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2018 Romeo & Juliet

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BalletFan said:

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

I am glad you too enjoy it. I thought it was an epic night. I personally dont remember a Juliet irradiating so much happiness for being in love, particularly in the balcony pdd, her variation was a celebration of love, she seemed flying all over the stage, I got chills through out the entire performance......and her acting before surrendering to dance with Paris, after begging to her parents was so moving, followed by that gorgeously emotional and heartbreaking pdd, my god, it was sensational. ...I also loveedddd the way she used her bourees to express emotions, in different moments, and how effective it was. I sense that she has a special connection to this role, but I heard that her Giselle was also really good.....I  liked her before but have never been a fan. Now  I cant wait to see her in SL and Don Q, since I am really really curious about her acting range and how she uses her technical power to fuel her artistry in a leading role. Its too bad that she is not dancing SL with David . I hope Simkin manages to partner her well, otherwise I sense the quality of the performance may suffer a bit.

I have been a very strong critic of the current principals, after seeing Isabella last night, I think she deserves the chance to be considered apart from the rest in terms of star power and potential. I have also being quite impressed with Seo's progress, at least the show that I have recently attended by these two have been very high quality ones.....Hoping that Trenary, Brandt and Bell join the principal team sooner than later, so we can maybe recover some of the golden memories of past times.

Edited by Classic_Ballet

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Posted (edited)

I had quite a different take on last night's show. I bought a last minute ticket mainly to see Hallberg and Cirio, but I was curious to see Boylston's interpretation and how she and Hallberg faired together.

Though much of their dancing and technical elements were very good to incredible at times, I thought these two had no passion. And for R&J of all ballets, without passion it just doesn't fulfill. They liked each other, a lot, but I saw no burning love that bordered on dangerous; it made no sense that they were willing to die for each other and I was left empty. However, strictly dancing-wise they worked well together, had no partnering issues and had some really beautiful moments. They had better chemistry than I was expecting.  But, throughout the balcony and bedroom pas I kept picturing Lane/Cornejo and how their intense partnership would have torn up the stage leaving me in tears. 

Individually, Boylston's acting has definitely improved and her dancing was incredible. She played the part of a naïve young girl rather convincingly. But, when she met Paris she was just blank - did she like him, hate him, was she considering it? Who knew? When she was crying in Act I, I think it was, it looked fake and silly. Yet, in Act III when she gives in to her parents demands, she was quite heart-breaking in her pas with Paris and in her resolve. In the crypt when she wakes up and sees Romeo on the floor, there was no reaction. Did she think he was sleeping? Dead? Her "scream" was canned and not convincing. Boylston's dancing was better than her acting. She jumps and flies across the stage like a colt (no, I'm not calling her a horse...). She is incredibly strong yet more and more tempers that with an increasing lyricism. She was confident and at ease with all of the partnering, and she took impressively huge leaps into Hallberg's arms several times. 

Hallberg, the quintessential prince, was in full prince mode from the beginning to the end, and that's not a good thing. It bordered on posturing. He had no youthful impulse, no boyishness. He was Siegfried and Albrecht. Every reaction he had seemed studied, rehearsed. I have been a huge fan of his for years, but I did not like him as Romeo. He did this weird thing in Act I when he sat upstage facing the audience and stared out with ridiculously wide eyes, like he was trying to show the folks in the balcony the whites of his eyes. He danced really well, and his gorgeous lines were all there, and there seemed to be no hint of a recent injury; though he did have some trouble with some pirouettes early on. Hallberg does know how to work a cape and he used that to great effect in the balcony pas. 

The stars of the evening, for me, were the supporting cast.

Cirio was an incredible Mercutio. What a strong, secure technique he has and his stamina was such that I think he could dance this part 8x a week. He was charming and full of personality, though I agree that his death scene should look more organic. 

The biggest surprise was Forster as Tybalt. Wow. He stole every scene he was in. A fully committed, evil, menacing, commanding performance.

Royal was a terrific Benvolio. Teuscher was also surprising as Lady Capulet. Beautiful, natural acting though I thought her reaction to Juliet's "death" didn't register fully enough. 

Hurlin and McBride stood out amongst Juliet's friends, as did Paulina Waski who is now back fully dancing. She wasn't listed in the program for this role, so she must have been a last minute replacement for someone.

Added: I can never watch ABT in R&J without thinking of dear Freddie Franklin as Friar Lawrence. He would always get a huge welcoming applause when he appeared. He was such a gem.

Edited by ABT Fan

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45 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Cirio was an incredible Mercutio. What a strong, secure technique he has and his stamina was such that I think he could dance this part 8x a week. He was charming and full of personality, though I agree that his death scene should look more organic. 

The biggest surprise was Forster as Tybalt. Wow. He stole every scene he was in. A fully committed, evil, menacing, commanding performance.

