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Romeo and Juliet


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I attended Thursday evening performance.

Gomes returned as a lyrical Romeo. I don’t know why, and just thought he might have three different version of Romeo, displaying it each night, according to his different Juliet - If so, I am really curious to see what his Romeo will look like with Vishneva. I imagine it will be somewhat wilder than last night’s romantic one. What a beauty of a performing art.

Herrera was affable, and they were a good, romantic couple. But, I wanted to see more. I wished to see her growing into a woman, and to see a flame in their love. She didn’t transform much, and their love had a scent of friendship, while I hope they add a little more passion to their romance.

In the first Act, Gomes’s Romeo was appropriately cheerful with his friends and harlots, shy and even foolish with Rosaline, and ardent with Juliet. I don’t know what he changed and how, but he didn’t seem offensively flamboyant in various Romeo trio dance scenes. He looked just easygoing and merry, and his long arms regained the grace and beauty I love. It was a delight to see the conveyance of totally different expressions possible by the same person, with the same movement. Seeing a ballet becomes funny.

At the second row of the first floor, I could see such carefree Romeo did hardly finish the mime to Rosaline, “you are beautiful tonight”. When he barely made it after several attempts, he was rejected immediately. His Romeo reminded me of Armand who first met Margeurite.

When Romeo danced with Juliet at the ball, I suspected for a minute a special lighting was used for the couple, a brighter and softer one. But, at the same time, I missed Seo’s long legs, and her dancing possessing musicality and sensuality.

Romeo transformed slowly throughout the second Act. He didn’t actively play with the harlots at the first market scene of the second act. He rejected the aggressive harlot more sternly, and gave her only a cheek kiss. When he found Tybalt and Mercutio fighting again, after the wedding, he looked anxious, unlike the first act. Such steadily gained but imperfect maturity intensified the tragedy of his killing of Tybalt.

Last night, Romeo trio maintained more equality than Monday, mainly because of more similar height among them. With that small change, they became more convincing friends. When the friendship was built solidly, I could notice Mercutio’s curse on Tybalt and his maybe best friend, Romeo, which came to me as a shock. Wasn’t it he himself that caused his early death? Friends often mean everything to a boy, and really something to everyone. His betrayal at his death revealed the weakness of human, with a sharp contrast with Juliet’s love, Juliet’s decision to risk her life. Also, I thought if Mercutio could act powerfully enough, his curse really can bring an instant madness to the performance, and he can dominate the story. If not, it becomes Romeo's turn.

In the third act, I missed Kent more than I missed Seo in the first act. When Juliet had to dance with Paris, Kent repeatedly and desperately reached her arm toward the window, where Romeo escaped, effectively showing how much she missed him, and that she was rejecting Paris because she loved Romeo, not just because she didn’t love Paris. Other Juliets acted/danced more modestly, so I couldn’t feel their love. When Juliet pretended to consent to marry, Kent folded her body drastically and remained such for a while, so I could see that she knew what that meant, i.e., she finally accepted the risk of her life. Other Juliets just nodded sadly. Her physically so vulnerable appearance was a sharp contrast with her courageous decision, thus demonstrated the depth and power of love. Only when Kent danced, the green shawl she wore at the wedding gained vitality during the third act at her realm of tragedy.

Gomes was not a horse :) His lifts were not effortless as perfectly as Monday. On the one hand, I came to know what kind of esthetic beauty an effortless lift may have, on the other hand, how the slight vulnerability which he rarely displays can make the love (and his acting) look more real.

I liked the way Kent notifies her wake-up from the death-like sleep. Gomes took the vial, holding the right arm of his Juliet, so that her arm remained hanging from the bed to the floor when he fell. Then, Juliet’s arm moves slowly. Other Juliets notified it by big breathing and turning over. Kent and Herrera’s way of wake-up seemed more poetic and Kent did it more beautifully (It looked like that Herrera was not laid at the right place because her arm was hanging obliquely, while Kent, straight to the floor). Actually, there was nothing breaking the silent tragedy and beauty in the third act of Monday’s performance, now I realize.

Hammoudi was the most satisfactory Paris so far. I saw him on Wednesday matinee and Thursday evening. He was tall, handsome, really seemed to have everything, but a heart, so I can easily tell what Juliet wants, a real love. Further, he attacked Romeo first at the tomb, so Romeo’s killing him was somewhat justifiable, though I still want it omitted. Three deaths in one scene were too much.

