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28 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

I agree with Capybara and whilst many would disagree I would prefer to see Juliet as the province of the younger dancers.  However good the acting, there is something a little silly about a mature Worman in her late thirties pretending to be a child with a doll.

 

I've seen 3 Juliets in their 30s so far & found 2 of the 3 to be plausible teenagers. It is interesting though that the Juliets in this run are generally older than the Romeos. I think there are only 2 Romeos over 30 but 5 Juliets.

 

13 hours ago, JohnS said:

Ryoichi Hirano’s Tybalt

 

Hirano's doing Tybalt as well as Romeo & Paris? He'll be doing a one man R&J at this rate! (A bit off topic but 2 nights ago I dreamed I was seeing the triple bill but all the dancers in Golden Hour had been replaced by ones I'd never heard of, except for the ubiquitous Hirano!)

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5 hours ago, Shade said:

Given that every performance has sold out perhaps there could have been a few more?

 

God forbid!  Bad enough that runs of 2 dozen performances of the "big" ballets are now becoming the norm :(

 

4 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

I agree with Capybara and whilst many would disagree I would prefer to see Juliet as the province of the younger dancers.  However good the acting, there is something a little silly about a mature Worman in her late thirties pretending to be a child with a doll.

 

You clearly never saw Leanne Benjamin in the role in her mid-40s, Penelope!  Or Alessandra Ferri.

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I think as a general rule youth is preferable in this particular ballet but more important I think is  the chemistry/ connection between Romeo and Juliet if that's not there the ballet doesn't work so well for me.

However there are always one or two older dancers who because they are so spontaneous and in the moment emotionally can get away with dancing this role and being a bit older......a prime example for me is Margot Fonteyn. I think she was in her 50's when I saw her in this but was totally convincing as she looked so innocent on the stage. 

I believe Ulanova had this quality too though unfortunately never saw this dancer. 

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Lauren Cuthbertson is one Juliet who is particularly convincing as a teenager and for me, retains that innate quality of youth every run.  Probably why she’s one of my favourite Juliets and I always try to see her dance the role. 

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Margot Fonteyn was 46 when I first saw her Juliet and I found her completely convincing (and utterly ravishing) as a 14-year old.

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4 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

I agree with Capybara and whilst many would disagree I would prefer to see Juliet as the province of the younger dancers.  However good the acting, there is something a little silly about a mature Worman in her late thirties pretending to be a child with a doll.

 

I've sometimes felt a bit uncomfortable when watching those scenes when Juliet is with her nurse at the beginning, if she is portrayed in a very childlike way.  She is supposed to be a couple of weeks short of her 14th birthday, and no 14 year old is seriously into playing with her dollies, surely?  Even more so at the time when the ballet is set,  as this would be a perfectly acceptable age for a girl with her background and upbringing to marry and start running her own household, a fact she would have been aware of, even if she hadn't yet given it any serious thought.    

 

Yes, Juliet is young, but she is not THAT young.  I've always thought that the business with the doll works best if it is shown to be a sign of Juliet's youthful exuberance as she teases her old nurse with one of her old playthings.   On that basis, a more mature dancer can quite easily portray those feelings.     

 

    

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I don;t think Juliet playing with a doll is inconsistent. I think children who are often forced at an early age to become adults, so to speak, often exhibit these behaviors. I worked with a group of teen mothers and many of them while they were nursing their children often sucked their own thumbs. I was shocked to see that behavior when I first encountered it. 

 

I also think the way Juliet plays with the doll is important. I agree that it works well as a stage prop to show off Juliet's exuberant nature. It works less well when a ballerina plays Juliet as very shy and reserved. I saw Alessandra Ferri's Juliet a number of times and she's an amazing Juliet but she played a very shy, reserved Juliet in the first scene and the doll never worked for me because of that reason.

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46 minutes ago, Fonty said:

 

I've sometimes felt a bit uncomfortable when watching those scenes when Juliet is with her nurse at the beginning, if she is portrayed in a very childlike way.  She is supposed to be a couple of weeks short of her 14th birthday, and no 14 year old is seriously into playing with her dollies, surely?  Even more so at the time when the ballet is set,  as this would be a perfectly acceptable age for a girl with her background and upbringing to marry and start running her own household, a fact she would have been aware of, even if she hadn't yet given it any serious thought.    