From what I've seen and gathered, the Mercutios and Tybalts have done a lot of heavy lifting this week (notably during sluggish town scenes). I keep forgetting that Cirio is only 27, which makes me excited for his character development in the coming years. 

Wish I could have seen Forster in this role. Would have loved to see him hurl himself at Hallberg. This season I've only seen him as very charming, slightly simple good guys. He's not in any of my Swan Lakes next week so I'll miss his Purple Rothbart as well. 

Edited by Inge

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15 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

I had quite a different take on last night's show. I bought a last minute ticket mainly to see Hallberg and Cirio, but I was curious to see Boylston's interpretation and how she and Hallberg faired together.

... Added: I can never watch ABT in R&J without thinking of dear Freddie Franklin as Friar Lawrence. He would always get a huge welcoming applause when he appeared. He was such a gem.

I was there for the first act on Wed and the entire ballet on Saturday night. My impressions pretty much mirror ABT Fan's. I was there to see Hallberg because these were his last performances of the season and I wonder how often he'll be dancing with ABT in the future. He was wonderful, his dancing was so beautiful and free and I loved his characterization of Romeo as a hopelessly romantic dreamer.

Boylston's Juliet was very well danced, but I didn't feel any chemistry between her and Hallberg . She acted the part well, but I was always aware of her ACTING. The best R&J pairs - the ones we have become used to seeing at ABT like Ferri/Bocca, Ferri/Corella, Vishneva/Gomes and the one time we were privileged to see an absolutely heartstopping performance by Osipova & Hallberg - they lived the roles onstage, totally in the moment. Now of course I know that they were acting but you never felt it, you only felt their raw vivid emotions and total immersion in the story.

I didn't see anything like that with Boylston and Hallberg and for me, R&J is pretty boring without it.

And, yes, I too always think of Franklin the minute Friar Lawrence comes onstage. Even into his late eighties, he was such a presence.

 

On 6/16/2018 at 7:46 PM, Inge said:

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

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

I usually go to ABT 3-4 times for most productions, but I see R&J as a 3 hour ballet that contains about 45 minutes of amazing dancing. It really lives or dies depending on who is cast in the 2 lead roles, and without great performances I find it pretty boring. In my book, this was not a great performance.

On any given night I see 8-10 or more of my friends during intermissions, but each night this week I only saw 2 people I know, so I guess most of my friends felt the same way I did.

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4 hours ago, nysusan said:

I usually go to ABT 3-4 times for most productions, but I see R&J as a 3 hour ballet that contains about 45 minutes of amazing dancing. It really lives or dies depending on who is cast in the 2 lead roles, and without great performances I find it pretty boring. In my book, this was not a great performance.

On any given night I see 8-10 or more of my friends during intermissions, but each night this week I only saw 2 people I know, so I guess most of my friends felt the same way I did.

I completely agree. The most I'll go to an ABT production in a week is three times, but that's pretty rare: only for Sleeping Beauty, which is three hours filled with great dancing, or Swan Lake if there is must-see casting. 

I think I over-bought for this season, simply repeating my buying patterns from previous years. I plan to scale back next year unless they are presenting a drastically more interesting season in terms of repertoire and casting. 

Also, I've had such great experiences at NYCB this past year that I'd rather spend more of my money there (plus the seats are cheaper and I feel so much closer to the dancers, sitting in orchestra). 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I managed to get into the Saturday matinee "Romeo and Juliet" on the 16th at the last minute.  I never really feel that I have to see one MacMillan "Romeo and Juliet" a season - let alone multiples.  But given that I have let opportunities to see Misty Copeland and Daniil Simkin in important leading roles pass me by, I felt motivated to attend.

First of all, MacMillan's Juliet has more modern choreography for the ballerina that has less emphasis on intricate footwork - nothing like the classical Petipa ballets that clearly give Misty problems.  (Multiple foot injuries over the years mean that fouettés or hops on pointe are not feasible nowadays)  I think Juliet may be Misty's best role in a dramatic ballet.  From the negative reports of overacting and amateurishness from earlier attempts at the role, I would say that Misty has settled into the role and very likely got some excellent dramatic coaching (Alessandra Ferri?).  Misty does have beautiful lines and lovely legs (very visible in the Balcony Pas de Deux).  Her first scene as Juliet playing with her Nurse showed a mischievous side that enlivened the character.  Yet Misty managed to handle the acting challenges of Act III with believable understated conviction.  I liked the understated rebelliousness and free-spirited individualism she suggested in the ball scene and in the confrontation with her father Capulet in Act III - she was not just defiant but deeply conflicted with the role expected of her and her personal needs.  The scene where Juliet sits motionless on the bed while the orchestra crescendos underneath her suggested Juliet gathering her willpower and inner strength to take control of her fate.  Only Alessandra Ferri managed to pull off the silent scream in the Tomb scene but Misty didn't make a fool of herself and the rest was touching.  All in all, this was a very persuasive, attractively danced and well-acted interpretation of the role.  She is better than many other regular Juliets of recent years.  (Though not better than Ferri *back in the day, Vishneva, Obraztsova et al.)  