After seeing four Juliets, each of whom has her own strength, I currently like Kent most, and I am curious how it will change after Saturday. Also, with the help of opera glass, I hope to appreciate Hallberg well enough on Saturday (Tuesday evening, I recklessly didn't borrow the glass, and couldn't see him well from the G row). It's quite sad the met season is ending.

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I attended Thursday evening performance.

Gomes returned as a lyrical Romeo. I don’t know why, and just thought he might have three different version of Romeo, displaying it each night, according to his different Juliet - If so, I am really curious to see what his Romeo will look like with Vishneva. I imagine it will be somewhat wilder than last night’s romantic one. What a beauty of a performing art.

Herrera was affable, and they were a good, romantic couple. But, I wanted to see more. I wished to see her growing into a woman, and to see a flame in their love. She didn’t transform much, and their love had a scent of friendship, while I hope they add a little more passion to their romance.

In the first Act, Gomes’s Romeo was appropriately cheerful with his friends and harlots, shy and even foolish with Rosaline, and ardent with Juliet. I don’t know what he changed and how, but he didn’t seem offensively flamboyant in various Romeo trio dance scenes. He looked just easygoing and merry, and his long arms regained the grace and beauty I love.

At the second row of the first floor, I could clearly see such carefree Romeo did hardly finish the mime to Rosaline, “you are beautiful tonight”. When he barely made it after several attempts, he was rejected immediately. His Romeo reminded me of Armand who first met Margeurite.

When Romeo danced with Juliet at the ball, I suspected for a minute a special lighting was used for the couple, a brighter and softer one. But, at the same time, I missed Seo’s long legs, and her dancing possessing musicality and sensuality.

Romeo transformed slowly throughout the second Act. He didn’t actively play with the harlots at the first market scene of the second act. He rejected the aggressive harlot more sternly, and gave her only a cheek kiss. When he found Tybalt and Mercutio fighting again, after the wedding, he looked anxious, unlike the first act. Such steadily gained but imperfect maturity intensified the tragedy of his killing of Tybalt.

Last night, Romeo trio maintained more equality than Monday, mainly because of more similar height among them. With that small change, they became more convincing friends. When the friendship was built solidly, I could notice Mercutio’s curse on Tybalt and his maybe best friend, Romeo, which was a shock. Wasn’t it he himself that caused his early death? Friends often mean everything to a boy, and really something to everyone. His betrayal at his death revealed the weakness of human, with a sharp contrast with Juliet’s love, Juliet’s decision to risk her life. Also, I thought if Mercutio could act powerfully enough, his curse really can bring an instant madness to the performance, and he can dominate the story. If not, it becomes Romeo's turn.

In the third act, I missed Kent more than I missed Seo in the first act. When Juliet had to dance with Paris, Kent repeatedly and desperately reached her arm toward the window, where Romeo escaped, effectively showing how much she missed him, and that she was rejecting Paris because she loved Romeo, not just because she didn’t love Paris. Other Juliets acted/danced more modestly, so I couldn’t feel their love. When Juliet pretended to consent to marry, Kent folded her body drastically and remained such for a while, so I could see that she knew what that meant, i.e., she finally accepted the risk of her life. Other Juliets just nodded sadly. Her physically so vulnerable appearance was a sharp contrast with her courageous decision, thus demonstrated the depth and power of love. Only when Kent danced, the green shawl she wore at the wedding gained vitality during the third act at her realm of tragedy.

Gomes was not a horse :) His lifts were not effortless as perfectly as Monday. On the one hand, I came to know what kind of esthetic beauty an effortless lift may have, on the other hand, how the slight vulnerability which he rarely displays can make the love (and his acting) look more real.

I liked the way Kent notifies her wake-up from the death-like sleep. Gomes took the vial, holding the right arm of his Juliet, so that her arm remained hanging from the bed to the floor when he fell. Then, Juliet’s arm moves slowly. Other Juliets notified it by big breathing and turning over. Kent and Herrera’s way of wake-up seemed more poetic and Kent did it more beautifully (It looked like that Herrera was not laid at the right place because her arm was hanging obliquely, while Kent, straight to the floor). Actually, there was nothing breaking the silent tragedy and beauty in the third act of Monday’s performance, now I realize.

