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2018 Romeo & Juliet

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I fully expect Shayer to get promoted this year. I think (hope) Bell's promotion will happen sooner rather than later, but this is only his second season as a corps dancer. I don't know if Kevin will promote him just yet. We'll find out all of this year's promotions in just a few weeks.

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Tonight would have been great with a different Romeo. 

I cannot believe the luminous Stella Abrera waited this long for that pairing. Whiteside was uncomfortably bad (for me, at least. Others seemed to be enjoying it).

I feel terrible when I have nothing positive to say about a performer...he executed most of the lifts well? Some of his solo work was nice? I liked him in Harlequinade last week? 

Come on, McKenzie. 

Edited by Inge

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Gorgeous, emotionally fluid performance by Stella Abrera tonight in R&J.  Her golden dancing lit up the stage to the extent that her partner, competent but charisma-free James Whiteside, completely vanished from view every time they shared a scene.  And I think he realized it, too.  Three years ago, after sitting through a ghastly, amateurish performance of Juliet by Misty Copeland just prior to her promotion, I swore I would never attend this wonderful ballet again, but tonight, what Copeland had destroyed in my eyes was rescued and reborn for me by Stella's dancing.  So glad I decided to see it!  I'm not sure she'll ever be "permitted" to dance Juliet again.

Spotted tonight in the audience:  **Marcelo Gomes** (!!), seated orchestra right with his partner, Nick, along with Gennadi Saveliev.  All three appeared happy, relaxed and glad to be there.  And I fantasized:  ten years ago, in another reality, another time, it would have been Marcelo on stage with Stella in this ballet, and everyone of us would have been happier and better off for it.

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28 minutes ago, laurel said:

Gorgeous, emotionally fluid performance by Stella Abrera tonight in R&J.  Her golden dancing lit up the stage to the extent that her partner, competent but charisma-free James Whiteside, completely vanished from view every time they shared a scene.  And I think he realized it, too.  Three years ago, after sitting through a ghastly, amateurish performance of Juliet by Misty Copeland just prior to her promotion, I swore I would never attend this wonderful ballet again, but tonight, what Copeland had destroyed in my eyes was rescued and reborn for me by Stella's dancing.  So glad I decided to see it!  I'm not sure she'll ever be "permitted" to dance Juliet again.

Spotted tonight in the audience:  **Marcelo Gomes** (!!), seated orchestra right with his partner, Nick, along with Gennadi Saveliev.  All three appeared happy, relaxed and glad to be there.  And I fantasized:  ten years ago, in another reality, another time, it would have been Marcelo on stage with Stella in this ballet, and everyone of us would have been happier and better off for it.

Did you catch Whiteside & Abrera's 'first look' moment? Because from where I was sitting all I could see was Whiteside's face, and it looked like he was stifling a giggle attack or making an inside joke...was Abrera doing the same thing or was he just making a weird artistic choice? Why is goofy smile his go-to Romeo characterization? Who is coaching this ballet?! 

It got so ridiculous that during the Act II letter scene I just ignored Whiteside watched Zhong-Jing Fang and Arron Scott in their steamy little flirtations. Every time Whiteside was flanked by Luis Ribagorda and Arron Scott, it was even more apparent how little charisma he was projecting in comparison to the supporting players. And the way Hammoudi hurled himself at Romeo as he was dying? Amazing work from everyone. 

I can only imagine that Abrera has been dancing this role in her dreams for years. That's the only explanation for her work tonight, which was equal to someone who has performed Juliet many, many times. Her footing on her initial solo was shaky, but other than that, stick a bow on it. Bravissima. Imagine if she had been partnered with David Hallberg.

I have to admit I teared up a little when i turned my head to see Gomes chatting with Gillian Murphy. How strange that The New York Times used a picture of Gomes dancing Swan Lake with Veronika Part for that recent Macaulay 'All About Odette' article. 

Edited by Inge

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Stella was spectacular tonight!  Her acting was en pointe!

 

is it just me or I thought her chemistry with Paris (Thomas Forster) was much stronger?  He might be a better choice for Romeo.  Also, his performance has been exceeding Hammoudi.  I think Forster deserves a shot as a leading role.

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1 minute ago, Ilovegiselle said:

Stella was spectacular tonight!  Her acting was en pointe!

 

is it just me or I thought her chemistry with Paris (Thomas Forster) was much stronger?  He might be a better choice for Romeo.  Also, his performance has been exceeding Hammoudi.  I think Forster deserves a shot as a leading role.

YES! I was about to say I loved him in this role! 

He was so charming and handsome. Abrera's girlish little grin after their first dance was to die for. 

Romeo basically just ruined everything in this version. 

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7 hours ago, laurel said:

Spotted tonight in the audience:  **Marcelo Gomes** (!!), seated orchestra right with his partner, Nick, along with Gennadi Saveliev.  All three appeared happy, relaxed and glad to be there.  And I fantasized:  ten years ago, in another reality, another time, it would have been Marcelo on stage with Stella in this ballet, and everyone of us would have been happier and better off for it.

