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Romeo and Juliet

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I went to last night's opening performance, starring Diana Vishneva, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo, and, for some extra star value, Freddie Franklin as Friar Laurence and Veronika Part as Lady Capulet. (What is wrong with Stella Abrera???)

This ballet can really have its longeurs, but with the right dancers it's also magical. With Diana and Marcelo (two amazing dancers in their own right), when they dance together, it's like 2+2 = 10. Both are intense, passionate dancers, and they tore up the stage as the young lovers. Both are at this point too mature to really seem like teenagers, but it didn't matter. Marcelo was handsome, passionate, and of course a wonderful partner. I loved his characterization of Romeo as a genuinely sweet young man whose dance with the harlots seemed to be part of his easygoing personality. With Diana, he was magical. The many tricky "moon" lifts in MacMillan's choreography looked absolutely effortless.

Diana's Juliet was passionate, headstrong, and Diana being Diana at the end of the balcony pas de deux she tripped while running up the stairs. But she is the type of dancer who so obviously throws herself into roles that even this accident seemed in character. She ended the act slumped over the balcony, reaching for Marcelo's hands. Diana's Juliet was overtly rude to Paris -- she was NOT INTERESTED! She can seem absolutely boneless, and in the lifts she was like jelly in Marcelo's arms. Swoon. The tomb duet was a highlight of the night. Both of them received loud, long ovations.

Herman Cornejo received huge ovations for his Mercutio. The man is simply a turning machine! Isaac Stapas also was a handsome, menacing Tybalt.

I did the unusual and went to the stage door last night and it's amazing how quiet and even shy dancers are once offstage. And how tiny they are! Veronika Part mentioned that she had danced Giselle in Russia last summer. Does anyone know where she might have danced? (The title role that is.)

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I too was at last night's performance. Vishneva and Gomes were wonderful. I think she works better with Gomes than any of the other previous Romeos I've seen her paired with (Corella and Malhakov). Gomes was a fantastic partner, and handled all the complex lifts marvelously. Gomes drew an arc of development for Romeo. In the beginning, he was a dreamer and did not take important matters seriously. During the initial swordplay at the beginning of the ballet, he was smirking and smiling. As the ballet progresses his acting reveals that he has come to understand the consequences of the hatred between the two families. Vishneva was so fluid, with an ultra flexible back and gorgeous extensions. She was a headstrong Juliet. She always seems to have a minor accident in this ballet. This time it was the stumble up the stairs. Last time (2 or 3 years ago) there was a loud crash when she made a running exit, and she emerged with a slightly bloody leg. During the scene in her bedroom when she is contemplating taking the sleeping potion, she seemed to be channeling the Giselle mad scene. I'm not sure that worked too well, but it was an interesting choice. Having Herman return to his role as Mercutio was luxury casting. Benvolio was danced by C. Lopez. I don't know what's going on with Stella, but it can't be good. She was replaced as Juliet's mother by Part. Stappas was an evil and effective Tybalt. During his death scene he threw himself to the ground for one last chance to lunge at Gomes. Also, he and Part played up their "close relationship" in very nuanced acting during the ball and immediately after it. What can you say about F. Franklin? What an unbelievable life and career. He was heartily applauded during his initial entrance as the Friar. ABT should start auditioning some new brass section players for next year.

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Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed by the end of last night's performance. The last time I watched this production was Ferri's retirement and I absolutely loved it, but last night wasn't very captivating. I'm probably in the very, very small minority because it seemed like everyone around me enjoyed it so my opinion is definitely just my opinion. The dancers are great, I just don't love the production. I'd love to see more dancing from Romeo and Juliet, not from the harlots, not from the many side characters, and definitely not from the sword fighters (enough!!). For me, there were too many corps dancing/parading scenes to make me feel like Romeo and Juliet were truly the main characters. I have read the book and I guess the ballet followed the plot well but it just felt a little dry.

This was also the first time that I watched Diana Vishneva dance with ABT. She is an amazing dancer, but all the arm flailing and running from one end of the stage to the other over and over again became uninteresting and annoying pretty quickly. I did enjoy Marcelo Gomes as Romeo and he seemed to fit the role very well.

Side note/question: I never noticed before but the orchestra doesn't sound as good as they used to. When Juliet was sitting in the center of the stage playing the mandolin in Act I, I thought the violinist hadn't practiced his part at all! I felt the same way watching Swan Lake and Sylvia. It made me really uneasy that section, thinking that he might not make it to the end or something. I should probably listen to a recording of that part..