 

Yes, Juliet is young, but she is not THAT young.  I've always thought that the business with the doll works best if it is shown to be a sign of Juliet's youthful exuberance as she teases her old nurse with one of her old playthings.   On that basis, a more mature dancer can quite easily portray those feelings.     

 

    

 

Yes - and I suppose she's playing with a doll that she can cradle as a baby, so perhaps indicating impending adulthood.

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I don't think I've ever seen a larger crowd assembled outside the stage door after that performance. One of those WOW, I was there! - type performances (as I was!)

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3 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

I don't think I've ever seen a larger crowd assembled outside the stage door after that performance. One of those WOW, I was there! - type performances (as I was!)

 

I hadn't either. Liverpool had come to London. Lovely! And the performance was very special.

However, recently, there was a much larger crowd (with stage Door staff providing supervision/control) after a performance of Don Quixote by Nunez and Muntagirov.

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19 hours ago, capybara said:

 

I hadn't either. Liverpool had come to London. Lovely! And the performance was very special.

However, recently, there was a much larger crowd (with stage Door staff providing supervision/control) after a performance of Don Quixote by Nunez and Muntagirov.

(Totally unrelated to ballet) I had been in a crowd after the La Traviata with Plácido Domingo at the stage door early this year. The stage door staff controlled the crowd and the manager asked us to form a line to come inside one by one. Because Domingo was very tired and he sat at the desk. :) 

I brought a CD recording of his Carmen. The recording is older than me. It was recorded by West Germany.

I think that ROH staff were really amazing and well organized staff.

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Posted (edited)

Report after today's show

It is my first time to see David Hallberg. 2nd time see R&J at ROH. (1st time Laura C &Ball opening night) I have seen R&J in other places as well.

I usually don't sit very close to the stage but this time I chose a very close up seat on the floor. I felt that it is very different view of the market scene. The fighting, the moving of the crowd is very different from what I see from upper level. The blended of the color and the light is also a bit different.  

 

First goes the doubts

1. I found that several of Hallberg's lifting a little bit of "stiffness" in the balcony scene. But it may be because It is my first time to see so close up of a MaxMillan's ballet. If any of you also attended today's performance, please tell me if I am wrong. 

2. Prince of Verona is not as convincing as the opening night.

 

Then goes what I really enjoyed

 

The corp is great. Thank them for such a long lasting run!

Act 1  Osipova is always Osipova and her Juliet is a happy Juliet:) I really see the passion between her and Hallberg. She reminded me of my teenage time, more silliness than shyness when you see him. And you don't know how to behave, you feel that you cannot breath but still you want to see him, more of him. 

The balcony PDD is also great. Despite I felt that several movement, lifting is not as smooth as I would expect.

 

Final act in the tomb:I have to say that this is the moment that David has won my heart. This is the first time in the final act that I felt that Romeo is equivalent in love as Juliet. In all the other performance of R&J, I see more of sadness and helpless from other Romeo but this time I see a great amount of love and a really feeling that he gave up the hope of life. A very touching moment.

 

 

In all it is a very lovely night and I am very happy to see a very different pair of R&J. Very different from Laura C & Ball. :)  The only regret is that it is not recorded because I quite wish to have a recording of Ospova's Juliet. Actually I wish to see a recording of all RB's Juliet. I just cannot get it enough.

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice
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Another Romeo & Juliet this time the starry cast and fabled partnership of Osipova and Hallberg which I'm sorry didn't work on many levels. 

 

I've enjoyed Osipova's interpretations for years and I admire and like that she has always brings something of herself to the roles she dances, but more recently this individuality is in danger of being at the expense of faithfulness to the choreography. Her first scene tonight set the tone for the rest of the performance which although powerful in places was also sometimes wild, sometimes exaggerated, with fussy hand gestures and unnecessary embellishments.