This is from his Instagram

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I agree with all of the comments above about the entire cast. Oh, let's not forget Alexandra Basmagy-Diaz's beautiful debut as Lady Capulet. Also seduced, if I may say, by Hammoudi's Tybalt. He may have been a character actor/dancer disguised as a leading man all this time. I haven't enjoyed him this much in a long time. 

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I also loved Hammoudi's Tybalt. Granted, I couldn't quite see his facial expressions from row T. But I was struck by his marvelously expressive hands and wrists, and the "Prince of Cats" quality of his movement: lithe, skulking, arrogant.

Stella was glorious. Still thinking about Juliet's heartbreaking, defiant backward bourrées as she retreats from Paris and her parents.

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I'm surprised no one has posted about the Hallberg/Boylston show. Did anyone attend?

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22 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I'm surprised no one has posted about the Hallberg/Boylston show. Did anyone attend?

There is a single post by @Ilovegiselle about it on the previous page of this thread.

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4 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

I'm surprised no one has posted about the Hallberg/Boylston show. Did anyone attend?

I saw them on Wednesday... thought they were great together. Hallberg is a more graceful dancer than Boylston, but she really nailed the acting elements. Musically, I thought she was better in the Act III opening pas de deux than in the balcony scene.  

This was my first time seeing this production -- aside from the balcony scene snippet with Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel in "Center Stage" -- so I don't have much frame of reference, but I couldn't see much to criticize. The audience sure was into them. If anything, Jeffrey Cirio and Calvin Royal were a bit "off" as Mercutio and Benvolio in Act I, but Cirio came back with full force in Act II with ultra-precise, high jumping sequences.    

 

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It's really saying something that this board has been so dead, except for the debut roles. 

I was going to grab standing room tickets for tonight, but something about Romeo & Juliet just felt underwhelming this year. And it's usually one of my favorites. 

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49 minutes ago, Inge said:

It's really saying something that this board has been so dead, except for the debut roles. 

I was going to grab standing room tickets for tonight, but something about Romeo & Juliet just felt underwhelming this year. And it's usually one of my favorites. 

I get the feeling a lot of people have been boycotting due to the really underwhelming casting, me included. Misty getting two performances with two different Romeos was ridiculous. They couldn’t have paired Sarah Lane (a natural Juliet) with Daniil?? That would have been amazing but much too logical of McKenzie. 

Also pretty sure the majority of people wanted to see Abrera and Hallberg together. 

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16 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

I get the feeling a lot of people have been boycotting due to the really underwhelming casting, me included. Misty getting two performances with two different Romeos was ridiculous. They couldn’t have paired Sarah Lane (a natural Juliet) with Daniil?? That would have been amazing but much too logical of McKenzie. 

Also pretty sure the majority of people wanted to see Abrera and Hallberg together. 

For me it would be Lane & Cornejo :) They are one of the few ABT couples that generate heat when they're together. ABT is seriously lacking in notable partnerships right now. Misty I understand due to ticket sales, but Boylston doesn't need two. She's dancing everything this year. 

McKenzie should just let Ratmansky do the casting. His choices have always been (on the whole) astute. 
 

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I went to see romeo and juliet and  I got nostalgic for the days of ferri and bocca, paloma and angel, julie and roberto. Miss those days ! 

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9 hours ago, mimi67 said:

I went to see romeo and juliet and  I got nostalgic for the days of ferri and bocca, paloma and angel, julie and roberto. Miss those days ! 

I will add Marcelo and Diana

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13 hours ago, Fleurfairy said:

Also pretty sure the majority of people wanted to see Abrera and Hallberg together. 

YES YES YES.  Went as far as to comment on ABT's social media when they posted the promo clip of the two of them together to say that that casting needed to happen. If for nothing more than that it's a partnership that was a supposed to grace the Met stage a decade ago! (I personally, find it so odd that each of their injuries were off set from the others and they hardly seem healthy together!)

I do have to say that the casting this season has seems off balance. I know some principals may be carrying a lighter load because of lingering injuries, but it does seem disparate that the numbers are so skewed. I would hope that management does ask to some extent how frequently the principals WANT to dance versus how frequently they are needed to dance. I can't imagine Boylston actually wants to dance as often as she does (especially if she's likely the one to cover if someone gets injured!)...but I've been here long enough to not expect that...

Side note: the instagram live of Devon and Aran discussing the process of preparing, performing, and completing thei debuts was great. It's still up for the rest of day if anyone's interested!

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I went last night, and I am so happy that I did. I thought Boylston completely knocked the ball out of the park. My expectations were low, however, I can certainly say she stunned me, to the point that I rank her performance in my all time top 3-5 for this role. Her technical brilliance brought the choreography to life, better than ever. She made everything look so easy, yet so beautiful, and used it as a perfect vehicle to tell the story, as I have rarely seen before. Literally every phrase made sense for me last night. 

