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Romeo and Juliet


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Per the ABT website calendar, Thursday night's Romeo and Juliet performance with Reyes and Carreno has been replaced with Murphy and Hallberg. Wednesday night's performance with Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky is now Dvorovenko and Carreno. Oh well.

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Per the ABT website calendar, Thursday night's Romeo and Juliet performance with Reyes and Carreno has been replaced with Murphy and Hallberg. Wednesday night's performance with Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky is now Dvorovenko and Carreno. Oh well.

Anyone know what's going on with Reyes? Is she injured? If so, I hope not badly.

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Anyone know what's going on with Reyes? Is she injured? If so, I hope not badly.

The program insert on Saturday night said she was injured. I'm wondering about Ethan Stiefel, too, after he was replaced at intermission on Saturday.

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Outstanding performance tonight. Heartbreaking. Vishneva simply out of this world. The last act especially.

Corella also much more dramatic than he usually is.

But Vishneva... words fail me. Worlds, by the way, fail me too:)

I'll probably write more when I recover:)

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Vishneva/Corella

Tonight it was a pleasure to see Diana Vishneva sufficiently recovered from her bout with bronchitis to dance full-out, with energy to spare. This is, I believe, the sixth performance of this partnership, and it showed in tonight's interpretive harmony.

Joining Romeo Corella in the opening scene were sidekicks Mercutio Cornejo and Benvolio Matthews, as well as future cousin-in-law Tybalt Radetsky. In Juliet's anteroom, Vishneva enters a playful 13-year old, still youthful as she plays with nurse Susan Jones, and not quite sure what to do, but sort of shyly interested, when her parents, Victor Barbee and Veronika Part present her with the very proper Paris Saveliev. Later, we find the first indication that this Juliet is a sensualist, as she expressively responds to her nurse's tactile touching of her breasts, as a way of telling her that she's ready for marriage, in more ways than one.

The three sidekicks each danced with virtuosity before entering the ballroom. As Diana displayed her virtuosity on the mandolin, Angel's display variation was a perfect combination of his virtuosity and a special gentleness, as his every move seemed keyed to her responses. He definitely knew he wanted her, and his dancing was such that it would attract and impress, yet not scare her away. They hit it off just fine and their PdD played on her awakening sensuality. Careful not to touch her too soon, his hand traced very near her neck, and she responded, throwing back her head as if actually touched. . When finally he embraced her waist, she was ready for ecstacy. But this was also a very aware and intelligent Juliet, who quickly grasped the gravity of the situation as Tybalt confronted Romeo. She needed more than just first love...

In the balcony scene Mr. Corella combined great force with his old speed and virtuosity. Sometimes this results in diminished perfection, but not tonight. This force, that he was a man, was keyed to Diana's sense of gravity in the prior scene, it was just what Ms. Vishneva had shown she needed. It gave her the confidence to go on with it. She matched him, penchee for leap, epaulement for lift, Russian back for Latin passion, as both combined to create wild abandon from classical purity. Finally they kissed. When departing, she fulfilled his earlier gentle gesture with her own hand, tracing his hand's path, but actually touching her neck, then fingers passing to her lips... He was for real, and she could trust him.

In Act 2 Benvolio, Jared Matthews, performed the mandolin dance, to strong audience approval. Romeo receives the letter and heads for the Church. Friar Sir Frederic Franklin (BRAVO!) blesses their union. Then Romeo's idot pals ruin his life. Corella attacks Tybalt with such rage, so vicious that Sascha Radetsky deserves overtime, even hazzard, compensation. And after it was over, and he's seen what he'd done, he wept with the power that could only bring Julio Bocca to mind.

In the bedroom Juliet awakes, fully aware that all is lost. They dance with last passion. Heartbroken, her arms dangle limp, and he kisses her. Her arms slowly struggle to raise toward his head, but just as they close in embrace he slips away from her hands, and is gone through the window. The unpleasantness with parents and Paris, the intense prayer in her room, she downs the potion. And to the tomb.

Angel's intense despair, he takes his poison and tries to give Juliet a parting kiss. He reaches his face toward hers, but dies and crumbles, even failing to make that final contact. She wakes, and after knowing he is truly dead, she shrieks to heaven, then joins him.