Hammoudi was the most satisfactory Paris so far. I saw him on Wednesday matinee and Thursday evening. He was tall, handsome, really seemed to have everything, but a heart, so I can easily tell what Juliet wants, a real love. Further, he attacked Romeo first at the tomb, so Romeo’s killing him was somewhat justifiable, though I still want it omitted. Three deaths in one scene were too much.

After seeing four Juliets, I currently like Kent most, and I am curious how it will change after Saturday. Also, with the help of opera glass, I hope to appreciate Hallberg well enough on Saturday (Tuesday evening, I recklessly didn't borrow the glass, and couldn't see him well from the G row). It's quite sad the met season is ending.

Congratulation for such a lovely, thorough review. I wish you would also review the Seo-Stearns R and J. Thanks.
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bingham - thank you very much. I enjoyed their performance very much (I was moved to tears at the ending scene), and at the same time, thought a little about whether the youth is really important in MacMillan's R and J. I want to write about them later, maybe with more focus on Seo, simply because I was able to sit at the first row during the third act when Romeo didn't do much dancing, compared to Juliet.

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So far, I've seen the R&Js on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Unfortunately, none of the performances were at the same level as those we used to see regularly from Ferri and Bocca. I have high hopes for Osipova, too, since she was coached by Ferri. I thought overall Julie Kent was the most effective of the Juliets in the way she used her limbs and the flexibility of her upper body. Kent's performance was also very detailed, as in the use use of her hands (discussed above). My favorite Romeo to date in this run has been Hallberg. I agree with all the praise of him that was discussed above regarding his gorgeous line. Gomes is very good, but his classical technique is not at the same level as Hallberg's. None of the Mercutio casts came close to matching Herman Cornejo. I thought Paloma's performance was inattentive to details which help develop character. Murphy was fine, but not particularly memorable. My favorite Tybalt was Stappas last night. He was the most effective in conveying the hatred between the two families.

I was having a conversation with a friend at intermission regarding the reason that Juliet's mother is so distraught over Tybalt's death. I recall reading a review many years ago in which Anna Kisselgoff (I think) indicated that the ABT production intimates that an affair is taking place between Juliet's mother and Tybalt. I had never noticed this before reading that review, but as I have paid closer attention over subsequent viewings I realize the validity of Kisselgoff's comment. (I don't recall any such relationship intimated in the play.) Any comments on that point?

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Re Lady Capulet's anguish at Tybalt's death, I think the Sex! angle is something that's in a lot of recent productions. Neumeier's makes Lord Capulet impotent (I'm told) and therefore lady C turns for comfort and good times to Tybalt. ( Shakespeare might have been more highly regarded had he only thought of this....) I don't remember it being as obvious in the MacMillan, but there's at least a whiff of it.

I think the point in the play was that Tybalt was the last male Capulet, and she's mourning him as a dearly loved nephew as well as for the death of the Capulet name, and I think that today's dancers/coaches perhaps don't understand that.

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I was having a conversation with a friend at intermission regarding the reason that Juliet's mother is so distraught over Tybalt's death. I recall reading a review many years ago in which Anna Kisselgoff (I think) indicated that the ABT production intimates that an affair is taking place between Juliet's mother and Tybalt. I had never noticed this before reading that review, but as I have paid closer attention over subsequent viewings I realize the validity of Kisselgoff's comment. (I don't recall any such relationship intimated in the play.) Any comments on that point?
The idea that Lady Capulet has been sexually involved with Tybalt is, I think, a fairly common one. We've discussed it here before on Ballet Talk, but I wasn't able to find it after a quick Search. Maybe someone else will have better luck finding it.

There are several reasons for this interpretation. First of all, it is stated in the play that Lady Capulet was herself a child bride. Juliet is "not fourteen." Lady C tells her earlier in the play: "By my count, I was your mother much upon these years That you are now a maid.") Her husband is much older. Tybalt, whose age is not given, could easily have been Lady C's contemporary.

And then there is explosion of grief and rage when she learns of Tybalt's death. (III. 1) It's effective because it's so unexpected. Earlier in the story, when Lady C is urging Juliet to marry Paris (i. 3), we see her becoming very angry at Juiet's reluctance to wed, so we have a certain amount of warning of the passions that lie within the character. However, this earlier outburst is underplayed in the MacMillan and other versions of the ballet that I've seen.