I remember  reading somewhere that she have been taking acting classes for a while, and it shows !  She went from a girl to a madly in love woman in such a subtle, and at the same time, beautiful way. The performance progressed in emotion and her third act was just magnificent, particularly her last two scenes before the final one. Her last pdd with Paris was truly heartbraking and the moment when she decided to take the sleeping potion was so intense. I think she was so much in character that a few times she actually made some noise, particularly with her breathing, in a very organic way, and it worked for me really well. The whole show was very organic,  I am still in awe.

Hallberg looked much better than in the SuperGiselle show. Most importantly he partenered Boylston beautifully, those lift were just gorgeous. I loved the contrast of his Romeo and his elegant lines with the exuberant intensity that she transpired from beginning to end. The balcony pdd was very, very well danced but also full of love and beauty from both dancers. The final scene was just phenomenal, they were both at their best, bravo ! 

 This is a great partnership and I hope we get the chance to see them dance together more often. I came out of the show  pretty emotional and thinking how powerful and beautiful this ballet is, when is really well done. Together with the gorgeous score is definitely a jewel for the art.

Cirio brought the house down with his technical power, the audience really loved him. His portrayal of Mercutio was cute, but still felt short for me in many regards , particularly his dead scene looked way too canned for my taste. I think also the contrast of Hallberg's lines next to him, did not make him any favor. He should dance next to Cornejo or Sinkim better. Calvin Royal looked really fantastic. Devon Teuscher's lady capulet looked underpowered, its probably a work in progress.

Overall a magnificent show with two spectacular performances of the leading roles and a very strong support from the remaining characters and the corps.

Edited by Classic_Ballet

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3 hours ago, spinning2night said:

Side note: the instagram live of Devon and Aran discussing the process of preparing, performing, and completing thei debuts was great. It's still up for the rest of day if anyone's interested!

2

Thanks for pointing it out. I just checked it out and really enjoyed what Teuscher had to say about being cast against type and making the role her own. It also confirms a few things that we've basically assumed all along: that she was pulled from the Detroit R&J because of Lendorf's injury, and that Lendorf is still injured. She comes across as very thoughtful and well-spoken. Bell seems shy and modest, but then again, he's only 19! It's funny that Teuscher didn't realize how young he was until the NYT article came out. I also hadn't known that Teuscher was in the very first class of the JKO School. She must be the first ABT principal to have come out of that school, right? I know others have said it's not regarded as one of the country's finest training programs, but it does show that it can be a talent pipeline for ABT. Royal, Trenary and Brandt are also alumni of the JKO School.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Classic Ballet: I agree with everything you wrote. Wow, what a night it was last night!! I've never been a fan of Isabella, but now I am. Yes, as you said, she "completely knocked the ball out of the park." I, too, would rank this as one of my top Juliet performances of all time. Isabella and David were absolutely fabulous together, much better than David and Natalia were last month. I'm so glad I saw this performance, and I hope this partnership continues to grow.

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Ok, yes, Hallberg/Abrera would have been my dream pairing—but I agree with BalletFan and ClassicBallet that Hallberg and Boylston were great together! I saw the Wednesday night performance but haven’t had time to post until now. 

I haven’t been a huge fan of Isabella historically, but I was impressed by this performance and it gave me a new appreciation of her as an artist. I have always admired her technique, but had not seen her ever create a character so fully as she did with Juliet (I may be late to the party because I don’t see her perform often). Her acting was very, very strong all throughout and she managed to capture emotional nuances while still projecting on a grand enough scale to be readable at the enormous Met. She did this magic for both comic moments (like when she bounds into the ball scene full of girlish excitement which suddenly shifts to girlish anxiety about being at her first ball) and tragic ones (like the final act, where her Juliet startled after stumbling into a tomb and then discovered Romeo—upon which she wrung her hands and “screamed”—completely heartbreaking). 

She looked really secure with Hallberg and the lifts were very impressive. In the balcony scene and the “morning after” scene especially, I was sometimes bothered by her port de bras (sometimes awkward/less than fluid), but overall her dancing was lovely. Great jumps and bourées .

This was my first time seeing Hallberg “really” dance this season (Pierrot not counting IMO as it’s almost all mime). He was wonderful. Great acting, so much ardor and passion and heart. Beautiful, elegant lines as always. Rock-solid lifts. Great in the fight scenes—both with the sword-fighting and evoking the Act II inner conflict that accompanied the fighting.  He and Isabella really have chemistry, which is sadly lacking at ABT these days. It was so great to see actual spark between principals.

I thought cirio was an excellent Mercutio. I can often find Act II muddied and less than engaging, but he really drew me in. Amazing jumps and turns that got a lot of much deserved applause.

Overall, the supporting players looked great—I feel like Romeo and Juliet is really one of the ballets ABT does best. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MarzipanShepherdess

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