 

By contrast, Hallberg's Romeo was bordering on the bland end of understated (his princely demeanour would have been more at home in Swan Lake) so I found the partnership rather unbalanced and without chemistry. Hallberg danced and partnered well enough but his acting lacked depth and nuance, many of the small gestures were not properly finished. He failed to establish any sense of camaraderie with Mercutio (Hay, excellent as usual) and Benvolio (Dyer). Perhaps,  he was nervous given his injury interrupted last performance. 

 

The audience gave them a huge ovation so I was clearly in a minority finding fault, partly I think I have been spoiled by the more genuine performances I saw from Sambe/O'Sullivan and Corrales/Hayward. 

 

What has happened to Osipova's pointe shoes ? It looked as though they'd been attacked by wild dogs !  

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I was there tonight as well. I do not know how many different Tybalt's I have seen in my life, but Hirano was one of the most effective.  I found myself somehow rooting for Tybalt in his sward fight scene with Romeo. Well done.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, annamk said:

Another Romeo & Juliet this time the starry cast and fabled partnership of Osipova and Hallberg which I'm sorry didn't work on many levels. 

 

I've enjoyed Osipova's interpretations for years and I admire and like that she has always brings something of herself to the roles she dances, but more recently this individuality is in danger of being at the expense of faithfulness to the choreography. Her first scene tonight set the tone for the rest of the performance which although powerful in places was also sometimes wild, sometimes exaggerated, with fussy hand gestures and unnecessary embellishments.

  

By contrast, Hallberg's Romeo was bordering on the bland end of understated (his princely demeanour would have been more at home in Swan Lake) so I found the partnership rather unbalanced and without chemistry. Hallberg danced and partnered well enough but his acting lacked depth and nuance, many of the small gestures were not properly finished. He failed to establish any sense of camaraderie with Mercutio (Hay, excellent as usual) and Benvolio (Dyer). Perhaps,  he was nervous given his injury interrupted last performance. 

  

 The audience gave them a huge ovation so I was clearly in a minority finding fault, partly I think I have been spoiled by the more genuine performances I saw from Sambe/O'Sullivan and Corrales/Hayward. 

  

What has happened to Osipova's pointe shoes ? It looked as though they'd been attacked by wild dogs !  

I agree with you that Hallberg's cooperation with the Mercutio, Benvolio and the rest of the corp is not as good as other RB's Romeo. But I usually give a guest artist a pass on this perspective. Unfortunately that R&J required a lot of cooperation from male principles not like some other classic that is easier to guest. 

 

Well on the "creative" part. Yes I had some same feeling at the opening act of her in Act 1 when Juliet is playing a doll. Probably that I was hoping to see a more shy and maiden like Juliet not this naughty one. But isn't it the reason that I planned to see 4 casts of R&J this run. (LauraC&Ball, Osipova&Hallberg, Lamb&Vadim and Nela. Unfortunately I had to returned the tickets for Valid and Nela because a last minute trip) 

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice

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10 minutes ago, Texan said:

I was there tonight as well. I do not know how many different Tybalt's I have seen in my life, but Hirano was one of the most effective.  I found myself somehow rooting for Tybalt in his sward fight scene with Romeo. Well done.

Yes! I forgot to put that in my review. But yes and yes! Hirano is great and the final moment of him... is fantastic.

During the 2nd interval I kept thinking about the idea that maybe Hirano might become a principal character artists one day... 

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Memorable, searing performance from Osipova and Hallberg tonight. Osipova was a wild, febrile Juliet; for her first entrance she ran onto the stage so fast I thought she was going to end up in the orchestra pit... And although initially child-like, she smiled with sudden delight when she realised she was on the threshold of womanhood; this was a girl ready to fall in love. And fall she did, with her tall, handsome Romeo. But the intensity of this Juliet did for me cast an early shadow - the bliss was so stratospheric that there was no possibility of a happy ending, and the agony had a kind of awful inevitability. The silent scream in the tomb was a convulsion not just of grief but of raging, bone-shaking fury. And Hallberg was magnificent too - such beautiful dancing, and a portrayal both intelligent and impassioned. The partnership was clearly one of complete mutual confidence and rare emotional and physical alignment. I assume this was Hallberg's debut in this production, and Osipova can't have danced it often, so there was sometimes a bit of raggedness in some of the partnering; that actually fitted well with the abandon with which the relationship progressed. Wonderful.