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I agree the performance was stellar.

I found Cornejo's death very moving; his dancing was wonderful as usual.

Corella attacks Tybalt with such rage, so vicious that Sascha Radetsky deserves overtime, even hazzard, compensation.

Not to mention that Corella chopped of a good portion of Radetsky's rapier, and moments later, without dropping a beat, Radetsky borrowed one of his kinsmen's swords.

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I see it got a very good review (with a little swat at NYCB's R&J or should I say R+ J at the end) in the New York Times by Macauly, but I'm confused...It seems he's made an error--or was Matthews indeed Paris?

The context makes it seem he was Benvolio and that is what was said earlier in this thread by drb, it is also what he has danced previously

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/arts/dan....html?ref=dance is the link.

the 2 photos are also lovely :)

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..It seems he's made an error--or was Matthews indeed Paris?

The context makes it seem he was Benvolio

Must have been a typo. Both the program and my eyes say Benvolio = Matthews, Paris = Saveliev.

I really liked this, which he suggests he hadn't noticed before (I wonder if, just possibly, it wasn't in the original choreoraphy and was a DV-ism?):

When Juliet's parents are urging her to marry Paris, there's a moment when she finds herself standing near him, and - to a quickly rising scale in the woodwind - her eyes travel up, coolly surveying him from toe to head. Then her eyes turn away, and, rising on point, she briskly travels away from him, before arriving again on flat foot, looking steadfastly in the opposite direction, so economically saying, "No, this is not the right man, and I cannot be his."

I really like it when Macaulay gives the essence of the aesthetic experience like this!

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I really liked this, which he suggests he hadn't noticed before (I wonder if, just possibly, it wasn't in the original choreoraphy and was a DV-ism?):
When Juliet's parents are urging her to marry Paris, there's a moment when she finds herself standing near him, and - to a quickly rising scale in the woodwind - her eyes travel up, coolly surveying him from toe to head. Then her eyes turn away, and, rising on point, she briskly travels away from him, before arriving again on flat foot, looking steadfastly in the opposite direction, so economically saying, "No, this is not the right man, and I cannot be his."

I really like it when Macaulay gives the essence of the aesthetic experience like this!

It's part of the choreography.

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I see it got a very good review (with a little swat at NYCB's R&J or should I say R+ J at the end)

There was also a swat at Veronika Part as Lady Capulet----"Lady Capulet was dully played by Veonika Part"---what is it with Macauley? he appears to be following her around in any role ready to pounce. I saw R&J at the dress rehearsal on Monday, and it was the first time I saw Part in the role of Lady C---and I must admit it was the first time I ever spent any time on that character in the ballet, and I couldn't get my eyes off of her. Perhaps I am reading it wrong---and dully doesn't mean what I think it means. The rehearsal was a real treat---there were 3 ballerinas alternating the role (Murphy, Herrera and Dvorevenko with Hallberg, Gomes and Carreno) After Murphy & Hallberg did the balcony scene, unannounced Gomes (in t-shirt and sweatpants) and Herrera repeated it--and burned up the stage...marvelous, I would love to see a complete performance from these two, but I already have two more R&J's this week.....

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...There was also a swat at Veronika Part as Lady Capulet----"Lady Capulet was dully played by Veonika Part"---what is it with Macauley? he appears to be following her around in any role ready to pounce. I saw R&J at the dress rehearsal on Monday, and it was the first time I saw Part in the role of Lady C---and I must admit it was the first time I ever spent any time on that character in the ballet, and I couldn't get my eyes off of her. Perhaps I am reading it wrong---and dully doesn't mean what I think it means....

In performance she especially relates well with old team-mate Diana. Giselle/Myrtha, for instance. (If ABT ever gets a production of Sleeping Beauty, what an Aurora/Lilac they'd make!) When she entered Monday night she received quite a hand, especially for a parent character! In the final bows, too. Not for any over-acting or scene-swiping either, just lifting the character out of the furniture and into the story. Some writers, and even we just-viewers, simply don't cotton to certain dancers... In Macaulay's case, it is worth figuring who these dancers are, so the rest of his reviews can be read for their true merit. I, certainly, learn a great deal from him. And that wasn't nearly the case for any Times reviewer before him.

