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I haven’t started a new thread before so please bear with me. 

 

Dance Europe subscribers will see an interesting interview in the July edition with Johan Kobborg (he is always interesting!) on the new Romeo and Juliet he is choreographing for Sergei Polunin and Alina Cojocaru in the main roles for Poluninink company.  The premiere will be in the Arena Di Verona on Monday 26th August and it will be classical ballet (women en pointe, men in tights) we are told, with a modern take.  Intriguing.  

 

There are frequent updates via twitter/instagram, from Johan mostly, including names of the others in the 24 strong cast including Valentino Zucchetti as Mercutio, Nikolas Gaifullin (principal at Atlanta Ballet) as Tybalt, and Ross Freddie Ray McCaw (role not yet known). 

 

I’m really looking forward to this unique potentially once in a lifetime event.

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On 26/06/2019 at 21:43, Jan McNulty said:

Have you booked to go to Verona Fiona?

Yes I have - when it was originally announced.  I’m in row 5.   Booking is through www.ticketone.it.  You can change the language to English and choose your seat on the seating plan.  They have beautiful glossy souvenir invitations that you can have delivered, or stick with digital.  

 

The arena is enormous - seats 13,000 for the opera/ballet.  I’ve been to operas there before in the cheap seats €35 - that’s the stone terraces.  You need good cushions!  The stage is a long way away but you can see everything and the acoustics are amazing.  Those Romans knew a thing or two about sound waves.  They do have screens to relay the performance (and have subtitles for the opera) and use lighting and projections to enhance the performance.  

 

The whole thing is an experience in itself - being in this ancient arena with fabulous music surrounding you and open to the sky.  I. highly recommend experience it at least once - and what better excuse than this ballet.  

 

It will be hot so the performances start at 9pm.  Book an air conditioned hotel / Airbnb and have a shower afterwards!

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I went to Verona many years ago to see opera.

 

Are people in the cheaper areas still allowed to light candles?  I was very disappointed that we were in the more expensive seats (it was a trip organised by a gentleman who lived near me and who was a serious opera buff) and could not have candles because our seats were on duck boards and it would have been too much of a fire risk.  It was a magical atmosphere even though I'm not keen on opera.

 

Enjoy your visit!

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Posted (edited)

I only recently learned through the Atlanta Ballet's Facebook page, that--as I see FionaE also mentions above--Nikolas Gaifullin, one of the very best young dancers at Atlanta Ballet, will be dancing Tybalt in this production.   (Kobborg staged La Sylphide for the company this past season and Gaifullin was one of the dancers cast as James.)

 

I am rather a fan of Gaifullin--have been since seeing him make his debut as Basilio in Don Quixote two seasons ago. I liked his Basilio very much, but I must admit I was particularly charmed when after negotiating an awkward costume snafu, he immediately appeared to put some extra "zing" into his next dance phrase as if to underline for the audience that nothing was going to get in the way of the performance. Since then his dancing continues to be a highlight of the Atlanta Ballet performances I attend.

 

Atlanta Ballet does some good and even very good things, but is not a major ballet company (though they have aspirations to become one), and I imagine Verona will be a very new kind of experience for Gaifullin--but I think he is the real deal and hope he has success with this production.

Edited by DrewCo
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5 hours ago, DrewCo said:

I only recently learned through the Atlanta Ballet's Facebook page, that--as I see FionaE also mentions above--Nikolas Gaifullin, one of the very best young dancers at Atlanta Ballet, will be dancing Tybalt in this production.   (Kobborg staged La Sylphide for the company this past season and Gaifullin was one of the dancers cast as James.)

 

I am rather a fan of Gaifullin--have been since seeing him make his debut as Basilio in Don Quixote two seasons ago. I liked his Basilio very much, but I must admit I was particularly charmed when after negotiating an awkward costume snafu, he immediately appeared to put some extra "zing" into his next dance phrase as if to underline for the audience that nothing was going to get in the way of the performance. Since then his dancing continues to be a highlight of the Atlanta Ballet performances I attend.

 

Atlanta Ballet does some good and even very good things, but is not a major ballet company (though they have aspirations to become one), and I imagine Verona will be a very new kind of experience for Gaifullin--but I think he is the real deal and hope he has success with this production.