Of course it is also possible that she is mourning the loss of the last male Capulet. There's nothing to deny this motivation in the text; nor is there anything to support it. There is a problem, however, with turning this into Lady Capulet's major motivation: how do you dance such a feeling?

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abatt - I didn't notice that in this MacMillan version, ABT production, even though I knew about that. The idea is also included in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Romeo and Julliet, which I saw in 2002. Though I cannot remember now whether they have any scene directly hinting their relationship, the furious wrath and grief of Juliet's mother successfully made it understood. She had a more sensual character, and, as far as I remember, she danced with Tybalt at the ball. Lord Capulet doesn't exist in that version.

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I think the point in the play was that Tybalt was the last male Capulet, and she's mourning him as a dearly loved nephew as well as for the death of the Capulet name, and I think that today's dancers/coaches perhaps don't understand that.

Thanks for this. It sounds interesting, and makes Mercutio's curse more significant.

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abatt - I didn't notice that in this MacMillan version, ABT production, even though I knew about that. The idea is also included in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Romeo and Julliet, which I saw in 2002. Though I cannot remember now whether they have any scene directly hinting their relationship, the furious wrath and grief of Juliet's mother successfully made it understood. She had a more sensual character, and, as far as I remember, she danced with Tybalt at the ball. Lord Capulet doesn't exist in that version.

You remembered well. There's a ballroom scene in the Maillot where, instead of everyone dancing, there are three couples: Romeo and Rosalind, Juliet and Paris, and Lady Capulet and Tybalt. It's a trio of couples who are communicating stealthily in the midst of a crowd; having them amidst the crowd would have made it very difficult to see.

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I recall Maillot's version was for the Monte Carlo Ballet, a smaller company. I've seen them do stripped down but always provocative versions of Sleeping Beautyi(La Belle) as well as R&J. Here is Maillot speaking about the ballroom scene that Helene describes:

"For example, the corps de ballet in both Cranko's and MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet has no business being there; I don't want people dancing around behind my principals just to look nice. I've danced Cranko's version, and know he was never interested by the work of the corps de ballet. They don't exist for themselves in Macmillan's work either, but as a background for Romeo and Juliet."

[ ... ]

He presents a "purified" version, bereft of all (false) sentiment or romanticism. There is no poison, there are no swords, the decor with luminous white panels is resolutely modern and abstract, and all but a hint of the Renaissance is banished from the stage. To explain this stripping of our dreams, mine at least, Maillot says he wanted to make it relevant to today , but what he's saying is that he's reduced passion to the values of Monte-Carlo.

http://www.cultureki...nter/rhemc.html

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You remembered well. There's a ballroom scene in the Maillot where, instead of everyone dancing, there are three couples: Romeo and Rosalind, Juliet and Paris, and Lady Capulet and Tybalt. It's a trio of couples who are communicating stealthily in the midst of a crowd; having them amidst the crowd would have made it very difficult to see.

Glad to see someone who knows that production. It's my favorite, and I really want to see it again. I love the simplicity of the stage in that production. At first, I expected to see something similar to that stage in the MacMillan's R&J, too, or, at least, something like Lady of Camellias's. So, Monday evening performance astonished me in many ways, i.e., a distracting stage and an unexpected Romeo.

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Hallberg recently tweeted: "I am surprisingly emotional about tomorrows show. The last of the seasons yet a debut for natasha osipova. A beautiful moment to relish!" [Natasha is a nickname for Natalia]

I can't wait until tomorrow -- :sweatingbullets:

By the way, for people attending tomorrow's double-header, Bar Boulud across the street from Lincoln Center currently offers a 1/2 dozen oysters with a glass of wine, all for $16, during a limited portion of the second half of the afternoon every day. I vaguely recall the time period is 4-6 pm, but I'm not sure. Please check and do not just rely on this description, if you decide to go. I haven't yet sampled this deal.

What do other members typically do between the two performances on a given day, if they remain in the Lincoln Center area?

Separately, I've been reviewing the Balanchine/Mason description of Kenneth MacMillan's production of R&J in "101 Stories of the Great Ballets". Here are some things I noted from the description:

-- "Juliet runs in and we are reminded at once that this girl who will become a tragic figure is at heart a child of fourteen." Is Juliet supposed to be 14 years old in this ballet?

