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 Post subject: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:42 pm 
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Alessandra Ferri returns to the ROH to play Juliet in place of Darcey Bussell:

Romeo and Juliet
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian


The last time Alessandra Ferri danced Juliet at Covent Garden she was counted one of the Royal's three ballerinas most likely to succeed. Yet, while her fellow starlets (Fiona Chadwick and Bryony Brind) stayed at home, Ferri took her chances abroad, where for the past 18 years she has danced with American Ballet Theatre and La Scala. On Wednesday night she was back at last, replacing a convalescent Darcey Bussell. For much of the first act, however, she looked as if the experience was terrifying her.

Ferri is as physically mesmerising now as she was at 20. Her haunted eyes, far too big for her face, and her legs, extravagantly long for her tiny body, promise intensity the minute she walks on stage. But on Wednesday, her natural edginess and fervour were exaggerated by nerves, and at times the rhythm of her dancing, as well as her acting, seemed thrown off balance.

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Romeo and Juliet
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


Ballet is an art obsessed with youth. Teenagers acquire stardom; fans - and directors - will give students the close attention usually reserved by racing trainers for promising colts; the glue factory looms for artists as their third decade closes. And yet . . . some of the greatest dancing I have seen came from ballerinas and premiers danseurs in middle life. All of which serves to celebrate the return to the Royal Ballet of Alessandra Ferri as Juliet on Wednesday night. Not that Ferri is an antique but, a leetle ungallantly, I record that she joined the Royal Ballet in 1980, and for five years her performances - notably in the MacMillan repertory - were as beautiful in style as in emotional force.

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Romeo and Juliet
by Allen Robertson for The Times


NOT only has Alessandra Ferri been dancing Juliet for more than half her life, she has also played the role twice on film. The performance she gave at Covent Garden on Wednesday, the opening night of the Royal Ballet’s two-week run of Kenneth MacMillan’s staging of Romeo and Juliet, illustrates how an artist and a role can fuse into a single ravishing entity.
Ferri, who turned 40 last month, left the Royal for American Ballet Theatre in 1985. She’s back as a guest artist, substituting for Darcey Bussell, who has just undergone an operation on her ankle.

Her performance is a near miracle of emotional legibility, particularly in the final act as Romeo flees Verona and Juliet is left to cope on her own with a hostile, grown-up world closing in.

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Back to beguile
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telegraph reviews Romeo and Juliet at Covent Garden.


We go to see Romeo and Juliet again and again and again, jumping onto the emotional roller coaster thrillingly created by Shakespeare, Prokofiev and MacMillan, like addicts ever seeking that buzz. A love that we wish we could feel, that consumes the world, that has no future other than the present mind-sozzling ecstasy.

Twenty years ago, following the initial impact of the Seymour/Fonteyn generation, it was the 19-year-old Alessandra Ferri whom MacMillan seized on as the embodiment of Juliet - tiny, alabaster-pale, intensely solemn and explosively passionate. He chose her to make the Royal Ballet video in 1984, and the celluloid positively crackles with excitement whenever she appears.

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<small>[ 06 June 2003, 12:43 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 1:49 pm 
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Alessandra Ferri was, is, divine. She is Juliet straight from the pages of the play and if Roberto Bolle was not quite the Romeo you would have for her, nor was Angel Corella in the latest video/dvd version in which she appears. It is possible to fall in love with love itself, after all. But she is absolutely divine.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:12 am 
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Sleeping with the enemy
Alessandra Ferri returns after 19 years as a dazzling Juliet. By Jann Parry for The Observer

Royal Opera House, London WC2 When Alessandra Ferri made her debut as Juliet 19 years ago, she did something in her very first scene that told us we were in for a great performance. I have yet to see anyone match that moment - not even Ferri herself on Wednesday night, returning to the Royal Ballet as a guest for the first time since 1985.

