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Vasiliev's "Romeo and Juliet"

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Can't think of a production of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" that I haven't seen, but by far, one of the most extraordinary is the ballet by Vladimir Vasiliev.

Celebrating the 75th birthday of the great musican and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, the London Symphony Orchestra presented the ballet with Rostropovich conducting, March 14, at the Barbican, London.

In this production, the orchestra and conductor are characters in the ballet, the conductor as the narrator and central character. There isn't another ballet that has used the music and story in such an intimate way. Rostropovich was as interesting to watch as the dancers, feeling the music so deeply and expressing his love for it and Prokofiev with every measure. The LSO played the score better than anything I have ever heard. The Lithuanian Ballet performed with great style and care, and it was so moving to see this ballet done in London by foreigners. A great experience in theatre.

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They danced this in Washington a couple of years ago and I missed it, to my sorrow. A colleague of mine saw it and reviewed it for DanceView. He liked it very much -- and hadn't expected to, having seen other ballets by Vasiliev. He also mentioned the intimacy of it, and how the interaction betwen dancers and musicians perhaps shouldn't have been effective -- but was. He also liked the dancers.

Thanks for telling us about it, Gloria. It's very nice to be able to keep up with what's going on around the world.

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