My opinion of Prokofiev, based on very limited experience with his music, is that his best work is in ballet, and Romeo and Juliet trumps his score to Cinderella. Maybe if dance was put to Symphony #5 (the only other of his works I've listened to in its entirety) I'd appreciate it more as well.
|Heather and McGee as Romeo and Juliet |
The costumes were of the early Renaissance period with the ladies in long dresses and the men in puffy sleeved, rich fabric short shirt/jackets and leggings. In one of the crowd scenes the women appeared to float across the stage since their feet were hidden and they moved so smoothly. Really an incredible effect!
The balcony scene pas de deux in Act 2, obviously one of the most famous scenes in any Shakespeare play, was danced as a true partnership. The man's job included more than just showing off the ballerina and included a variety of steps. It was like the choreographer knew which ones would make me think "oh that was so neat, let's see it again" and repeated most of those moments.
Near the beginning of Act 2, where there's a townspeople scene that included dancers credited as Carnival Men. These were 4 guys dressed in black and white and danced to a section of music that had a wicked clarinet part! Apparently it's called "Dance with the Mandolins" Watching the clarinetists in the pit was amazing. It was fast, and short, and so precisely played!
The thrust that kills Tybalt was exceptionally realistic. A bit of the magic was lost in that he could be seen visibly breathing after he was dead. Romeo and Juliet on the other head were completely still when they died. Although they hadn't just danced quite as demanding a scene. I don't recall in the play where they are actually alive at the same time in the vault. I was expecting Romeo to find Juliet, expect that she really was dead, drink poison and die. Then Juliet was to awaken, find him dead and stab herself. However, after Romeo has poisoned himself but before he dies Juliet woke up. Talk about a heart breaking moment when you realize you jumped the gun, could have lived happily ever after, and yet are dying. The poignancy of the moment wasn't lost on the audience.
The final bows begin with Heather and McGee which was a nice touch, reassuring anyone unfamiliar with the story (is there anyone still out there like that?) or any children (there were quite a few in the audience) who might think they were really dead, that all is well.
|Juliet's Bedroom scene (national.ballet.ca)|