& I was a little bit astonished by all the people eating noisy foods around me (in the mid-rear orch section). I guess no time for dinner?

I'm going to Thursday's performance as well and hopefully I won't be as cynical then!

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The last time I watched this production was Ferri's retirement and I absolutely loved it, but last night wasn't very captivating.

Although I thought Vishneva did an excellent job, I agree with you that nobody I've seen since Ferri has been her equal in this role. Ferri's performances were always very lyrical and loaded with detail. I noticed in one of ABT's brochures sent to subscribers there was a photo of Ferri coaching Sarah Lane as Juliet, but Ms. Lane isn't cast as Juliet this year. Does anyone know if Ferri coached any of the dancers who are performing Juliet this year?

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Gomes and Vishneva were just beautiful together. Gomes was a fine Romeo, and their partnering and lifts were spectacular. Vishneva seemed to be dancing full-out last night, very impetuous and almost desperate in the way she threw herself into Marcelo's arms. She seems to take more risks with him, which of course produces these amazing performances, but maybe perhaps the stumble too. I drew my breath when she was racing down the stairs at the beginning of the balcony scene... I admire her for putting so much into each performance though, in spite of little mistakes. At least no blood lost this time.

Cornejo's lightness and quickness in the air is marvelous. Veronika Part is a picture perfect Lady Capulet. She's so statuesque and regal! And commanding in those costumes. I had to laugh when someone in our section said, "Wait until he sees her mom!" as Marcelo was watching Diana during the dance of the knights. :crying:

(Ps. is the board acting a little weird for anyone else? I had trouble getting my post to go through)

Pps. Agree about Ferri too. I also like Julie Kent in this role.

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As for Sarah Lane not dancing Juliet - remember that even with Julie Kent on maternity leave, ABT has a glut of principals who dance Juliet. If Xiomara Reyes' ankle injury is not sufficiently healed by this Friday then Sarah may get her chance.

I am so with you on this ballet "sjk" - the harlots and sword fights are interesting the first time you see the ballet and unbelievably tedious on repetition. Luckily Marcelo the Magnificent was onstage during the harlot/street brawl/prancing Veronese peasant sections and so I could just look at him and that helped :wink: I remember a NY Times critic mentioning that this is a ballet that could use some fast-forwarding. Cranko makes some needed musical cuts and his fights and street scenes are not as repetitious as MacMillan's. At a three hour length, I believe the ballet has a longer playing time than the Shakespeare play it is based on and is almost as long as the Gounod opera. I actually am interested in the other casts (Bolle/Dvorovenko, Stearns/Seo, Cornejo/Reyes) but really can't do this ballet more than once a season.

Vishneva I found more lyrical and less wild than previously (I saw her dance it with Corella a few years ago). Similar to her Giselle this season, she has toned down some of the rebellious, over the top coltish quality bringing a lovely delicate femininity to the early ballroom, balcony and marriage scenes and leaving the big dramatics for Act III's bedroom and tomb scene.

Marcelo Gomes as Romeo matched her intensity and gave her a foundation of strength and emotional receptiveness to work off of. He was more than a head taller than his Mercutio and Benvolio (Cornejo and Lopez) and this changed the look of their unison dances. Romeo seemed the natural leader rather than one among equals (or Mercutio's follower/butt of jokes). I think that casting him alongside Jared Matthews and Blaine Hoven would have a very different effect. I don't think the original Mercutio David Blair was that short a dancer.

[bTW: I saw the Ananiashvili farewell Swan, the Part Sylphide and three casts in "Sylvia" but have been busy or on vacation and haven't posted on them yet - anon]

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Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed by the end of last night's performance. The last time I watched this production was Ferri's retirement and I absolutely loved it, but last night wasn't very captivating. I'm probably in the very, very small minority because it seemed like everyone around me enjoyed it so my opinion is definitely just my opinion.

Having been lucky enough to see Ferri and Bocca do Romeo and Juliet several times, I, too agree that they were the best ever and seeing anyone else is always a bit of a disappointment. This is the second time I've seen Vishneva perform Juliet (the first was a few years ago with Malahkov) but I liked her performance less last night than a few years ago. Vishenva seems to model her interpretation on Ferri's but she dances with less reckless abandon and passion than Ferri. While the balcony and bedroom scenes were acceptable, I felt she was just doing steps during a lot of the ballroom scene. Also I thought Vishneva failed to dance with that girlish quality (that Ferri retained up to her final performance) that Juliet is supposed to have, except in the few moments with her nurse.

