role for her than Juliette. Hint, hint!

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Several articles about Ferri's return. One mentioned that she is being sworn in as a U.S. citizen tomorrow. I can understand why Ratmansky preferred U.S. citizenship, given political situation in Russia. Baryshnikov had no real choice after defecting and became a U.S. citizen in the mid-80s. Ferri's choice is a little more puzzling. She said she spends so much time in New York that she feels like a New Yorker. She also mentioned that Manon is an easier role for her than Juliette. Hint, hint!

I read the article and indeed interesting, and don't get me wrong as I love her, yet I leave with a few thoughts, and it may just be me ... if indeed she is returning to the stage ... why just one show and might we see more in the fall? Also, the recent photo of her (sorry for being critical) but I just feel that is not a young teenage Juliet :(

BTW: report (not from me) from the Weds. matinee: Isabella Boylston had a very successful debut as Juliet - lots of passion and very good interpretation with many details. James Whiteside is a fine technical dancer but not a Romeo - poker-faced and cold. He didn't give back what she gave him.

I am sorry to say this but I have felt this of Whiteside since seeing him last in SL and will not return for any of his performances :(

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However, Gillian is on a whole other level. I have avoided Gillian as Juliet in the past - I avoid this ballet too. However, she owns the role both in dance and dramatic terms - each moment was fully realized and captured. There was no hardness, no remoteness - every step had an emotional through line. Of course she has strong feet and a high extension but that was used for musical and expressive means, not technical display. There was a sense of emotional abandon and headstrong passion that was blandly responded to by Hammoudi but she made him better and pulled him up to her level.

I was moved by Gillian's interpretation as well. I've always admired her technique but never thought of her as an "actress" - well, she certainly delivered a complete range of expression last night, filled with nuance and free of any false notes or melodrama. Compared to Gomes, Hammoudi was a more passive Romeo, but I thought this was a valid interpretation that showcased Juliet as the ballet's central character whose actions drove the tragedy.

I believe Margot Fonteyn created the role of Juliet in her late forties, so perhaps Alessandra Ferri's return to the role will be compelling as well.

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I believe Margot Fonteyn created the role of Juliet in her late forties, so perhaps Alessandra Ferri's return to the role will be compelling as well.

And the recorded version of Makarova and McKenzie was in 1988, making her 47 I believe.

I think it a bit harsh to criticize her appearance in a rehearsal photo of her apparently not in makeup [not you Rick]... Yes ballet is about appearance more than opera but surely we suspend disbelief regarding their ages somewhat.

Very few dancers actually look like 14 year old girls (nor do actresses in the role for that matter). If she dances it well and with emotion I'll be thrilled! I don't care if she looks 14!

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According to Macaulay:

"This Thursday, at age 53, Ms. Ferri returns to Juliet. This breaks no records: Margot Fonteyn, who danced the premiere of MacMillan’s version, was still a memorable Juliet (with Rudolf Nureyev’s Romeo) at 56."

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And the recorded version of Makarova and McKenzie was in 1988, making her 47 I believe.

I think it a bit harsh to criticize her appearance in a rehearsal photo of her apparently not in makeup [not you Rick]... Yes ballet is about appearance more than opera but surely we suspend disbelief regarding their ages somewhat.

Very few dancers actually look like 14 year old girls (nor do actresses in the role for that matter). If she dances it well and with emotion I'll be thrilled! I don't care if she looks 14!

I may have misspoken or have been misunderstood in my statement in regard to the NYT photo and do apologize for my comment, by no means disrespectful for one of my most favorite dancers :flowers: I was merely making an observation and indeed that photo didn't do justice to such a beautiful dancer! At my age I can only say I wish I had looked that good or in that shape :)

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I was struck by the fact that McKenzie asked Ferri to come back and dance. Struck- but not surprised in the least. It was an easy way to add a box office bump, with a huge advance ticket sale in the bank and lots of press coverage. But I have to contemplate the question of whether Ferri's appearance potentially deprived a younger dancer of making a debut as Juliet. There is a time to step aside and allow the next generation their shot. I surely hope this does not become a trend at ABT.

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I was struck by the fact that McKenzie asked Ferri to come back and dance. Struck- but not surprised in the least. It was an easy way to add a box office bump, with a huge advance ticket sale in the bank and lots of press coverage. But I have to contemplate the question of whether Ferri's appearance potentially deprived a younger dancer of making a debut as Juliet. There is a time to step aside and allow the next generation their shot. I surely hope this does not become a trend at ABT.