She had left the company then to make her career with American Ballet Theatre. Like Alina Cojocaru now, Ferri had shot up through the Royal Ballet's ranks, taking on leading roles in Kenneth MacMillan's ballets when barely out of her teens. What she did so tellingly as Juliet was to show how hungry the girl was for experience.

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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2003 5:14 pm 
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My memories of 1984 were not misplaced - Alessandra Ferri is still, after 20 years, the worlds greatest Juliet. Tonight Miss Ferri was incomparable - the part was superlatively danced of course, but acted with great subtlety and emotional force. A very moving experience indeed, and she was given strong support from Bolle and the whole company


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:11 pm 
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I saw the Saturday matinee (7 June 2003) with Alessandra Ferri and Roberto Bolle. Ferri remains at the height of her powers and her dancing has an ease and grace that is very beguiling. An ex-dancer friend told me that she had beautiful feet twenty years ago and that remains the case.

However, what marks her out as an exceptional Juliet is the natural way that her acting blends with the expressive qualities of her dancing in a seamless fashion. She uses the suppleness of her back not just for effect, but also to express emotion.

Roberto Bolle has the looks of a danseur noble and his technique in double tours etc is impeccable. In addition he looked after Ferri assiduously. And yet…and yet. Somehow he does not set sparks flying, primarily because his acting has little flair or emotional charge. In addition, he is a dancer whose photographs must look wonderful, but his movement can be a little awkward. Perhaps it is his height that makes MacMillan’s choreography tricky. In the pas de trois with Mercutio and Benvolio before the Ball, both Ricardo Cervera and Edward Watson had greater panache in the same steps.

Cervera was a sparky Mercutio throughout and Watson made the steps look very beautiful as usual. The harlots – Zenaida Yanovsky, Laura Morera and Vanessa Palmer were wonderful and stole the second act. MacMillan has given them the best movement in the ballet outside of the duets. It is in the range of emotion of these duets that the power of the ballet lies from the first meeting, the balcony, the separation, the extraordinary duet with Paris as she struggles and then resigns herself to her fate and finally the short and devastating duet in the funeral vault. The final tragedy always seems to rush by too quickly for me and I wish Prokofiev had provided more music for this scene. Nevertheless, the closing tableau with Ferri stretched backwards over the edge of the marble slab is heart breaking.

The force and innovation of MacMillan’s choreography and the wonderful score make this one of my favourite ballets and Alessandra Ferri and the supporting cast made it into a memorable afternoon.

<small>[ 10 June 2003, 01:15 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:42 pm 
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An article from The Guardian that compares newspaper reviews on the piece.

Quote:
The Royal Ballet ended its 2002-2003 season with a two-week run of Romeo and Juliet, the late Kenneth MacMillan's first full-length ballet. Despite having been performed at Covent Garden more than 350 times, "the ballet draws me back with stars that can inject new life into the familiar steps", said Louise Leven in the Sunday Telegraph. Critics were especially impressed by Alessandra Ferri, whom "20 years ago MacMillan seized on as the embodiment of Juliet - tiny, alabaster-pale, intensely solemn and explosively passionate" (Daily Telegraph).

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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:32 am 
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A couple of reviews from The Independent.

Quote:
It's an odd sort of town, this Verona imagined by Kenneth MacMillan for his production of Romeo and Juliet. Three of the most prominent citizens are a trio of whores always cluttering up the market square with their rude antics. They do everything together, but one thing they never do is find any customers, although they do have a bizarre knack of occupying the attention of the three leading men, whom we might think rich and handsome enough to pull much prettier birds. Anyway, what are these tarts contributing to a tale of young love?