While Gomes did a fairly good job as Romeo I simply didn't find him interesting to watch and I thought the chemistry with Vishneva wasn't there. I just didn't believe he was a young man passionately in love - I actually found Cornejo far more compelling dramatically than Gomes, even though Mercutio is a secondary role. Compared to Bocca, Gomes also took some shortcuts with the choreography. For instance, in the balcony scene he went into a passe after only a half attitude rear turn instead of doing a whole revolution.

For me, the best part of the evening was Cornejo as Mercutio. His charm and dramatic capabilities seem to get better every year and of course he is wonderful technically.

For those people who never saw Ferri and Bocca perform Romeo and Juliet together or who, like me, regret that a DVD of their full Romeo and Juliet was never released, a documentary titled "Ballet" shows them performing both the balcony and bedroom scenes in Copenhagen in 1990. The documentary, by Fredrick Wiseman, is not available on commercial sites like Amazon but can be purchased through his production company - Zipporah films.

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"This was also the first time that I watched Diana Vishneva dance with ABT. She is an amazing dancer, but all the arm flailing and running from one end of the stage to the other over and over again became uninteresting and annoying pretty quickly."

Thank you, skj, for articulating what I felt during the most supposedly dramatic of Vishneva's scenes. I had attended the dress rehearsal in the afternoon, and was totally captivated by Dvorovenko's first act (and Dvorovenko is not a dancer I've been particularly enamored of--now I feel I must see her again and perhaps alter my opinion), during which she was totally believable as an impetuous, adorable teenager. And such gorgeous legs and feet! And so lyrical in the balcony scene! Having been won over by her performance in rehearsal, at first I thought it was just a matter of finding it difficult to detach from her and bond with Vishneva. But it's good to know that my feelings are shared by others, and I did feel that Vishneva was not convincing as a teenager and was "over-the-top" in her attempt to communicate Juliet's despair. Both Dvorovenko and Seo, at the dress rehearsal, managed to do it wonderfully, without the histrionics. (On the other hand, for you psychologists out there, it was clear that neither Romeo nor Juliet had mastered affect regulation--and no wonder, given the parental and environmental input.)

Interestingly, I thought that Hee Seo, also seen in dress rehearsal, was excellent. She displayed just the right degree of emotion coupled with the right amount of exquisite dancing. What a marvel! She is shown in the booklet as a member of the corps de ballet, and she has, to my mind deservingly, sky-rocketed to the top.

I thought that Gomes was wonderful, especially in the balcony scene, where it seemed to me that the audience no longer existed for him, that he was dancing only for Juliet, and that his dancing said, over and over, with every turn and every perfectly placed balance, "I love you." I thought to myself "This is the year of Marcelo Gomes."

But bring Cornejo out on the stage and you can't take your eyes off him, he is always so charming and engaging. His dancing appears so effortless, it is as if he can do absolutely anything (you want 10 pirouettes? okay, here we go), and it is always such a joy to watch him. In some ways, he stole the show.

I agree that there were too many harlot scenes and too much sword fighting. At the same time, I was impressed with the teaching and rehearsing that went into making this production such a spectacle. But where were the elephants?

And the orchestra definitely needs to replace the French horn player, at the very least. During the most intense moment of the marriage ceremony, the French horn has a solo passage, and the notes came out flat and broken. It was jarring and ruined the moment. I know the French horn is an extremely difficult instrument, and I feel bad for the player, who may well feel bad him/herself, but there must be certain minimum standards--like playing the key passages on pitch and unbroken.

There was a woman in the ladies room telling another woman that she was going to be attending five more performances of R&J this week. I admire her stamina.


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Before I talk about last night's performance of "Romeo and Juliet", I just want to say that I love reading the diverse opinions on this board. What moves one poster leaves another cold and both analyses are interesting and valid.

Anyway, put me down on the pro Vishneva and Gomes team. For me, Vishneva's wild, girlish energy and abandon were perfectly suited to the role of Juliet and MacMillan's choreography. During her pas de deux with Paris in the ballroom scene, I thought of Shakespeare's line- "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright." Vishneva's Juliet grew from a child into a young girl passionately in love and then finally into a woman choosing her own path, even if it leads to death.

She was more than matched by Marcelo Gomes as her Romeo. Is it just me or is he dancing better than ever this season? He radiated warmth and love onstage. I love to watch the moment after Mercutio's death when Romeo decides to figh Tybalt. For Gomes' Romeo, it was a moral choice- he grabbed the sword decisively, wiped the blade, and moved menacingly towards Tybalt.