-- "When the Capulets and Paris leave, Juliet wants to resume her play with the doll, but the nurse points out that her childhood is over, that she is a young woman now, about to be beloved. Juliet clutches her heart." More obviously when Kent performed this scene, but also when Gillian performed it, the ballerina let go of the rag doll and then seems to use both hands to clutch her bosom. It did not seem like they were clutching their heart to me, because the heart is off center and both ballerinas used each hand to clutch evenly. I did not like their interpretation, which leaves open the possibility of a more sexual interpretation.

-- On the Montague trio's dance outside the gates of the Capulet castle, before the ball: "he and his friends dance a vigorous, high-spirited pas de trois...."

-- On Mercutio dying: "Mercutio staggers. He still tries to fight, but dies with gaiety, his sword becoming for a moment his guitar as he plays his own lament."

-- When Tybalt is killed, "Lady capulet holds the body of her nephew, swaying back and forth in her grief as her husband watches helplessly."

-- On Juliet deliberating whether to take the sleeping potion: "Shes goes to the bed for the phial, but is frightened at the possible consequences of taking it. Suppose she will really die? what if the potion does not work at all and she is compelled to marry Paris anyway?..."

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The idea that Lady Capulet has been sexually involved with Tybalt is, I think, a fairly common one. We've discussed it here before on Ballet Talk, but I wasn't able to find it after a quick Search. Maybe someone else will have better luck finding it.

There are several reasons for this interpretation. First of all, it is stated in the play that Lady Capulet was herself a child bride. Juliet is "not fourteen." Lady C tells her earlier in the play: "By my count, I was your mother much upon these years That you are now a maid.") Her husband is much older. Tybalt, whose age is not given, could easily have been Lady C's contemporary.

And then there is explosion of grief and rage when she learns of Tybalt's death. (III. 1) It's effective because it's so unexpected. Earlier in the story, when Lady C is urging Juliet to marry Paris (i. 3), we see her becoming very angry at Juiet's reluctance to wed, so we have a certain amount of warning of the passions that lie within the character. However, this earlier outburst is underplayed in the MacMillan and other versions of the ballet that I've seen.

Of course it is also possible that she is mourning the loss of the last male Capulet. There's nothing to deny this motivation in the text; nor is there anything to support it.There is a problem, however, with turning this into Lady Capulet's major motivation: how do you dance such a feeling?

Zefferelli also hinted at a relationship between Lady C and Tybalt in his film. As bart mentions above,

1) There is Lady C's line with the Nurse, and in the film, her sour expression/frown as she says it and a consequent knowing reaction by the Nurse.

2) Lady C's impassioned pleas to the Prince after Tybalt is killed,

But I also think there is a strong intimation of the relationship in the ballroom scene, (moreso in this film than is written in the play) when Lady C admonishes her arguing men...

3) I believe the line is: "...or for shame I'll make you quiet". Usually it is delivered to Tybalt who has caused a disturbance by exhorting Lord C to expose/eject Romeo. But in this case, there is a pause in Lady C's delivery and she distinctly addresses the line to her husband. A possible hint to him to 'be quiet, or else I will announce past indescretions (by her with Tybalt, or Lord C with ?) and shame you.'

Sorry this is all OT from ABT's performance. I'll try to be better after I see it this season.

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Hallberg recently tweeted: "I am surprisingly emotional about tomorrows show. The last of the seasons yet a debut for natasha osipova. A beautiful moment to relish!" [Natasha is a nickname for Natalia]

I can't wait until tomorrow -- :sweatingbullets:

By the way, for people attending tomorrow's double-header, Bar Boulud across the street from Lincoln Center currently offers a 1/2 dozen oysters with a glass of wine, all for $16, during a limited portion of the second half of the afternoon every day. I vaguely recall the time period is 4-6 pm, but I'm not sure. Please check and do not just rely on this description, if you decide to go. I haven't yet sampled this deal.

What do other members typically do between the two performances on a given day, if they remain in the Lincoln Center area?

Separately, I've been reviewing the Balanchine/Mason description of Kenneth MacMillan's production of R&J in "101 Stories of the Great Ballets". Here are some things I noted from the description:

-- "Juliet runs in and we are reminded at once that this girl who will become a tragic figure is at heart a child of fourteen." Is Juliet supposed to be 14 years old in this ballet?

