Review: Romeo & Juliet, Moscow City Ballet

This was a very colourful production (choreography by Victor Smirnov-Golovanov) with macabre elements (skulls, executioners, vultures, skulls) rather crudely underlying the tragedy. Although it was melodramatic, I really enjoyed it, particularly the male dancers who were the highlight of the night, leaping, kicking, prancing, twirling – even when dying in some cases!

IMG_0279 Romeo & Juliet smallRomeo meeting Juliet at the ball (photo courtesy Moscow City Ballet)

I saw Talgat Kozhabayev and Alevtina Lapshina in these parts but the image is not fully credited – Romeo looks different but Juliet the same. Kozhabeyev was good as Romeo but, sadly, Alevtina was not really up to Juliet which is a very difficult part in any production, demanding the innocence of a 14 year old girl with the skills of a principal ballerina. However, she shone in the final pas de deux as Romeo dances with her ‘dead’ body – always a very moving scene.

The strange layout of the Watford Colosseum meant I was very close to the small (c. 30 piece) orchestra who did well with Prokofiev’s ravishing score (my favourite full length ballet score), although their very good conductor is not credited in the cast list. I could see facial expressions and finger work in fantastic detail: very different from the view from the ROH amphitheatre.

IMG_2531The orchestra setting up (my photo)

I saw three versions of Romeo & Juliet in 2011 (the ENB’s twice) but there were none around in 2012 so it was good to see it again, even in this simple touring production. Reading earlier reviews, it appears a different, more highly praised dancer played Juliet in the early stages but both the male corps de ballet and the orchestra have clearly improved considerably since then. All in all, if they are dancing anywhere near you then this is well worth visiting and the Watford audience certainly loved it.

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