Herman Cornejo's witty Mercutio with his miraculous pirouettes and the gorgeous Lady Capulet of Veronika Part rounded off a great evening in the theatre.

On a side note, I have tried to love Alessandra Ferri's Juliet. I was at her farewell performance with Roberto Bolle, and I've seen the two recordings at Covent Garden. I think I'm the only ballet viewer that finds her Juliet contrived. Oh well :wink:

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I was also at last night's Vishneva/Gomes "Romeo & Juliet." I agree with many of the posts here that some of the harlot scenes and the sword-fighting got a little dull, and I wasn't feeling entirely captivated by the ballet until Act III.

I am a big Diana-Marcelo fan, and by the end, I enjoyed them immensely. But it took a while to get there. I saw their Balcony pas de deux at the Opening Night gala and was absolutely enthralled (in fact, that performance impressed me so much that I changed my ticket to fly back to NYC early just so I could see their R&J). Last night, however, I was a little disappointed. Perhaps I was remembering Diana/Marcelo's luxuriously slow White Swan pas de deux, but I found myself wishing that they used a slower tempo - I felt like I didn't get to savor the moments as much as I would have liked.

I know that other posters find Vishneva to be a bit histrionic, but I found her and Marcelo to be utterly convincing in Act III, and I felt quite satisfied by the end. Judging by the final bows/curtain calls, it seemed like Diana and Marcelo enjoyed dancing together as well. The lady sitting next to me pointed out Marcelo's teacher Silvana (from Brazil) in the audience, and later informed me that Marcelo's mother was also there; she had just flown in to see the performance. Hopefully they enjoyed it!

As for the others - I heartily enjoyed Herman as Mercutio: fabulous, simply fabulous. I was also quite moved by Veronika's Lady Capulet.

Overall, this was my first season to see Diana Vishneva, and I was wholeheartedly impressed. I also adore the Diana-Marcelo partnership and can't wait to see them next season!

canbelto - Where is the stage door located? I might try to see the dancers the next time I go!

angelica - Your description of Irina's Juliet makes me very excited to see her on Saturday! But I'm going to have to try my best not to nod off during more of the harlot scenes...

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I loved the cast Monday night. Cornejo was terrific as usual. His dancing is great artistry not just technical wizardry and that's not good news for the other men who have to dance alongside him. Nonetheless, Gomes was also impressive and grew stronger over the course of the performance, especially in his dancing with Juliet. The balcony scene was impressive and I thought Vishneva's interpretation was fine. I have never seen a Juliet appear so convincingly lifeless in the final scene. But I must echo the dismay of other posters at the lack of imagination in the choreography. I don't think I can watch this version again. Most of the choreography for Romeo and Juliet tends to look like an amusement park ride after a while with Romeo endlessly swinging Juliet around like a sack of potatoes. And that's some of the best choreography. Watching a Mercutio of Cornejo's calibre is especially frustrating. The music for his fight with Tybalt is so wonderful, full of interesting transitions, and all MacMillan can think to have him do is clank swords. The market scenes are just a mess. Compared to the ordered richness of the final act of Sylvia I saw last week, MacMillan's choreography is just chaos. Part was terrifically expansive in her Lady Capulet but at the end of the second act her chest thumping went on for an eternity. But it's hardly her fault. What a shame Ashton's version is so rarely staged.

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Just back from Dvorovenko/Bolle. I thought I'd be disappointed seeing Dvorovenko the night after Vishneva, and I absolutely was until Act III which was brilliant. I'm confused about the whole thing, she did such a turnaround. Roberto Bolle was noble, gallant, gorgeous! I got him finally... I understand. Act II was almost boring tonight, enough with the swordfighting. They could at least use metal instead of plastic swords. They sound like plastic anyway-- clink clink clink. About half the crowd stayed for curtain calls, but the ones in their seats were rapturous, lots of flying bouquets! A lot more than last night. Anna Wintour and Natalia Vodianova were in the audience. I'm still excited I saw Vodianova in person, wow.

Alright, Irina was odd. In the first act, she was almost cartoonish...like watching mime, Charlie Chaplin. Every gesture was rehearsed, every eyebrow lift. She seemed totally without sincerity or feeling. Her performance as a young girl was so postured. I think Irina looks like Lucille Ball, and that didn't help (not that both women aren't totally beautiful). I kept thinking of Lucy...really... I usually love Irina for her superlative technique, despite some kitsch acting sometimes, but I didn't think she looked so special in the first act after what I saw yesterday. In the balcony pdd, when Bolle lifted her upside down and draped her down his body, she froze for three seconds beaming a smile at the audience. I don't know. And then, here's the big HOWEVER... she came out in the third act another dancer. She was divine...inspired! Like she just threw the kitsch (kitrisch ha) out the window and came out as Juliet.