It's part of the choreography.
Thanks, Zerbinetta!
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I saw Vishneva/Corella on Monday night. What a performance! Corella was the most romantic, tender, impassioned Romeo I've seen since Julio Bocca and his technique was stunning -- beautiful, lofty jumps and turns. He's a sublime dancer.

This was my first sight of Vishneva. She's such a lovely dancer -- beautiful line, supple arms/back and totally absorbed in Juliet's drama. She lived the role as I've seen Ferri and Makarova live it. Hers was a gorgeous performance.

I had a wonderful surprise after the performance. I was walking down Broadway with my boyfriend when we saw a small group with a gentleman carrying several big bouquets. I looked at the petite woman walking in front of him and recognized Vishneva. I approached Vishneva and thanked her for her beautiful performnce. She smiled and nodded -- I suppose she doesn't speak English. It was lovely to meet her.

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I saw Vishneva/Corella on Monday night. What a performance! Corella was the most romantic, tender, impassioned Romeo I've seen since Julio Bocca and his technique was stunning -- beautiful, lofty jumps and turns. He's a sublime dancer.

This was my first sight of Vishneva. She's such a lovely dancer -- beautiful line, supple arms/back and totally absorbed in Juliet's drama. She lived the role as I've seen Ferri and Makarova live it. Hers was a gorgeous performance.

I had a wonderful surprise after the performance. I was walking down Broadway with my boyfriend when we saw a small group with a gentleman carrying several big bouquets. I looked at the petite woman walking in front of him and recognized Vishneva. I approached Vishneva and thanked her for her beautiful performnce. She smiled and nodded -- I suppose she doesn't speak English. It was lovely to meet her.

This is the kind of post I love; thanks, Makarova Fan, I was at Monday night's performance as well, and it was the first live viewing of Vishneva for me, too. I agree with everything you say. Incidentally, I heard that Makarova was in the audience.

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There was also a swat at Veronika Part as Lady Capulet----"Lady Capulet was dully played by Veonika Part"---what is it with Macauley?

As much as I did not care for Veronica Part's Aurora, I have to admit that her Lady Capulet was magnificent.

During the "weeping scene" she was so "for real" that I felt a chill and goosebumps on my skin..

Nothing was dull about her performance on Monday night.

As far as "war of Romeos" mentioned in Mr. Macauley review - I do not think there was ever a war.

ABT's Romeo and Juliette is so much stronger and better then R +J that war did not even started. :)

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TWO VIEWS, TWO VIEWPOINTS

How to explain differences in interpretation, technique, phrasing, acting nuances to someone who last saw a live full-length ballet almost 30 years ago? That was my duty and joy this past weekend when a friend, who couldn't attend last year due to illness, was able to come this past weekend.

First seen were Hallberg & Murphy in Act1 at the ABT full-dress/tech rehearsal Monday. All of which was most helpful for my friend as she learned how Macmillan's choreography illustrates both the music AND Shakespeare's text in easily understood detail. (And after attending a "Spotlight Seminar" with Hallberg on Saturday, it was good to see the words put into action.)

As usual, Hallberg's legs and feet reminded me strongly of Ethan Stiefel's, though of course David Hallberg is longer and taller, and uses his upper body very differently. This was the first time I observed Gillian Murphy's Juliet, since I missed her Chicago debut. She was shy and sweet, and very much in control technically, which did a little to negate that affect. Of course most of the acting nuances between her and Romeo were still rather tentative, without the depth of emotion expressed by more seasoned performers such as Gomes & Herrera who next tried out the Balcony pdd; she in her Juliet costume, he in his t-shirt and sweats, which may explain why he also didn't bother dancing it full-out, but marked much. Still, it was more impassioned than the earlier pair, and Paloma used her more flexible back and pdb's to greater effect. But watching both pairs, I still noticed, moves unfinished (all), phrasing that was way too early, and too fast for the diligently practiced orchestra (as usual, Paloma), and some careful partnering. Both Murphy and Herrera did jump BACKWARDS into Romeo's arms (as they should) for those last catch & lifts (unlike some who don't turn until the very last moment, when they are already caught.)