 

Excellent supporting cast - I loved Hirano's ruthless, arrogant Tybalt, and Hay and Dyer as Mercutio and Benvolio formed a touching triumvirate with Romeo. And those three harlots really do work hard: Mendizabal, Calvert and Magri deserve medals for all the (terrific) performances they're giving in this run!

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3 minutes ago, bridiem said:

Memorable, searing performance from Osipova and Hallberg tonight. Osipova was a wild, febrile Juliet; for her first entrance she ran onto the stage so fast I thought she was going to end up in the orchestra pit... And although initially child-like, she smiled with sudden delight when she realised she was on the threshold of womanhood; this was a girl ready to fall in love. And fall she did, with her tall, handsome Romeo. But the intensity of this Juliet did for me cast an early shadow - the bliss was so stratospheric that there was no possibility of a happy ending, and the agony had a kind of awful inevitability. The silent scream in the tomb was a convulsion not just of grief but of raging, bone-shaking fury. And Hallberg was magnificent too - such beautiful dancing, and a portrayal both intelligent and impassioned. The partnership was clearly one of complete mutual confidence and rare emotional and physical alignment. I assume this was Hallberg's debut in this production, and Osipova can't have danced it often, so there was sometimes a bit of raggedness in some of the partnering; that actually fitted well with the abandon with which the relationship progressed. Wonderful.

 

Excellent supporting cast - I loved Hirano's ruthless, arrogant Tybalt, and Hay and Dyer as Mercutio and Benvolio formed a touching triumvirate with Romeo. And those three harlots really do work hard: Mendizabal, Calvert and Magri deserve medals for all the (terrific) performances they're giving in this run!

I felt the same as you. I had tears during the balcony PDD which I usually don't because this time I kept thinking that such a love will result in tragedy. 

 

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I thought Hallberg had danced it a lot with ABT - same production, but not quite the same layout, I think?

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Posted (edited)

Completely not related to the dancers...

 

I saw a gentleman speaking of his thought of the dance very passionately to the sales girl in the gift shop during the 1st interval. He kept speaking and I felt that all his words so beautiful.

 

English is not my native language so I often feel difficult to express my feeling. 

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice
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You express your feelings very clearly and passionately, Helen!

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It’s always interesting to read varied opinions. I would absolutely agree with bridiem and HelenLoveAppleJuice that tonight was very special. I too was moved to tears during the Balcony PdD (as was my sister sitting next to me) and spent much of the last act damnp about the gills too. Unlike annamk, I loved Natalia Osipova’s wildness: I’m sure Lynn Seymour was anything but a wilting flower in the role and am sure I read somewhere that MacMillan used this blazing energy to drive the narrative process. That silent scream was indeed chilling as it coursed through her body. It was also a privilege to see a dancer of  David Hallberg’s quality: such beautiful legs, such elegant feet, such understated but not cold elegance. Was Erik Bruhn at all like this? To me, the characters’ instant, mutual fascination and attraction read completely and movingly.

 

Much else to admire. I was hugely impressed with Ryoichi Hirano’s Tybalt and enjoyed very much the dancing and characterisation of James Hay and Tristan Dyer, although I didn’t find them physically well matched with Hallberg in the Act One PdT. Are any taller dancers performing these roles this season?

 

I’d not seen Romeo and Juliet for some years and for all the splendour of Prokofiev’s score I share the doubts of those who find rather too much padding, especially in Act Two. Nevertheless, I was truly pleased to be there this evening and shared in the enthusiastic applause of what seemed a majority of the audience.

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10 minutes ago, Jamesrhblack said:

enjoyed very much the dancing and characterisation of James Hay and Tristan Dyer, although I didn’t find them physically well matched with Hallberg in the Act One PdT. Are any taller dancers performing these roles this season?

 

Not many, it would seem.  Téo Dubreuil and Nicol Edmonds have performed Benvolio, but I can't think of many others.  I must admit that I was surprised when I saw the casting, given the height difference.