A big difference from Vishneva... Diana was so passionate and near desperation; she started out a very sweet character but become lost, out of control. Her acting was so consuming and, to the viewer, spellbinding. Watching her dance with Marcelo felt like watching something private, it was so vivid to her, and she danced with such urgency. I felt like there was a great change in her character, a total shift from safety to near madness.

Dvorovenko was really different. She was a gentler Juliet, much more innocent throughout the ballet and more in control of herself. She showed emotions but wasn't consumed by them. I don't mean that in a negative way, only that she interpreted things differently. For example, when she woke up in the tomb her Juliet was alarmed but not hysterical, nervously exploring her surroundings, while Vishneva ran violently around the catacombs, flailing her arms. Dancing with Bolle, Irina did not throw herself toward him, but showed softer, slower lifts, much gentler. The death scenes were also quite different in the tombs. Diana made it to the bed quickly and spent a long time holding and caressing Marcelo's hands, while Irina chose to hold her wound as she slowly made it back over to Bolle. After just touching his hand, she died. I love seeing these divergent interpretations.

I saw Irina in Giselle last year, and I saw something similar... overacted Act I and a beautiful wili later. Maybe she does better with a darker character. Tonight I was so put off during the first intermission, and I walked out so impressed. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed and then drawn in a moment later by a ballerina in one ballet.

Bolle was a dream. Romeo really is his best role. I especially liked his mandolin dance. He's so smooth, big soft smooth turns and flowing jumps, poetry! He danced so beautifully with Irina; he's such a good partner. Craig Salstein was Mercutio. He slipped on a few of his turns, certainly not up to the technical level of Cornejo last night but he was comical and playful with the crowd, at one point tossing his mandolin so high it fell to the ground about five feet behind the dancer who was supposed to catch it. He did have some nice jumps. Kristi Boone was a commanding Lady Capulet with fierce facial expressions. She is not so strong as Veronika, however, lacking power in her motions. I probably would have thought she was fine had I not seen gorgeous VP last night who had such superb emotional power.

Stella Abrera was supposed to play a harlot tonight but was replaced by Simone Messmer. I liked Messmer, especially flashing her underwear at Lady Capulet, ha!

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Vodianova is a Russian supermodel, one of the most famous models in the world. She was born into poverty but became an international phenomenon as a teenager.



Two more little things I wanted to mention about the ballet:

In Act iii, when Roberto first woke up in Juliet's room, it was so endearing how he stroked and kissed Irina's face before getting out of bed. The bed is set kind of far back on the stage, and he turned on his side to show these gestures to the audience. Later in the tomb scene, I loved how Irina really started to cry; I forgot she can do this on stage. They were very sweet and had a lot of chemistry, especially during the bedroom pdd, and more so than in Act I.

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I attended the Irina-Roberto R&J last night. I was so put off by Irina's over-acting that I left at the second intermission. During her initial scene where she is playing with a doll and the nurse, her over-the-top I'm such a cute young girl routine really put me off. Nothing was realistic. As noted above, every movement was overly calculated and was phoney. When the Nurse touches Juliet's chest at the end of the scene, most of the Juliets act either surprised or perplexed. Irina flashed us a wide grin. She was not the reserved and shy Juliet in the ballroom scene. She loved being the center of attention. In fact, it's possible that Irina's Juliet is so extroverted that she called Anna Wintour in the hope that her engagement to Paris might make the cover story of Italian Vogue. Her over acted presentation was completely at odds with Roberto Bolle's understated, naturalisitic acting. He was totally believable as a young man in love. To her credit, in the balcony scene Irina displayed beautiful line and gorgeous flexibility. However, there was no sense of abandon. Bolle's dancing was gorgeous in the balcony scene At the end of the scene, when he and Juliet kissed, he looked completely intoxicated with love for Juliet. F. Franklin was the Friar once again, and received a warm round of applause. I didn't think tha Saviliev was terribly menacing as Tybalt. He was better as Paris on Mon evening. Roberto treated the audience to beautiful jumps in the Mandolin scene. Salstein had an off night as Mercutio. His dancing was sloppy and as one poster noted above, Benvolio (Jared Matthews) failed to catch the mandolin that Craig threw. It landed with a thud on the stage, and the audience laughed. Meanwhile, I think that threw Salstein's concentration off. When Bolle kills Tybalt, it is more out of grief than a calculated moral choice (which is how Gomes played it on Monday). Kristi Boone was fine as Lady Capulet, but nowhere near as enthralling as Part on Monday. As much as I love watching Roberto Bolle dance, I decided that I had enough of Irina's Juliet and left at the second intermission. I'm glad to hear that she improved in the last act. By the way, I'm guessing that the women who are playing the nurse this year are lining up to perform on the night that Roberto is Romeo, so that they can get a big kiss from Roberto in the scene after he reads the letter from Juliet. Do they need any volunteers to play the Nurse? Ha Ha. Just kidding.