 

Thank you for this insight into Nikolas Gaifullin.  I assume Johan Kobborg has recruited Nikolas after staging his La Sylphide at Atlanta Ballet.  

 

I love his regal bearing as well as his lovely technique.  I am sure he’ll perform an exciting youthful Tybalt in Verona with panache.  His and Johan’s Instagram snippets are tantalising, and I love how grateful Nikolas is for this opportunity.

 

It’s going to be great!

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22 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

I went to Verona many years ago to see opera.

 

Are people in the cheaper areas still allowed to light candles?  I was very disappointed that we were in the more expensive seats (it was a trip organised by a gentleman who lived near me and who was a serious opera buff) and could not have candles because our seats were on duck boards and it would have been too much of a fire risk.  It was a magical atmosphere even though I'm not keen on opera.

 

Enjoy your visit!

 

Yes to the candles 🕯 in the cheap seats on the stone terraces (at least last year).  Such a simple and beautiful effect - terraces glittering against the darkening sky .

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I’d be interested in views on Johan Kobborg’s comments in Dance Europe July edition about this new production being different?  Specifically:

 

 “the usual dance public expects three-hour productions with all the capes and props” 

 

“With one, long, continuous act the story can move at a fast pace”.

 

It seems to me that this really is changing the face of ballet, or at least offering an alternative way of producing ballets, different to the lavish productions and expensive large company structures at the big opera houses.  

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57 minutes ago, FionaE said:

 

 

It seems to me that this really is changing the face of ballet, or at least offering an alternative way of producing ballets, different to the lavish productions and expensive large company structures at the big opera houses.  

 

Perhaps it is just harking back, Fiona.  Antony Tudor did a celebrated one act R&J in 1943.

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/arts/dance/14tudo.html

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24 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

 

Perhaps it is just harking back, Fiona.  Antony Tudor did a celebrated one act R&J in 1943.

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/arts/dance/14tudo.html

 

Thank you for this Interesting historical information  - starring Alicia Markova in the premiere I see.  Nothing is ever really new!

 

I think there is a difference in that the new Kobborg version for Poluninink will be one continuous long act, rather than a traditional ‘40 minute’ one act ballet.  

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Posted (edited)

Having lived and worked in Italy during the summer, I feel very sorry for the dancers.  It's one thing to sit in an arena on a hot summer's evening, enjoying the experience but it's quite another to dance a demanding role in a full-length ballet.  It may be hot under the lights and in period costume but at least most opera houses have air conditioning.

 

Linda

Edited by loveclassics
typo
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For the audience yes, but not necessarily backstage as singers and dancers don't like it. Bad for the voice and bad for the muscles. When I went on a backstage tour of ROH soon after it reopened, following the major refurbishments,  we were told that air conditioning had been put in the auditorium but not backstage for that very reason.

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@FionaE this sounds absolutely magical and I am jealous!  Have a wonderful time and please do give us a detailed description afterwards :)

 

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Valentino Zucchetti has announced on Instagram that he will perform Mercuzio in this production.  

 

Ross Freddie Ray is Lord Capulet.  

 

Rehearsals are are under way in London and will continue in Italy throughout July as Poluninink company including all the above (except Alina) will be on tour in many beautiful venues in Italy performing Fraudulent Smile and Sacre starring Sergei Polunin.  

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Just wondering why this is in Performances Seen (when it has not yet happened) as opposed to having this strand in News.  Maybe I'm missing something.  

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7 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

Just wondering why this is in Performances Seen (when it has not yet happened) as opposed to having this strand in News.  Maybe I'm missing something.  

 

It’s similar to the many Royal Ballet threads that start discussions before performances commence.

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Joshua and Laurie McSherry-Gray have announced on Instagram that they are taking part. 

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Updates:

 

- Giorgio Garrett (ENB) will be Benvolio

 

- in this version Lord & Lady Capulet are portrayed as young parents of the teenage Juliet which makes so much more sense than the traditional versions where they are old enough to be grandparents!  So they are real dancers - en pointe etc.  Good opportunity for those dancers

 

- Jann Esterhuizen is Lady Capulet.  Anybody know of her?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

In the original Shakespeare play, Juliet is almost 14 and her mother about twice that.

 

That makes her mother an extremely young mother... Is any indication given of her father's age?