But what I missed in the above, was not just passion, which any good actor can inject, but a fluid sustained passion expressed THROUGH/in TANDEM with the choreography, and the detail and nuance that Ferri, Vishneva, and Corella do innately. So I was left to explain... How those three do the same moves, but differently: Utilizing a lift of a head or subtly rotated hand, epaulement that extends and reaches out to corners OR towards someone, a strong attention to line, and hitting those iconic poses to express the choreographer's intent, not just a choice of steps. And then my friend and I saw Monday's performance by Corella & Vishneva, and I didn't have to explain any more because those differences were suddenly manifest and virtuosity in a role visible.

Diana Vishneva excells in practically all her roles, and as Juliet is fascinating to watch both as an actress--where details are as important to her as they are to Ferri--and in her superlative technique. She is never subtle there, but always uses it with full command. And this time (yes, I agree 6th time with Corella) more in tune with Corella than last year. Macaulay may have forgotten the detail inherent in the choreography, but Vishneva hasn't and uses that and her own strong emotive powers to create the reality of Juliet's life and interactions with parents, nurse, and suitor. Soaring extensions, long arms used to reach to her lover or her father, caress her lover or hug her nurse, enclose her despair into herself with her shawl, or hang limply or 'scream' in anguish heavenwards in bedroom and tomb pdd's. And when she met & danced with her Romeo, one could see that they were both on an entirely different emotional (and virtuosic) plane than the others.

There are probably many reasons Angel Corella usually graces the promotional posters for this ballet. Yes, looks and popularity probably sell some tickets. But I really am beginning to believe he 'owns' this role; a true synergy of temperament and technique. ABT's men do have excellent technique (and Cornejo's always improves Corella's), and there are several good actors besides Angel Corella on the roster. But (as it is for Juliet), acting and dancing are not the sole reasons Corella (Ferri, Vishneva) is/are great in this role. It's in the details... the finished moves, the speed and fluidity--(yes, unlike some previous performances, more controlled without compromising technique), and the constant observation & interaction between the partners throughout each step so that line is extended, mirrorred moves timed perfectly (I saw him come to a dead stop for a half-beat just so Juliet could catch up and move IN TANDEM with him on the phrase), and TENSION of action/SUSPENSION of time in each emotional high & low expressed. I'm still analysing (sorry AC) and still can't explain it; but like Ferri, it's a gift I hope he passes on.

(Off-Topic, but related)

Watching Ferri & Bolle reprise their "Manon" pairing Saturday, after viewing Ferri's & Corella's gutsy, courageous, full-out performance at the Wednesday matinee, was like watching steps without a soul. It was perfectly danced, and Bolle's greater height allowed Ferri more freedom in movement so her turns were surer and technique more secure, but after Wednesday's performance, it was as if (with the exception of Ferri of course) everyone was told, "Go stand there, then act there, then do this..." and they did it: perfect, beautiful, and totally missing the full-blown passionate momentum of the matinee. If anyone other than Ferri & Corella had danced that matinee like that, I would have said "histrionic/over-the-top" but they both just went for it, and it showed...Not perfect (too fast, too blurred, not always secure, some iconic poses rushed through--and problems still with Des Grieux's adagio solo in Act 1) but with a true emotional punch in the gut, heart, and mind.

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I just got back from the matinee today--Hallberg and Murphy.

I know a common complaint is that she doesnt act. Well for me at least, that problem was not in evidence at all this afternoon.

It was a fabulous performance. From the second their eyes met in the ballroom i believed in them and in their love for each other.

I had been a bit concerned about some of the trickier partnering (he isn't the strongest, and she is not a small dancer) but they worked beautifully together. If their lifts lacked the abandon of Ferri (they did) they were still done well and were moving.

I was really blown away. I had seen Hallberg last year with Paloma and much prefered this pairing. I thought Gillian's Juliet was remarkable. Her initial shyness, her love, her desperation, were all clearly deliniated and believable--evinced both through her body and her facial expressions. And Hallberg is a perfect Romeo.

