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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
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American Ballet Theatre - Romeo and Juliet

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 28, 2004
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

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American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre (office)
890 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

About the Author:

American Ballet Theatre - Romeo and Juliet


Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters: Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson

Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 28, 2004

Romeo and Juliet (1985): (See June 11, 2003 Review). Choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Staged by Julie Lincoln, Music by Sergei Prokofiev, Scenery and Costumes by Nicholas Georgiadis, Lighting by Thomas Skelton, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Angel Corella as Romeo, Alessandra Ferri as Juliet, Herman Cornejo as Mercutio, Ethan Brown as Tybalt, Sascha Radetsky as Benvolio, Gennadi Saveliev as Paris, Victor Barbee as Lord Capulet, Georgina Parkinson as Lady Capulet, Kirk Peterson as Prince of Verona, Maria Bystrova as Rosaline, Susan Jones as Nurse, Frederic Franklin as Friar Laurence, Jennifer Alexander as Lady Montague, Clinton Luckett as Lord Montague, Erica Cornejo, Stella Abrera, and Kristi Boone as Three Harlots, and the Company.

Mr. Corella and Ms. Ferri were the ethereal but doomed lovers tonight, and Ms. Ferri brought to the stage her extensive experience in this role (I cannot remember how many years I have seen Ms. Ferri perform as Juliet, but it's been a considerable length of time, and she is as refreshing and rapturous as ever). The uncountable images of Mr. Corella sweeping new love off her lonely feet (as he rejects Rosaline and she rejects Paris) and then cradling the "sleeping" figure moments before she awakens to his poisoned and lifeless form are emblazoned in memories and played again and again in our reverie of this majestic, yet star-crossed affair.

Mr. Brown as Tybalt and Mr. Cornejo as Mercutio, along with the charismatic Mr. Corella, skillfully executed fencing scenes that crashed and clashed the Capulets and Montagues, and drew forth the wrath and death of friends and townspeople, plus the surreal and percussive death scenes of the two leads, Tybalt and Mercutio. Mr. Cornejo exudes unbridled athleticism, and tonight was no exception. His early solo in the market place magnetized the audience. Mr. Brown knew exactly how to position one bent knee, in defiance and daring. His death scene was as dramatic as were his duels. Mr. Cornejo's famed death scene, replete with mandolin and false lapses, included mock mirth and almost child-like charm.

Frederic Franklin, 90 years old, as Friar Laurence had a significant role tonight, and with arms up-stretched toward the audience (as if to the heavens) he seemed larger than life. Mr. Radetsky, as Benvolio, seemed a bit strained early on, but then relaxed into his role and was an important presence in the two dynamic death scenes. Mr. Saveliev, who performed as Tybalt last year, was Paris this year- from brash to brooding, and he played the rejected, but desirous suitor with pathos and primal power. Ms. Bystrova, as Rosaline, was the quintessential harlot, and her bird's nest hair and ruffled skirts added to the daily, driven dances in the market place.

One of my favorite Corps ensemble scenes in all ballet is the Dance of the Capulets at the Ball. In Sir Kenneth MacMillan's famed choreography there are tilted heads and heavy garments, head coverings, and a weightiness and grandeur that captivates imagination of historical Verona and this Shakespearean tale. (Many years ago, I actually saw the famed balcony in Verona that inspired this tragic tale, and it was a magical moment). Mr. Georgiadis' marbleized and textured scenery and costumes in browns, burgundy, black, and gold are breathtaking, as is the potent Prokofiev score, with its maximized drama and depth tonight, thanks to Ormsby Wilkins' conducting.

One of my personal treasures is a pair of signed ballet slippers, worn and autographed some time ago by Ms. Ferri, and I can only hope she dances the role of Juliet for many seasons to come. Mr. Corella is unmatched as her current partner (Julio Bocca no longer dances this role and was formerly unmatched, also partnered with Ms. Ferri), and he has grown into this muscular and theatrical role with sensational skills and an obvious adoration for Ms. Ferri. He does partner other Juliets, but this duo is deserving of the numerous curtain calls that followed the performance, including one extra showing of their own after-death scene in the Capulet family crypt. Mr. Skelton's lighting was ever changing and ever effective in each daylight, moonlight, sunrise, or candlelight scene.

Kudos to Alessandra Ferri and Angel Corella. Kudos to Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Sergei Prokofiev.

Marcelo Gomes of ABT
Photo courtesy of Dr. Tommy NG

Julio Bocca of ABT
Photo courtesy of Dr. Tommy NG

Ethan Brown of ABT
Photo courtesy of Dr. Tommy NG

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