-- "When the Capulets and Paris leave, Juliet wants to resume her play with the doll, but the nurse points out that her childhood is over, that she is a young woman now, about to be beloved. Juliet clutches her heart." More obviously when Kent performed this scene, but also when Gillian performed it, the ballerina let go of the rag doll and then seems to use both hands to clutch her bosom. It did not seem like they were clutching their heart to me, because the heart is off center and both ballerinas used each hand to clutch evenly. I did not like their interpretation, which leaves open the possibility of a more sexual interpretation.

-- On the Montague trio's dance outside the gates of the Capulet castle, before the ball: "he and his friends dance a vigorous, high-spirited pas de trois...."

-- On Mercutio dying: "Mercutio staggers. He still tries to fight, but dies with gaiety, his sword becoming for a moment his guitar as he plays his own lament."

-- When Tybalt is killed, "Lady capulet holds the body of her nephew, swaying back and forth in her grief as her husband watches helplessly."

-- On Juliet deliberating whether to take the sleeping potion: "Shes goes to the bed for the phial, but is frightened at the possible consequences of taking it. Suppose she will really die? what if the potion does not work at all and she is compelled to marry Paris anyway?..."

Usually between shows I go home and feed my cat. She likes the oysters and I drink the glass of wine!

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This is OT too, but does anyone know a good place to eat dinner before tonight's show? I tried to reserve the pre-show dinner, but they are full. I would like to have a nice meal tonight. Also, does anything special happen on the last night of the season? I've never been to an event like tonight!

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Romeo and Juliet

Saturday, July 10, matinee

THROUGH FIRST Intermission, RAVISHING. Superlatives cannot describe how amazing the two leads are :). This is sooo fantastic!!!!

Romeo: Hallberg

Juliet: Osipova

Mercutio: J Matthews

Benvolio: B Hoven

Lord Montague: R Zhurbin

Tybalt: P Ogle

Paris: S Radetsky

Lady Capulet: K Boone

Lord Capulet: V Barbee

Harlots: M Copeland, S Abrera, M Hamrick

Frair Laurence: C Luckett

As many readers know, this is Osipova's worldwide debut as Juliet.

The supporting cast was somewhat similar to Hallberg/Murphy on Tuesday, except for, among other things, (1) Radetsky instead of DeLong portraying Paris, and (2) R Zhurbin moving from Lord Capulet to Lord Montague in favor of V Barbee. Radetsky and Barbee had occupied today's roles on Monday night.

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Osipova is acting so beautifully, as well as dancing splendidly. During the scene where she is introduced to Paris, she scrunches her shoulders, holds her hands, in a way that a child would.

She is a shy, but open, Juliet, until the balcony scene where her dancing is so lyrical and sensuous.

During the Capulet ball scene. Shows surprise when Tybalt figures out who Romeo is. Surprised and concerned, like she should be. Such lightness.

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So far I’ve seen 3 R&J performances (Kent/Gomes, Reyes/Cornejo and Herrera/Gomes) and I’m heading back tonight to catch Vishneva/Gomes. I am somewhat amused that when I bought these tickets, they were for four entirely different casts, but now I will be seeing the same Romeo 3 times!

However, like Kyeong, I was struck by how differently Gomes played Romeo on Monday and Thursday. It almost made me wonder if he had read our discussion contrasting his somewhat rakish Romeo to Hallberg’s more innocent, reserved Romeo. :P At any rate, he was a sweeter, nobler Romeo than he was on Monday, but I am very curious to see how he plays Romeo to Vishneva’s Juliet, who will undoubtedly be overflowing with passion!

Kent has a natural sweetness which suits the role of Juliet, and she was adorably affectionate with her Nurse in Act I. She played Juliet on the skittish side, rapidly darting away from Paris to hide behind her Nurse with a huge grin. I had a hard time buying her chemistry with Gomes until the Act I balcony scene, which was gorgeous—definitely the most beautiful and effortless of the three I’ve seen so far. I noticed that Kent/Gomes did the two repeated lifts at the end differently from all the couples I’ve seen. With all the others, Juliet leapt and made a half-turn in the air and then Romeo caught her and spun around a few times. But Kent jumped up, with Gomes lifting her up above his head, much like the earlier lift where Juliet’s torso is parallel to the ground and her arm raised to the sky. It made me wonder if there a more correct way to do this lift (what’s the original choreography?) or if it is completely up to the couple’s discretion.