Good points, but all the Juliets this week got only one performance each except: Vishneva (makes sense as a visitor, and the only ballet she is doing this season) and Seo - with two different partners. If there was a more junior dancer in line, she could have taken that second Seo performance and with Bolle, no less. I was wondering if Ferri was also attractive to give Cornejo a partner. All the other Romeo's are getting just one performance (except Gomes). All speculation, of course, but Ferri has done some theater pieces with Cornejo, and they seem to work well together.

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I think Seo took Polina's spot as Juliet, and that's why Seo got 2 Juliets.

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I was moved by Gillian's interpretation as well. I've always admired her technique but never thought of her as an "actress" - well, she certainly delivered a complete range of expression last night, filled with nuance and free of any false notes or melodrama. Compared to Gomes, Hammoudi was a more passive Romeo, but I thought this was a valid interpretation that showcased Juliet as the ballet's central character whose actions drove the tragedy.

I believe Margot Fonteyn created the role of Juliet in her late forties, so perhaps Alessandra Ferri's return to the role will be compelling as well.

I am so happy to hear the positive reviews on Gillian's Juliet. I saw it last year (she was partnered with Whiteside, I believe) and I thought she was a fantastic Juliet. Glad to see others feel the same.

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Seo did get Semionova's Juliet.

Regarding Ferri, I'll be eagerly awaiting reviews of her performance (I saw Cheri w/ her and Cornejo, and they definitely have great chemistry). I guess we'll never know if her Juliet would have gone to someone else's debut if she wasn't performing. Cornejo would need a short partner obviously; would McKenzie have given it to Lane? Unlikely at this point. I guess it's pointless to speculate, but I think it's likely Copeland would have been cast again. She and Cornejo have danced together before and we all know she's box office gold. Only Copeland's and Ferri's R&J's have sold out.

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Vishneva Gomes R&J on Tuesday was very well sold.

I have not seen Murphy's Juliet since her debut with Hallberg as her Romeo. Glad to hear that she was so good. I could not bring myself to see Hammoudi as Romeo.

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Overheard on the bus home tonight, a woman on her cell phone talking about the performance: "There were people all around me, clapping, screaming, yelling 'Thank you for coming back!' I held it together, but I had tears in my eyes. It was a surreal experience. I felt like I was reliving my past."

Alas, I cannot relive my past in quite the same way, because I never saw Ferri dance with ABT, only a couple of years ago in Cheri. But I can say that the entire performance was electric from the start, and although I am rarely if ever moved by R&J, I certainly was tonight. Ferri said in the Times she'd consider returning again in Manon ("not quite as difficult" as Juliet, she claimed!). Please let it happen. I'll be there.

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I had tickets to see Vishneva and Ferri, but had to give them up due to a scheduling conflict with a show that I'm performing in.

I don't care if Ferri's return may have prevented someone else from dancing. Ferri puts her entire body and soul into her performances, and I cherish every one of her performances that I've seen beginning with Fall River Legend in the late 80s. There are few dancers currently at ABT who bring as much passion to the stage, so I'm very sad to have missed tonight's performance.

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An astonishing night at the ballet. Ferri and Cornejo were absolutely on fire. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him give such an emotional and moving performance. And Ferri, holy smoke! Ferri was my all-time favorite ABT dancer and I’ve missed her enormously over the years. I’d seen her twice before in R&J, around 10, 11 years ago, and amazingly, she’s still as fluid and lyrical as she ever was. At 53 she puts the current 20-years-younger ABT principals to shame. Once you have seen her dance, you will not care whether she’s “stolen” a performance from someone else. Because you will never want to see that someone else again. Ferri is the standard against which the rest of them must be judged. It really was like going back in time 10 years or so, when ABT was full of dancers with superb skills, so vibrant and alive. And it makes you realize that the company today is just a shadow of its former self. I lost track of how many curtain calls they took. No one wanted to leave the theater.

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Wow what an amazing performance. I bought my ticket to this show after I had had seen Ferri and Cornejo dance at the Joyce in March. Alessandra Ferri is an amazing dancer and she had given such commitment to the role. They partner very well together and the whole house was on fire watching their every step throughout the night. I haven't heard the house applaud and roar that loud since Stella Abrera's Giselle last spring season.

I also went to th Q & A after Ferri and Cornejo's performance at the Joyce and a question came up about whether their dancing together was leading to anything else in the future. It was pretty much asking about a possible relationship between them. I remember she didn't answer the question exactly but after tonight's curtain call after seeing them clearly lock lips a few times, they were certainly making a statement. I knew that kind of chemistry on stage had to be real!

An amazing night! I have seen I think 8 performances this ABT season and this definitely this was the best one. This performance just made me so glad to be alive.

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I can only agree with everything Laurel and others have said here. Ravishing performance. Ballet royalty in the audience. I spotted Robbie Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Damian Woetzel. I am sure there were many more.

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