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Principal men being in short supply, we've grown accustomed to the stream of male guests flown in to eke out Royal Ballet casts. Not women, though. It took an exceptional set of circumstances - the absence of Darcey Bussell, undergoing surgery on an ankle, the presence of Milanese guest partner Roberto Bolle, and the heightened expectations of a first-night Romeo and Juliet - to prompt the Royal to call up Alessandra Ferri, a one-time Royal Ballet favourite who defected to American Ballet Theater 18 years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 1:36 pm 
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Romeo & Juliet
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage


Now one of the company's most popular works, Shakespeare's tragedy of star-crossed lovers inspired this 1965 creation by Sir Kenneth MacMillan to the Prokofiev score. One of its strengths is that the performers in the crowd scenes form an integral part of the work. With clashing swords there are two spirited fights before the killing of Tybalt – strongly performed by William Tuckett with Ricardo Cervera's Mercutio, beautifully danced with the right humorous touch and a foil to the stylish Benvolio of Ivan Putrov.

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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 10:36 pm 
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Review from The Sunday Times.

Quote:
At Covent Garden, the Royal Ballet closed its season celebrating Kenneth MacMillan on the 10th anniversary of his death with the latest run of what must be his most popular ballet, Romeo and Juliet. Created in 1965, it has been almost permanently in the repertory, and will be back again next season. Generations of audiences have thrilled to it, and generations of dancers have starred in it.
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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 5:03 am 
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Romeo and Juliet
Royal Opera House, London

Luke Jennings
Saturday November 1, 2003
The Guardian

Quote:
It's hard to see what David Makhateli's Romeo is doing hanging around Verona with the likes of Mercutio (Martin Harvey) and Benvolio (Edward Watson). Where they are ballsy, bold and resolute, Makhateli is a teenage innocent, going through the motions of whoring and street-fighting but not really meaning it. Even Vanessa Palmer's buxom harlot fails to get much of a rise out of him. This Romeo is in way over his neck - a well brought-up boy whom his strutting, streetwise chums are just itching to turn bad.
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The fact that Tamara nearly didn't dance anymore is chilling. Read the interview about the bad ballet shoes: Interviews

<small>[ 01 November 2003, 06:07 AM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 1:14 am 
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Review from The Times.

Quote:
JUST four months after its last appearance on the Royal Opera House stage, Romeo and Juliet is back. On Thursday night, Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 take on Shakespeare notched up its 363rd performance at Covent Garden. A popular blockbuster, certainly, but why bring it back now, so soon, for yet another go? Perhaps to give Monica Mason, the Royal Ballet’s director, a chance to show off her new Romeos.
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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 5:16 am 
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Romeo and Juliet Covent Garden
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


Romeo and Juliet, said the Royal Ballet programme on Thursday night, and as the evening wore on I knew that they had forgotten the question mark.

Back on stage came the company's cash cow, its sure-fire box-office hit, replete with the most recent Georgiadis designs, with Boris Gruzin from the Mariinsky inspiring vivid orchestral playing, and with a cast of numbing adequacy save (in my view) for two artists who clearly believed that the performance was one in which life-blood should be spilled.

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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2003 4:38 am 
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And Juliet is the sun
Ismene Brown reviews Romeo and Juliet at Covent Garden for The Daily Telegraph



Ballerinas are a company's crown jewels, and they need looking after. If you have the Hope diamond, you don't stick it on a Matalan jacket. Tamara Rojo, opening yet another run of the Royal Ballet's favourite ticket-seller, Romeo and Juliet, has been partnered with a low-grade new signing and a cast that on opening night looked thrown together rather than lovingly planned.

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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2003 10:59 pm 
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Clement Crisp seems to really, really like Tamara Rojo, judging from his two reviews of her from the opening two Royal Ballet productions this season. He appears to be lukewarm about everyone else - pretty much like the rest of the critics - but he really singles out Rojo for some really warm praise. Is that a pretty good assessment of her abilities?


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" 2003
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:26 am 
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Romeo and Juliet
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage


Shakespeare's tragedy of star crossed lovers inspired this 1965 creation by Sir Kenneth MacMillan. With a virile clashing of swords there are two vigorous fights before the killing of Tybalt, robustly performed by William Tuckett, with Martin Harvey skilfully dancing Mercutio and the stylish Edward Watson as Benvolio.

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