As for the other dancers, needless to say, I didn't find Part the least bit dull. Matthews was a very good Benvolio, but as Mercutio, i found Carlos Lopez really flat. I liked Isaac Stappas very much as a very fierce Tybalt.

I hope others enjoyed it as well. It was a very different performance than Ferri's or Vishneva's but I thought it was superb.

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Wednesday matinee, June 20, 2007

Murphy/Hallberg

An all-American lead cast today, and how rare is that for the American Ballet Company?

The three pals today were, in usual order, David Hallberg, Carlos Lopez, and Jared Matthews. Gillian Murphy entered her anteroom as a very child-like girl, very much into her dolls. Indeed, when it was time to say "hi" to Paris DeLong, she still had her dolly in hand, tried to hide it behind her back, wiggling it so nurse Ellis-Wentz would discretely take it from view. *None of that surveying Paris head-to-foot that Mr. Macaulay loved in Monday's performance*, for Murphy's Juliet was much more interested in going back to playing with her dolls and nurse. Her parents were Veronika Part (how well she tells Lady Capulet's not insubstantial tale, and such beauty) and Victor Barbee (what a two weeks for him in filling two MacMillan roles so deeply).

Noble Mr. Hallberg stole the dancing show outside the Capulet house, and once inside he, like Gillian, also emphasized youth. Shortly after the beginning of the ballroom PdD, his Romeo gave Juliet a quick little kisslet on the back of her right shoulder. Her electric response, spinning with acceleration to face him, set off a magnet between them and marked her maturity: never again would she look at a young man and think dollies. A wonderful moment for Ms. Murphy, advancing the story with a flash of pure dance! By the end of the scene that magnet rules even her posture, as she tilts toward his direction.

The Balcony. Dancing as the wind: after so many near misses at kissing, the closest when he kisses his fingers and brushes them across her lips, they finally are left standing, facing each other, a couple of feet apart. There is no choregraphy left to do, so ever so slowly they approach. He pulls her up on pointe, so they are level with each other...

In Act 2, why is it that the letter-bearing nurse cannot tell which of the three guys is Romeo? She's just witnessed a lot of his hassles at the ball. Today, Mercutio danced the mandolin variation, where Benvolio did so on Monday. Surely makes more sense, since Mercutio's death includes miming the playing of a mandolin. (That Mr. Matthews would dance that variation on Monday was announced just prior to Act 2, but his name was also so listed in the printed program, so it could not have been some last moment injury to Mr. Cornejo...? Odd that Mr. Macaulay did not note that irregularity.) Frederic Franklin is again the Friar. His movement and mood is so finely attuned to the score. He really is dancing his role!

I have never seen Gillian Murphy so beautiful as she was in Act 3. She had a sort of resignation in her face, a serenity that was almost as of a Saint, beauty in sorrow. Even after David took his leave, she wasn't totally empty, she had something left. Once she'd returned home with the Friar's potion and tucked it under her pillow, she stood motionless stage left forward. Serene, yet suddenly her hands took force, becoming fists. Energy shot inward, into an accelerating spin toward the bed. To the potion. This mirrored her earlier spin toward Romeo and maturity. This time it was toward all the rest of her life. Gillian told so much of the story with just those two potent turns.

Today, as David Hallberg's Romeo drank his poison, he succeeded in kissing Gillian Murphy goodbye. Later, she brought his hand to her lips, and was gone.

*[Added for correction June 21]: Thanks to Zerbinetta for pointing out that Macaulay was referring to choreography in Act 3, not Act 1

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Yes, it was an impressive debut for Gillian. Being a brilliant technician isn't

enough for this role. It seems the hardest part is conveying thoughts and

emotions by non-movement. After she refuses Paris and her parents leave

her room - her despair turns into resolve as she sits on the edge of the bed.

The music swells and seems to pump strength into her - and it's all in her

facial expression. Acting ability like that can't be taught or coached.

Hallberg doesn't need to act - he embodies Romeo. He was very

solemn during the curtain calls, as if he had suffered all those emotions.

Only Gillian could get a smile from him.

This production is gorgeous - the designer, Nicholas Georgiadis also did

Manon. I hope they never tinker with either one. His Sleeping Beauty for

National Ballet of Canada was the 1st I ever saw and is my gold

standard. That wasn't the version ABT discarded, was it?