While Kent played Juliet on the juvenile side, Herrera’s Juliet was definitely an adolescent. When she was playing with the doll in Act I Scene 2, I got the distinct impression that her Juliet was playing to amuse her Nurse, rather than the other way around. And when Paris arrived (Alexandre Hammoudi), her Juliet reacted by being bashful, self-consciously shielding herself behind her Nurse—which I thought was totally appropriate and accurate for an adolescent, and very endearing. However, when this shy Juliet met her dashing Romeo, wow! She just came right out of her shell and beamed at him. And he beamed right back. They only had eyes for each other. Even though the lifts in the Balcony pas de deux did look more labored as Kyeong mentioned, and lacked some of the fluidity, it was great. (But with that music, and with that choreography, how can it not be?!)

As for Reyes, I’ve already mentioned how much I enjoyed her in Act I. I saw Dvorovenko and Vishneva as Juliet last year, and Kent and Herrera so far this year, but I can’t remember any of them bringing the music to life in her Act I dances as much as Reyes did. After seeing Thursday’s performance, however, I wondered if I should give some credit to Gennadi Savaliev for his excellent partnering as Paris. Alexandre Hammoudi is a handsome, dashing Paris, but some of his partnering with Herrera seemed a little awkward.

I can’t elaborate much more on Reyes’ characterization of Juliet except to say that it was just right. She was innocent and young without seeming excessively girlish. Everything seemed natural. And Cornejo matched her perfectly. Although their partnering was not quite as effortless as Kent/Gomes, it never looked awkward, and even if their Balcony pas de deux may not have been the most passionate I’ve seen, it was still extremely satisfying. At the end of the pas de deux, Reyes scampered up the stairs so quickly that I feared for her safety, and when she stopped mid-step, my heart skipped a beat as I remembered Vishneva’s near-slip last year. But all was fine. Reyes simply wanted to give Romeo one last look of longing before ascending to the top of the stairs.

**

In my experience, my enjoyment of Act II heavily depends on Mercutio and Benvolio. For me, the Monday night performance was slow until the Balcony scene, sagged a bit in Act II, and then fully took off in Act III. Monday’s trio of Gomes/Cornejo/Lopez was perhaps the most technically solid—in fact, I marveled at how in synch they were in their dance before the Capulet ball—but it lacked some of the humor and joy of the other casts.

On Wednesday, even though Simkin’s steps were a bit off, he elevated the scene for me with his gleeful hijinks. He was a highly entertaining Benvolio.

On Thursday, Salstein was Mercutio, and I absolutely love him in that role. He may not be as technically astounding as Cornejo, but his comical timing is simply fantastic. In a way, his death was the most tragic—the king of jokes has finally encountered a situation he can’t laugh off.

I can’t wait to see Salstein and Simkin together tonight—I think that will be a total riot!

On Monday, the sword fighting was impeccable. I couldn’t help it, but I found myself watching to see if they would mess up—and they never did! On Thursday there was a bit of an accident when Romeo (Gomes) and Tybalt (Stappas) were dueling. Somehow Stappas lost his sword at the very beginning, forcing Gomes to pretend to miss him, but almost immediately, someone handed him another sword. It was all done so smoothly that I bet anyone who hadn’t seen the ballet before would never have known it was a mistake! That was quite impressive to me.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed Radetsky’s portrayal of Tybalt. Savaliev (Monday) and Stappas (Thursday) were kind of straightforwardly mean and menacing, but Radetsky’s Tybalt reveled in his own baseness; he enjoyed being a bully, and that made his Tybalt more interesting to me.

**

As I said above, Monday night’s performance fully took flight for me in Act III. Gomes/Kent delivered another beautiful, moving pas de deux in the bedroom, and then I was completely drawn in Kent’s expression of Juliet’s dilemma. But I was very surprised by what she did in that pivotal moment where Juliet is standing against the bed, thinking about what to do. She moved her head up and down slowly, which I’ve never seen anyone else do. (I thought Juliet was supposed to stay stock-still…?)

The pas de deux with Juliet’s limp body was heartbreaking—the first time Gomes lifted Kent’s body and it hung limp instead of extending beautifully, I felt tears spring to my eyes. And at the very end, Kent did something that I’ve never seen other Juliets do—perched on the crypt bed, she reached down and lifted Gomes face to hers for one last kiss before collapsing back. I really liked that. And when all was done, the audience greeted Kent/Gomes with rapturous applause.