I think one problem for her was the lack of chemistry between Copeland and Simkin's Romeo.  I suspect that Misty has way better chemistry with Herman Cornejo but he is more of a romantic leading man type and establishes more of a connection with his partner.  Simkin danced absolutely superbly with fantastically precise spins and turns.  His line is beautiful and he reminded me at times of young Baryshnikov.  Simkin acted the part quite intelligently but there is nothing animal or passionate in his stage persona.  Simkin always seems to be performing for himself or for the audience onstage.  All the tricky lifts in the two pas de deux's with Juliet came off well with no glitches though.  I must say that when Simkin danced steps in unison with Arron Scott's Mercutio and Joseph Gorak's Benvolio, it was Simkin that your eye followed instinctively.  Just like you always pick out the best dancer in a chorus line.

The rest of the cast was fine and the production looked ship shape.  Arron Scott had a playful rogue quality as Mercutio and his death scene registered properly.  However, he fudged one or two tricky steps in the Mandolin solo and looked technically a bit limited next to Simkin and even Gorak.  Gorak danced quite well but seems stuck in "smiling second banana" soloist roles - he needs to act with more authority and personality and work on his partnering.  Roman Zhurbin had lots of the right bad attitude as Tybalt and was a real "prince of cats".   Good swordplay from everyone.  Alex Hammoudi was a somewhat recessive Paris who looked nice and did nothing wrong.  Stella Abrera returned to her usual role of Lady Capulet and managed to make a three-dimensional portrait out of the part with all sorts of subtle details.  Clinton Luckett was Father Lawrence and Alexei Agoudine was a decent Capulet.  Susan Jones' Nurse always gives pleasure.  The harlots were Cassandra Trenary, Skylar Brandt and I believe Catherine Hurlin (replacing Melanie Hamrick who was still listed in the program and there was no announcement but Hamrick definitely wasn't dancing).  

The theater was quite full with a somewhat more diverse audience than usual in terms of age and racial makeup .  But it was not sold out as Misty can do as Odette/Odile or the Firebird.  The audience was rapturously enthusiastic and appreciative during the final curtain calls - especially the solo bow for Copeland and Simkin together.  Misty seemed genuinely moved at the ardent response.

I was glad I went and this is one role where I wouldn't avoid Copeland though frankly I can't do this ballet every season or even every other season.  Too much padding.

Edited by FauxPas
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On 6/17/2018 at 2:34 PM, Classic_Ballet said:

I have been a very strong critic of the current principals, after seeing Isabella last night, I think she deserves the chance to be considered apart from the rest in terms of star power and potential. I have also being quite impressed with Seo's progress, at least the show that I have recently attended by these two have been very high quality ones.....Hoping that Trenary, Brandt and Bell join the principal team sooner than later, so we can maybe recover some of the golden memories of past times.

A little off topic, but out of curiosity, for you and those board members who are able to regularly attend the Met season, do you think some of the criticism you had of Isabella and Hee as principals since their promotion was a by product of the rate in which both had to learn the lead roles (i.e. if I recall correctly both debuted in several ballets each season early on), and as a result we were constantly seeing a "work in progress"?

I know that Isabella is a strong technician, and I always felt like she had the potential to develop into a true principal star. I'm very glad to hear that it's starting to show and she's beginning to shine. For those who've seen this season thus far, are her hands/wrists still an issue? What about Hee, she's a very emotional performer, but is her technique catching up?

As for ABT needing to get the "next group" of principals ready sooner rather than later, I agree! I think the common names as mentioned on this board should be on their way in the next few years. Many of them, have been doing a great job in soloist roles recently, and Bell certainly stepped up this season and didn't let an opportunity slide by (even if based on what I read in the NYT article, he wasn't even sure what to expect of himself due to his growth spurts -- can't believe that tiny little boy from First Position is not 6'3"!)

From what I can tell, casting has seemed less "conservative" last year and this year. I'm not sure that KM has "changed" but it certain indicates that the lack of movement and promotions during the "golden days" (that we dearly miss, but such is the passage of time) + "guest artist era" (which we won't speak about) was heavily about needing to fill the seats + not having enough parts for all the dancers. Obviously, in the 2010s, specifically the last 5 years, the lost development time of new principals/unpolished performance was the result of those decisions, but I'm hopeful that ABT is moving in the right direction. I think the Teuscher/Bell debut is evidence that with enough time and coaching, the dancers management are selecting are the right ones, but they shouldn't be put on stage until they are ready!

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On 6/15/2018 at 12:40 AM, laurel said:

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

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

You should see Copeland in the La Scala production of R&J with Bolle. It's fantastic.

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