Monday, May 25, 2009

Through the Opera Glasses - 18 - Romeo and Juliet

Imagine my joy on Sunday morning when I sat down to coffee and breakfast with my mom - and she pulled out the TV listings and told me Romeo and Juliet would be on PBS that afternoon!

It's been three weeks since I went to see La Bayadere at Empire Theatre's ballet-in-HD series. Long enough to long for another ballet.

When you are a ballet freak like me, you'll take whatever you can get. Even when it's a super-charged emotional story like Romeo and Juliet, performed by a company like the New York City Ballet, known for its non-story ballets, its crisp purity - essentially, not for emoting.

Mom and I sat down in her living room at 3:30 for the whole tragic tale. I was very impressed by Juliet, played by Sterling Hyltin. She had me in tears when she awoke from Friar Lawrence's potion to find Romeo dead.

You can check out some rehearsal footage and part of an interview with Ms. Hyltin here:

Clip from Romeo and Juliet rehearsal

Mom and I were both knocked out by Daniel Ulbricht's performance as Mercutio. He's the dancer in purple clashing swords with Tybalt, in yellow. Mr. Ulbricht gave a solid dramatic performance alongside his superb dance technique and brilliant height with his jumps.

You can check out some weapons rehearsal footage for the sword fights here:

Clip from sword fight rehearsal

The production which aired Sunday is a new work choreographed by Peter Martins. It's always interesting for me to see a new interpretation of something. Whatever form the story takes, I'm willing to go where the director or choreographer, composer or poet points me.

I've seen five different full-length versions of the Romeo and Juliet ballet:

The National Ballet of Canada's version by John Cranko

The Bolshoi Ballet's version by Leonid Lavrovsky

The Northern Ballet's version by Massimo Moricone

The Royal Ballet's version by Sir Kenneth MacMillan

The New York City Ballet's version by Peter Martins

I've enjoyed each one of them.

But nothing moves me as much as Cranko's version. He captured everything there is to say about falling madly, irrevocably in love. Below you'll find the original dancers on whom Cranko set his ballet, Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun in the balcony pas de deux, filmed for German television in the 1970's:

And because the weapons rehearsal footage got me psyched for more sword fighting, here is a compilation clip from one of my favorite shows, Legend of the Seeker:

Nikki says Great Post!! I know so much more about Ballet now.

Deeptesh says post I've ever read Julia.

Shelley Munro says I especially enjoyed the weapons training video.


Ire said...

Great Post!! I know so much more about Ballet now.

I am celebrating 100 posts on my blog Ire.


Ire said...

My display pic is my ring...given to me by my bf...our first anniversary gift!

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Nikki - Squee!

Deeptesh said... post I've ever read Julia.

C my new poem.

Shelley Munro said...

Interesting post, Julia. I especially enjoyed the weapons training video. All of the people involved are very talented.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Deeptesh - That you've ever read? *wagging finger*

Shelley - Aren't sword fights great?

Travis Cody said...

I've never been to live ballet. I don't know why, because I love dance and ballet is such a beautiful form of movement.

We have a very good company in Seattle. I think we'll need to make a point of attending.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Travis - Being in a theatre for a live ballet performance is basically my form of heaven on earth.