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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:44 am 
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I too was surprised that the critics failed to find any redeeming features in this production, but every review I’ve read mentioned that the love story, which is the very heart of the ballet, just didn’t come across. This to me was the fundamental flaw in the work.

Love, of the young and doomed variety, was what I expected to see and that was what I didn’t get. I must have seen quite a number of productions of Romeo and Juliet over the years and if I have a favourite version it is probably Vasiliev’s, where he takes the unconventional step of having the orchestra on stage with the dancers. Preljocaj, I seem to remember, gave us one of the most unusual and most brutal versions ever produced but the moments of tenderness between the two lovers was such that it had me in tears. I think you would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by Preljocaj’s ballet. The fundamental failing of this Bolshoi production is that the fate of the lovers leaves you cold.

The Bolshoi now has a second auditorium specifically for the production of new works and I believe this R & J was first seen there rather than in the main house. Would the reception have been different had this piece been presented at Sadlers Wells and marketed as a modern work rather than being shown at the Opera House?

Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that the Bolshoi now has no fewer than three productions of R & J to call upon as the Lavrovsky and Grigorovitch versions are both still in the repertoire, so I don’t think that traditionalists need worry about this version replacing existing ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:51 am 
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Your point about Sadler's Wells is a good one Cassandra. The Preljocaj modernist version was well-received there a few years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:06 am 
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Romeo and Juliet
By John Percival for The Stage

Declan Donnellan's new production of Romeo and Juliet for the Bolshoi Ballet is unusually short. He has chopped out prominent characters and quite a few incidents in order to concentrate on the two lovers. However, he never lets us see them alone together, they are always surrounded and even carried around by the undifferentiated ensemble.

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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:11 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Swan Lake
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Born at the Bolshoi in 1877 and continuously in its repertoire since, Swan Lake is the most widely performed ballet in the world. This is Yuri Grigorovich's 2001 production that is split into two rather than the usual three acts. With four scenes it works well moving between Siegfried's real and imagined worlds. It is fresh, makes dramatic sense and has an unusual
ending with the Prince finding himself loveless and alone rather than expressing the triumph of love over adversity.

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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:36 pm 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Oh, Romeo, wherefore?

By JANN PARRY
The Observer
August 1, 2004

The Bolshoi, however, likes to think of itself as open to new ideas. The ballet's previous artistic director, Yuri Grigorovich, introduced his own epic 'concept' ballets during his 30-year reign, helping forge the company's heroic style. Now it's trying to leap forward again, replacing his 1979 Romeo and Juliet with an updated version by Declan Donnellan, co-founder of Cheek By Jowl and ex-associate director at the National Theatre.
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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2004 4:06 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
That sinking feeling
David Dougill for The Sunday Times fails to fall in love with the Bolshoi’s Romeo and Juliet.


The Bolshoi Ballet’s new Romeo and Juliet, which shifted their Covent Garden season into a different gear last week, is the most radical departure imaginable from the company’s classical image, an utter contrast to their time-hallowed Lavrovsky staging of Prokofiev’s ballet.

This is the Bolshoi daring to go modern — that is, modern dance in modern dress. Yet the production, for all its boldness, manages to feel oddly old-fashioned, at least partly because the Moscow troupe, long entrenched in traditional ways, has been left behind by decades of dance experimentation in the West and so has some catching up to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:58 pm 
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After allowing it to sink in a little I have to agree with Cassandra's point that the love story that should be at the very centre of this ballet just did not come across.
Above all else I was very disappointed with the balcony scene during which the 'lovers' were separated in this production. In the programme notes Donnellan talks about the major significance of the balcony in the play and the fact that the lovers cannot touch because they are physically separated by it. This is all nice and well since in play you have words that allow the characters to express their love for each other regardless. Movement language does not exactly work in the same way and the beautiful score could not do the trick on its own. I had a hard time seeing Romeo and Juliet as lovers at all at that point and I guess I was not alone.


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:03 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Bolshoi's `Romeo and Juliet' in London Lacks Emotional Impact
From Bloomberg

The Bolshoi Ballet, one of the world's top classical dance companies, has jettisoned tradition. Its new production of ``Romeo and Juliet,'' which had its U.K. premiere on Monday, abandons ballet shoes, traditional costumes and even chunks of Prokofiev's original score.

This attempt to inject modern high drama into a classic results in an effortful production which aims to be closer in tone to the youthful urgency of the 1957 Romeo and Juliet makeover ``West Side Story.''

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<small>[ 03 August 2004, 03:03 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:15 am 
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Location: London UK
Quote:
In the programme notes Donnellan talks about the major significance of the balcony in the play and the fact that the lovers cannot touch because they are physically separated by it.
This is rather odd because there is no balcony in the play. Having a balcony is just a theatrical tradition that has grown up over the years, so giving it the extra significance that Donnellan does simply doesn't make sense to me.

