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Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Peter Schaufuss stages Sir Frederick Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet," with Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova, July 11-17, 2011 at the London Coliseum. Laura Thompson previews the performances in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

This is apparently a very scaled down version of Ashton's ballet and looking at the swathes of seats still unsold on the Coliseum website the prospect of this pairing isn't exactly wowing the punters. I intend to see this production next week though, as Natalia Osipova is very much the big star of the future and astonishing both technically and emotionally in every role she undertakes so I’m looking forward to seeing her Juliet very much.

By the way it seems the Telegraph's critic has a short memory as both Yuri Vladimirov and Yuri Soloviev had a higher jump than Ivan Vasiliev as did Nureyev on a good day.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Another publicity interview this time from the BBC:

Surprised that Osipova needed help from Vasiliev with the questions as I thought she now dances with ABT for much of her time. Nice pictures though.

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

This production previewed yesterday and receives a gala performance tonight. The Guardian has put on line this rehearsal video: ... liet-video

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

The first review has appeared: ...

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Additional reviews of "Romeo and Juliet."

Judith Mackrell for The Guardian.

The Guardian

Ismene Brown for The Arts Desk.

The Arts Desk

Clement Crisp in the Financial Times.

Financial Times

Mark Monahan for The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Romeo and Juliet
Peter Schaufuss Ballet
Coliseum London
12th July 2011

Frederick Ashton’s version of Romeo & Juliet has a patchy performing history in Britain; originally created for the Royal Danish Ballet, most will only have seen it during the Peter Schaufuss directorship of Festival Ballet (now ENB). It is probably the full scale Ashton ballet that I know least well, so not so easy to point out the changes that had undoubtedly been made throughout much of the work; the major clue to cuts is the running time with the evening coming to an end well before ten. Prokofiev wrote an awful lot of music for this ballet, much of which is seldom used but I imagine the music for the Dance of the Knights, possible the most familiar passage of the ballet, will have been missed by many. The sets pose a problem with strips of purple light at the sides and a background of Italianate projections, some apt and others less so. This pared down approach is no doubt an excellent idea for touring though perhaps inappropriate for the substantially sized stage of the London Coliseum

If I had reservations about the settings, I had none about the dancers with the cast being led by the stellar Natalia Osipova, a dancer who illuminates every role she attempts. She danced Juliet as if by instinct and her very realistic approach to the role put her firmly in the Lynn Seymour mould of interpretation. She wasn’t a starry-eyed dreamer, more a headstrong teenager fuelled by hormones and a need to carve out her own destiny. I had fears that her partner, Ivan Vasiliev, would prove less than perfect as Romeo and I was right, as the romantic nature of Romeo was missing from his characterization, though to be fair the bursts of ardour in the duets were convincing, however some passages of the choreography showed up some deficiencies of technique with much of the footwork proving too intricate for him. Mercutio was danced by Alban Lendorf of the Royal Danish Ballet, a dancer for whom no footwork will ever be too difficult and from my point of view he came close to stealing the show – what a star!

The first night gala had guest stars galore in the shape of a number of dance veterans boosting the cast, with a still agile Wayne Sleep as Peter the page, Wayne Eagling as the Prince of Verona and Marguerite Porter (who appears to be defying the aging process) and Stephen Jefferies as the Capulet parents. According to the glossy £10 programme, Lynn Seymour and David Wall were to have played the opposing Montagues, though both were no-shows with a surprise appearance of perennially handsome Donald McLeary as the sole Montague parent instead. Beryl Grey opened the proceedings with an introductory speech that seemed to excuse the cut back production by claiming that it was created for the confines of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. True, that theatre is smaller than the Coliseum, but it is still a fairly standard size for most European houses. After all you need a lot of space for Bournonville. Ms Grey also mentioned how Peter Schaufuss had first danced in London at the age of twenty, and I remember him so clearly from those days: utterly gorgeous and cute beyond belief. He was a major adornment of the UK ballet scene for many years and I derived great pleasure from seeing him in the role of Friar Lawrence on opening night as his transition from premiere danseur to character dancer reflects the traditions of the Danish Ballet where older dancers bring their stagecraft and experience to those crucial roles where acting is all important. Friar Lawrences in general tend to plod around the stage looking grave, but Schaufuss turned the Friar into a far more complex and engaging character with a keen awareness of all the implications of the doomed love affair he was called upon to preside over.

The evening opened and closed with a huge portrait of Frederick Ashton centre stage and for all the changes this production has undergone, the hand of the master stills shines through.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Zoe Anderson reviews "Romeo and Juliet" for The Independent.

The Independent

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Neil Norman reviews "Romeo and Juliet" for the Daily Express.

Daily Express

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

The following from Lindsey Winship in the Guardian: ... n-vasiliev

One small error here as Seymour and Wall did not appear on gala night.

As usual with Guardian reviews, readers may make their own comments (mostly rubbish), but this observation from Angie Holsworthy merits quoting here:

My mother, past the age of blogging, thought that while Vassiliev was magnificent, she wondered who actually choreographed what he was dancing,
and I quote:

"Sir Fred couldn't have choreographed that on man, not in 1955. Did he give free hand to Schaufuss peré to do what he did best, I wonder?"

Or did Schaufuss fils rechoreograph the piece to accommodate Vassiliev's talent?

There is of course a third scenario - that Ivan Vasiliev chose to enhance the steps to suit himself as he did in the Bolshoi's production of Le Corsaire last year.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashton's "Romeo and Juliet" at the London Coliseum

Jeffery Taylor reviews "Romeo and Juliet" fr the Sunday Express.

Sunday Express

Jenny Gilbert for The Independent.

The Independent

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