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My impression is quite a bit older, but I may be wrong.  And "extremely young" is a matter of modern perspective, I guess: there's some comment in the play that girls younger than Juliet are already (married and) mothers, so it wouldn't be that unreasonable for her mother still to be under 30 (although the Capulets did have other, non-surviving, children - whether younger or older than Juliet I don't know).

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Thinking about the last MacMillan Lady C I saw - Christina Arestis - I don’t see her in the “grandparent” age bracket at all. Lord C can conceivably come across as that age in the MacMillan version but he’s far from doddery!

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1 hour ago, alison said:

My impression is quite a bit older, but I may be wrong.  And "extremely young" is a matter of modern perspective, I guess: there's some comment in the play that girls younger than Juliet are already (married and) mothers, so it wouldn't be that unreasonable for her mother still to be under 30 (although the Capulets did have other, non-surviving, children - whether younger or older than Juliet I don't know).

 

Yes, it is a modern perspective - it must have been standard at the time for very young teenagers to get married/have children (otherwise Shakespeare wouldn't have written the play wot he wrote!). But I'm glad the ballet allows Juliet (and her parents) to look a little older (at least some of the time), since from a modern perspective a 13-year-old getting into this sort of situation (and ending up dead) would not be dramatic or tragic but straightforwardly appalling.

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This is from Wikipedia - I hope it is not too long to quote.

 

One aspect of the story which now seems problematic is Juliet's age. As the story occurs, Juliet is approaching her fourteenth birthday. She was born on "Lammas Eve at night" (1 August), so Juliet's birthday is 31 July (1.3.19). Her birthday is "a fortnight hence", putting the action of the play in mid-July (1.3.17). Her father states that she "hath not seen the change of fourteen years" (1.2.9). In many cultures and time periods, women did and do marry and bear children at an early age. Romeo and Juliet is a play about Italian families. Lady Capulet had given birth to her first child by the time she had reached Juliet's age: "By my count, I was your mother much upon these years that you are now a maid." (1.3.74–75).

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Lady Capulet wears pointe shoes also in Neumeier's Romeo and Juliet. One of my favourite moments of that version is the mirrored pdd between Lady and Lord Capulet and Juliet and Paris in the girl room. Lady Capulet detachment and Juliet distress during that pdd make evident that the daughter is not just fighting for her adolescent love but also refusing the role model proposed by the mother and imposed by social convenience.
The young rebel seeking for freedom and independence is one of my favourite among the many Juliets of Alina Cojocaru and I am very curious to see what her cooperation with Johan Kobborg will generate: after many performances in already existing "Juliets" (I saw her in the six other version she danced - McMillan, Lavrovsky, Moricone, Neumeier, Deane, Nureyev) she has finally the opportunity not only to find and add new nuances to the role but to unleash her imagination from the very first moments of the creative process.

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Wonderful information on Juliet, her mother, her age and also of Alina.  Thank you all!

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We must also remember that life expectancy was very low in those days;  even in the richest families you were probably lucky to pass 40.  So girls started having babies very young, to ensure they reproduced in good time.  Also, from a purely biological point of view, the teenage years are the best ones in which to be pregnant and deliver a baby.

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Not to mention the prevailing attitude back then (and in a lot of cultures since) that once they reached reproductive age that's what girls should be doing - very little chance of other options, like getting an education, back then.  I was interested to realise that Juliet's father had actually been trying to discourage Paris from marrying her too early - I'm not sure I've ever read the play from end to end, so hadn't spotted that.

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2 hours ago, alison said:

Not to mention the prevailing attitude back then (and in a lot of cultures since) that once they reached reproductive age that's what girls should be doing - very little chance of other options, like getting an education, back then.  I was interested to realise that Juliet's father had actually been trying to discourage Paris from marrying her too early - I'm not sure I've ever read the play from end to end, so hadn't spotted that.

IIRC, when Paris says that girls younger than Juliet are already mothers,  Lord Capulet replies that being a mother so early  could 'mar' a girl. I remember clearly that in the Zeffirelli film he made this comment and looked at his wife, as an example.

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Sorry I'm not sure how to embed a video but Alina's instagram has a nice short video of her and Polunin rehearsing. 

 

https://www.instagram.com/dancingalinaofficial/

 

I have to say it looks quite good and I hope if it's a success it comes to London! Seems a shame to limit it only to one performance/venue. 

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