Saturday, January 27, 2007

Military Hardware, Deadly Potions....

...it must be Romeo and Juliet at the Opera and Ballet Theatre! Prokofiev's version, that is. Choreographer Michael Lavrovsky, it seems, had his 65th birthday last year, as All Russian News stated:

to One of the most well-known Russian dancers, the national actor of the USSR Michael Lavrovskomu 65 years are executed.
It danced the main parties to " Don Kikhote ", " Swan lake ", "Nutcracker", " the Sleeping beauty ", "ZHizeli", "Spartake".'

Hope you get the drift. I am not sure what the 'double' is about the anniversary, and I also wonder about the size of the All Russian News translation budget.

Anyway. The orchestral start was so bad, so rough, so missing the first violins that I thought of going there and then. Unison in the winds? What's that? During the first interval I heard the front desk of the celli practice a slide, and the players landed on different places every time. Also noted that the orchestra has a fine set of brand new looking double basses, and that there were 4 violas to 6 celli. Unusual.

Once the dancing started, I was riveted. A wonderful production, funny, lots of energy, lots of crowd dancing, stunning costumes, Juliet was sublime! And as for the sword fights - masses of swords all over the place, their clashing almost drowning out the orchestra! It was mostly classical ballet, in a very traditional setting with lots of major scene changes (nothing symbolical or minimalist here) but with a few, very few, touches of modern ballet. Given that the choreographer is a mere slip of a guy at 65, and modern ballet, as we know, has been around since the 1920s, that's the very least he should have done.

The guy who danced Mercutio was dead good looking (and later just dead). He swaggered around, an arrogant and funny b....., taking the mick out of everyone else, and especially his opponents. It was a bit unfortunate that Mercutio looked very like Romeo's arch enemy (Tybalt?), and what with costume changes one could get confused.

It did not seem entirely right that the priest gave Juliet the poison that would kill her; what kind of priestly behaviour is that in dealing with a lovesick 13-year-old? Would not pass modern social work practice.