Edit to add: Audience misbehavior with electronic devices reached a new level last night, when someone in a dress circle box had his laptop open and operating during the overture. The entire auditorium was dark, except for the blue light from his laptop shining on him. If you don't want to pay attention, stay home!

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I've never seen ABT's Romeo and Juliet and am really excited to see it on Sat. afternoon.

Ballet Talk's Leigh Witchel has a fine review of Gomes and Vishneva in the NY Post today.

I'm not providing a link because I think that's something that the moderators do (but you can always go on www.nypost.com and then hit


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I noticed in one of ABT's brochures sent to subscribers there was a photo of Ferri coaching Sarah Lane as Juliet, but Ms. Lane isn't cast as Juliet this year. Does anyone know if Ferri coached any of the dancers who are performing Juliet this year?

Maybe this coaching was part of the LEONORE ANNENBERG award that S. Lane & M. Copeland won. I read somewhere that Copeland was being coached by various people as part of the award. I assume Lane is also. If so what a great use of time & talent to have Ferri coach you in R&J. If not does anyone know how Lane is using the award?

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I didn't see Gomes & Herrera, but I did see the matinee -- Hallberg & Murphy. I meant to post earlier, but at this point in the season, after 25ish performances in such a short period of time, I start to get a little tipsy on ballet, if that's possible. It all starts to blur together and feel good, but overwhelming. In this case, I was intoxicated by the blondness and beauty of David Hallberg. Murphy was good too, I think -- but I was mesmerized by Hallberg.

I like the ballet more than I did before. I know that's counter to everything everyone has been posting. It definitely gets long, especially the last act, and I would not object to more dancing, as opposed to posing. But I found it quite beautiful. I love the "pas de trois" with Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio. And the music is magnificent and sweeping. It swept me right up, that and Hallberg, into a state of ballet ecstasy. Tonight, my final performance of the season: Seo and Stearns. I'm sure Veronika Part has had enough of Lady Capulet, but I hope she's on tonight!

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I was also at the Wed. matinee, and very much enjoyed Murphy and Hallberg. The balcony and bedroom PDDs were heart stopping. The three harlots, Isebella Boylston, Simone Messmer, and Sasha Dmochowski were terrific.

With the exception of the final fight between Romeo and Tybalt (Patrick Ogle)

I found the sword fighting lacked excitement. It looked like the dancers in the large group fight were moving through meaningless choreographed positions, set to counts and basically phoning it in. Hallberg and Ogle managed to infuse their's with dramatic motivation, create tension, and make it look spontaneous.

I noticed the next night's juliet, Hee Seo, was listed in the huge corps of ballroom guests and townspeople. I hope the poor woman had some time to rehearse!

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Did anyone see Paloma and Gomes perform RJ last night?

I saw Paloma and Marcelo on Wed. A lot has already been said about Marcelo's excellent Romeo, so I won't repeat that. Paloma gave a very good performance. I think Marcelo brings the best out of her. She was believable and sweet as the child-like girl in the first scene. She was appropriately shy in the ballroom scene. Her line and extension were exquisite in the balcony and bedroom scenes. She doesn't have the dramatic presence of a Vishneva or a Ferri, but she did well enough. Stella was Lady Capulet. I prefer Part in the role, but Stella was fine. Simkin was Benvolio, and Lopez was Mercutio. The synchronization when they danced together or with Gomes was frequently off. Individually, the each danced extremely well. Stappas repeated his role as Tybalt.

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In the interest of promptness, I will report that Stearns acquitted himself admirably and Seo scored an unqualified triumph in their shared New York debut (having performed the role a few months ago in Detroit). Bravi! I will edit this post to flesh out the evening, which was special for other reasons.

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