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His Sleeping Beauty for National Ballet of Canada was the 1st I ever saw and is my gold standard. That wasn't the version ABT discarded, was it?
No. I liked those SB designs, too. So rich. A friend of mine danced in that production and complained that they weighed a ton (they looked it), but that when Nureyev restaged it for one of the European companies, they'd found a way to give the costumes the same luxe look with fewer pounds. Or maybe it was just the conversion of pounds to kilos. :sweatingbullets:
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Cornejo had been replaced due to injury as far back as Bluebird, so it's likely he agreed to do Mercutio as long as he didn't have to do the Mandolin Dance, which is normally done by Mercutio. Why the company felt the need to announce it prior to Act II when it was listed in the program is a puzzle. He was clearly limping at the curtain call so his injury would seem to persist.

drb, the head-to-toe inspection/rejection of Paris to which MacCaulay referred (the one in the choreography) and the one to which I thought you referred is in Act III, not Act I. She doesn't reject Paris until she's in love with another.

And my vote also to Part for a gorgeous almost but not quite over-the-top Lady C! So musical in every detail. I don't understand how MacCaulay can be so blind (and deaf!) to this woman's magic.

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Cornejo had been replaced due to injury as far back as Bluebird, so it's likely he agreed to do Mercutio as long as he didn't have to do the Mandolin Dance, which is normally done by Mercutio. Why the company felt the need to announce it prior to Act II when it was listed in the program is a puzzle. He was clearly limping at the curtain call so his injury would seem to persist.

drb, the head-to-toe inspection/rejection of Paris to which MacCaulay referred (the one in the choreography) and the one to which I thought you referred is in Act III, not Act I. She doesn't reject Paris until she's in love with another.

And my vote also to Part for a gorgeous almost but not quite over-the-top Lady C! So musical in every detail. I don't understand how MacCaulay can be so blind (and deaf!) to this woman's magic.

Thanks for the explanation, Zerbinetta! Funny Mr. Matthews didn't get an individual call, since he did the work! There certainly have been a lot of injuries this season, unlike past years. Maybe the age factor, using just the same dancers year after year after year. I see Macaulay's review now has a supplemental correction, but for Paris, not for Part. By the way, back when injuries and illness plagued Manon, seeming to force Ferri into four performances, was there no backup Manon if Alessandra hadn't come through?

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Funny Mr. Matthews didn't get an individual call, since he did the work! There certainly have been a lot of injuries this season, unlike past years. Maybe the age factor, using just the same dancers year after year after year.

What I want to know is, is Carlos Lopez really the best second they can find for mercutio?

I found his performance most unsatisfactory. Nothing was stellar. His jumps were leaden, his turns were often off-axis. He may be short like Cornejo, but he has none of his elegance of line.

Does Mercutio have to be short? Can't they find someone better than this??

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I see Macaulay's review now has a supplemental correction, but for Paris, not for Part.

The 'correction' actually makes it worse, doesn't it? Unless ABT really has Paris skipping about with Romeo and Mercutio.

it certainly does!!

NB--it now reads:

On Monday night Angel Corella (Romeo), Herman Cornejo (Mercutio) and Gennadi Saveliev (Paris) — convincing in their “Three Musketeers” camaraderie, heart-catching in the musical timing of their high spirits — danced and acted so vigorously that the ballet regained its youth

It previously read:

On Monday night Angel Corella (Romeo), Herman Cornejo (Mercutio) and Jared Matthews (Paris) — convincing in their “Three Musketeers” camaraderie, heart-catching in the musical timing of their high spirits — danced and acted so vigorously that the ballet regained its youth

Do you think we could get them to correct it a second time? :) Its rather unfortunate for poor Matthews who is clearly the one that Macaulay MEANT to give the nice review to.

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Carlos Lopez sustained an injury serious enough to keep him off the stage for a year. To my eyes, he is not all the way back yet. He is a very musical and charming dancer. Perhaps he will regain form by the fall or next year.

No, he is not a technician the likes of Cornejo but who is?

Curious, though, that Salstein wasn't tapped for a Mercutio.

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