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The opening of David Hallberg's autobiography "A Body of Work" begins with a description of his feelings as Romeo as his concludes the ballroom scene in Act 1 and prepares for the balcony pdd with Juliet. It is powerful prose, and takes the reader to the point where they long to see all of his passionate words translated into action on stage.  It also sets up expectations for  these performances by Hallberg in the role with Osipova. Expectations which are also heightened by the media reports of their mutual pleasure at dancing with each other and the rapport they feel they have.

 

So, to last night's performance: at times - particular in Act 1 - I wondered if I was watching Swan Lake crossed with La Fille Mal Gardee, such was - for me at any rate- the disconnect between their two styles and approaches to their roles. Opposites can be very powerful: he is tall, blond, fine and elegant; she is petite, striking, with a short line and an explosive quality to her dancing and of course her acting. But for me this was a complete mis-match. Hallberg's dancing was fine but he does not or cannot convey the raw passion that I feel is what Romeo needs, and what Osipova's Juliet was almost demanding. He was altogether too cerebral  and remote, and I found his acting superficial alongside James Hay's finely drawn Mercutio and Hirano's powerful Tybalt.  There was no developed camaraderie with Mercutio or Benvolio and he seemed to have only a cursory interest in Rosaline;  so the trajectory of his Romeo was not really compelling - I did not feel any sense of impending tragedy from his characterisation. I agree with Annamk's observations about Osipova's Juliet: in the initial scenes she was almost hyperactive - arms windmilling and broad-brush acting. It was almost exhausting to watch and became gradually irritating for me as it began to distort the choreography. In the balcony pdd when Romeo dances his big solo - his declaration of love to Juliet - this must surely be his moment (and this was well-danced by Hallberg), but no, there was Osipova, distracting with unnecessary embellishments with gestures and grimaces, and distorting the flow of the choreography. They were both "guilty" of this as the pdd developed, skewing the flow of the lifts and tender moments as they discover and express their love. Osipova is a great artist, but I fear her Juliet was for me bordering on parody. I found myself thinking about Hayward's lyrical and fresh portrayal of Juliet, and how much more compelling her performance  had been for me, no doubt enhanced by her Romeo Corrales, who most certainly can convey raw passion.  So, not for one minute did I find Osipova credible. Oddly, I felt I had seen Osipova with  much more rapport with other dancers - for example: Muntagirov, Ball and Shklyarov - than she had with Hallberg.. I did not really feel any "special connection". I can understand that she may feel very comfortable dancing with him because he partnered well, but I did not see the magic... I shall see if Month reveals a different side to their partnership. For me, this Romeo and Juliet was disappointing and disconcerting.

 

 

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I was there last night. You accurately described what I felt too BeauxArts.

Really disappointed. Juliet is not a role for Osipova (however great an artist she is).

And her pointe shoes are a horror to look at.

At least we still have the Naghdi/Ball performances to look forward to after last night's disappointment.

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Osipova does indeed take liberties (sometimes approaching diabolical!), but for me the end product is so compelling and coherent (on her terms, or the terms of the character she's playing) that I don't object; I accept it as part of her nature as a dancer. I think to 'tame' her would be to lose who she is.

 

And although Hallberg is a very different type of dancer, I found the partnership was one of opposites attracting: she so fevered and desperate in her love, he naturally more reserved but drawn to her like a magnet and entering her force field.

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23 minutes ago, bridiem said:

Osipova does indeed take liberties (sometimes approaching diabolical!), but for me the end product is so compelling and coherent (on her terms, or the terms of the character she's playing) that I don't object; I accept it as part of her nature as a dancer. I think to 'tame' her would be to lose who she is.

 

And although Hallberg is a very different type of dancer, I found the partnership was one of opposites attracting: she so fevered and desperate in her love, he naturally more reserved but drawn to her like a magnet and entering her force field.

 

Absolutely. Astonishing how differently last night has read to different people. 

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2 minutes ago, Jamesrhblack said:

 

Absolutely. Astonishing how differently last night has read to different people. 

 

I think it’s because they’re both “marmite” dancers, and I’m not sure whether each holds great obvious appeal to the other’s admirers.

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3 minutes ago, Jamesrhblack said:

Astonishing how differently last night has read to different people. 

 

'Twas ever thus ! 

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