On Thursday, Act III is where things sort of fell apart for me. Herrera was very forceful in her rejection of Paris; her Juliet didn’t seem like she had no control over the situation, she seemed like an independent woman. And for me, that made the story seem less tragic, it made their suicides seem like less of an inevitable outcome. At the end of the scene in the crypt, she struck her death pose several beats before the end of the music, and I think that slightly lowered the emotional impact as well. All in all, a good but not great performance for me.

On Wednesday, like I said before, everything was just right. A moving end to a magical evening!

Can’t wait to see what they bring tonight!!

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-- "When the Capulets and Paris leave, Juliet wants to resume her play with the doll, but the nurse points out that her childhood is over, that she is a young woman now, about to be beloved. Juliet clutches her heart." More obviously when Kent performed this scene, but also when Gillian performed it, the ballerina let go of the rag doll and then seems to use both hands to clutch her bosom. It did not seem like they were clutching their heart to me, because the heart is off center and both ballerinas used each hand to clutch evenly. I did not like their interpretation, which leaves open the possibility of a more sexual interpretation.

I don't recall ever seeing Juliet clutch her heart.

The nurse is reminding Juliet that she has become a woman. I suppose that is ultimately sexual, but it certainly is not out of place, especially in a work inspired by Shakespeare.

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Hallberg and Osipova danced so movingly and intimately in the balcony, bedroom and Capulet tomb scenes -- it was achingly tender.

The tender, but strong, passion shown by both, and Osipova's flexible body, which sometimes slid beside Hallberg's, and other times was lifted in incredibly lyrical positions, with such ease it was as though she was as light as her ballon. I have always thought highly of her acting, but she was even better than my very high expectations suggested. They make wonderful dancing partners, and you could really believe there was love between them as well as physical attraction/sensuality.

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Sorry for the number of posts -- I can't seem to edit posts to add thoughts.

Act I

Hallberg was as excellent as usual. Even when he is hanging out with Mercutio and Benvolio, when he is just walking around the market, or when he is dancing with a harlot, his lines are outstanding. Hoven danced well, just like he did Tuesday night. Matthews danced worse than the other two in the trio, and even worse than Tuesday. In his big solo in Act I, he could barely get his feet off the ground in some cases. His jumps lacked heights, and they and his turns lacked energy.

Like in Giselle Act I, Osipova doesn't worry about looking regal or always having perfect lines (nothing wrong with perfect lines). Her acting is so clear in articulating her emotions, and get yet seems genuine.

She acted with her body as well as her face: the way she held her shoulders a bit uplifted like a child, or held her arm with her elbow slightly arched behind her, the way she showed curiosity about Paris when she is first introduced to him, the way she uses her speed of movement to show a little hint of precociousness as a young girl -- are all wonderful. Her slight frame also makes her more believable as a young girl, but it is more her acting with her whole body. Osipova's Juliet is less set against Paris, before she meets Romeo, than Kent's or Gillian's. (As for Paris, I've liked Radetsky's portrayal of him and I think the NYT dig on Radetsky in this role is unfounded). For example, she seems more neutral in dancing with Paris at the ball when Romeo is still focused on Rosaline.

Osipova's movements seemed in Act I like those of a young girl. She is child-like when she pushes the nurse out of the room in order to have time with Romeo during the ball. This is clearly her first love, her first sense of romance, with Romeo. The audience shares the revelation of new feelings she senses in herself. What I appreciate in Osipova is that she is trying to evoke an emotion, and she does.

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Osipova and Hallberg were very sensual, but in a high-brow way, during the balcony scene. They look beautiful together -- light but highly articulate feet, beautiful arm positions for both, beautiful lines for both. Very light sensation with respect to this pair's dancing. Very dramatic from an ethereal, transcendent quality and from lifts, jumps, sequences so perfectly executed technically, but so imbued with emotion, that it is the emotion that prevails.

Each of them uses differences in the speed of different movements he or she executes to enhance the sense of passion. She lounges, luxuriates, when held by him in some lifts. She soaks in his embrace. Other times, she rushes to him and the way that is done, with her body moving the way it does, conveys the urgency and expanse of her feelings for him. He lifts her effortlessly, longingly. He rushes to her side. Other times, he stands still for a moment underneath the pillars of her balcony. They both use moderations in speed, rushing/luxuriating, some grabbing of the other in elegant ways, during the balcony scene.

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