Over the weekend there were no fewer than five letters of support for this production printed on the Guardian's letters page including one written by the theatre critic Michael Billington. Several made the same observation that I did - that there was no booing at the first night and that the audience reaction was actually very warm.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1273225,00.html

I suspect that for a non-ballet audience this was a very vibrant production, but for a ballet audience with expectations about dance and choreography, it left much to be desired.


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:13 pm 
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Location: London
Bolshoi Ballet - Romeo and Juliet
Wednesday 28 July 04
Reviewed by Julia Skene-Wenzel

After a turbulent five years and four artistic directors later, the Bolshoi is back in London, eager to assert its status as one of the world’s leading ballet companies. Its program features a winning spectrum of trademark classics, the reconstruction of Petipa’s first success ‘The Pharaoh’s daughter’ and a radical, new interpretation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The later designed to mark the Bolshoi’s decisive departure into the 21st century.

British theatre director Declan Donnellan, respected and admired in Russia for his innovative theatre work, was given the opportunity to create a contemporary version of this classic tale of star-crossed lovers. In collaboration with choreographer Radu Poklitaru, he aimed to reveal its essence, the mythical character behind the Shakespeare story. The result is a piece of dance theatre, focusing on the main story line only: the love between Romeo and Juliet and the fatal fight between Mercutio and Tybalt.

Framed by the corps de ballet, the story unfolds in Nicholas Ormerod’s minimalist setting of coloured cubes. Stripped of pointe shoes, lavish costumes and virtuosi, the cast is battling through a brave new world. But while Anastasia Meskova rises to the challenge and is able to breathe life into Juliet, the choreography proves too much for most. Stuck between Mats Ek’s modernist style and Jerome Robbin’s memorable choreography for ‘West Side Story’, Poklitaru does not manage to distinguish individual characters. With relentlessly high jumps and jerky wiggles the Montagues and Capulets hover around the scenes like a Greek chorus, pulling the strings of fate, while Romeo and Juliet explore each other with childlike bliss.

Keeping the lovers apart was one of Donnellan’s main aims - separation being the ultimate fear of anyone who loves, and he paints his vision in bold images, like the corps de ballet transforming into a giant balcony that prevents the lovers from touching. However, within these elaborate symbols and the somehow already dated choreography, the core of the story quietly fades away. The power of Romeo and Juliet is love - love that elevates above the mortal body, love that unites spirits and lives forever, but this production is so focused on being modern that it turns cold.

The Covent Garden audience reacted with mixed feelings. There was general recognition for the effort that had gone into this production and the significant step the Bolshoi has taken here. But this is another case where less would have been more. By breaking with all of ballet’s traditions, this production has lost its heart and its place. A venue more affiliated with modern dance might have minimised the impact of the later.
In an interview with Dance Europe, Alexandrova gives an insight to its reception in Moscow. She feels that “the young people especially have accepted it wholeheartedly. This production is about them. It is about now. How life happens in Moscow. It is not ten years before or ten years later, it is exactly about the present time.” Taking this into consideration, it does not feel right to condemn this production. Capturing the zeitgeist of Moscow and the Bolshoi, it is a sign of its time. We shall look forward to the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 4:27 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Romeo and Juliet
By John Percival for The Stage

Declan Donnellan's new production of Romeo and Juliet for the Bolshoi Ballet is unusually short. He has chopped out prominent characters and quite a few incidents in order to concentrate on the two lovers. However, he never lets us see them alone together, they are always surrounded and even carried around by the undifferentiated ensemble.

click for more


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 6:54 am 
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Location: Roma , Italy
Romeo and Juliet
Bolshoi Ballet
27.07.04

To be honest, I have to admit that after looking at the general program of the Bolshoi season I was a bit suspicious of this brand new production of Romeo and Juliet, set in contemporary times. It is no master piece but it was not as bad as I had suspected.

The Capulets are portrayed as a gangster family. We should remember that in the Middle Ages such families behaved just like criminals and forget our romantic ideas about that period. Tybalt is dressed like a gangster in grey, wearing jewellery. The guests at the Capulet's are very cheap people and Lady Capulet is sexually attracted to Tybalt to her husbands disappointment. She shows affection for her daughter by shedding a tear when her husband attempts to push Juliet into marrying Paris against her will. She knows all too well how it feels to be trapped in a loveless marriage. Juliet is portrayed like a real teenager. When she falls in love with Romeo she is still a girl after all. From time to time the music stops and she runs across the stage laughing. Romeo is a nice guy but there is no other Montague around.

The corps de ballet is nearly always on stage. It is there in the balcony scene preventing the lovers from touching or kissing, it is there in the bedroom and in the tomb like an ever present witness. The choreographer Radu Poklitaru used some sort of contemporary dance language, which is neither innovative nor original. All the principals were brilliant.
I loved Anastasia Meskova as a lovely Juliet and Yuri Klevtsov as a cheerful Mercutio.
The rest of the company was rather good but they seem more at ease in the ballet repertoire.


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 Post subject: Re: Romeo and Juliet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 5:27 am 
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Location: London UK
The Moscow Times mulls over the British critics' response to the Bolshoi's new Romeo and Juliet.

http://context.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2004/08/13/107.html


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