Romance is dead
Casey Snider | Norfolk, Virginia United States | 11/13/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Don't pick up this DVD expecting to see a classical rendition of this famous tale...you will be sorely disappointed. The Lyon Opera Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" is a hard-edged, sterile, and chilly retelling of one of the most famous love stories in history. Angelin Preljocal's choreography is described on the box as "startling", and that much certainly applies --- the choreography is decidedly modern, with not a pointe shoe in sight. The problem is, it doesn't seem to fit the music. Let's look at the "Balcony Scene" as an example. If you've ever seen a production of the original Kenneth MacMillan choreography, you'll remember the soaring lifts and sense of giddy abandonment that accompanies Prokofiev's exquisite score. Don't look for that here. The scene starts as Romeo slits an armed guard's throat on a catwalk. Juliet sheds her oversized white shirt to reveal what looks like bike shorts and an elongated corset with bizarrely accented nipples (?!) as Romeo enters. The music takes flight but our lovers remain obstinately earthbound, groveling, stomping, and flailing in a pas de deux that more often resembles a violent rape than the tender meeting of smitten young lovers. In one repeated motif, Romeo tries to fling Juliet's limp arms around his neck several times, only to have them drop bonelessly down again. The Kirov this is not.In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I've never liked modern dance to begin with, and this production did nothing to change my mind. The dancers aren't BAD, mind you; watch for some stunning feats of agility and strength. In her first entrance, Pascale Doye (Juliet) performs a forward bend into arabesque and rises slowly onto half-toe, then does several passes before moving into an agonizingly slow developpe a la seconde, again rising to half-toe with nary a wobble. (Also, watch for the German shepherd later in the ballet.) It's just that this production is murky and cold, and it's hard to tell what's going on at times. Still, if you enjoy avant-garde choreography you might want to give this one a look. But if you don't, steer clear."
Quit whining ,challenge yourself
Gordon S. Cook Jr. | 05/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"quit whining and challenge yourself you 'classical fundamnetalists'!
the negative reviews on this, ' oh, it's not faithful to prokofiev, wah, wah, wah', etc.
these are the attitudes that have killed 'classical music' which is better and more accurately termed as artmusic.
the classical crowd has become soooo conservative, so unwilling to challange themselves, accept change, or ,god forbid, listen to a composer who isnt dead, that they have in affect killed the form and buried it under a mile of dust.
interpetation is simply an artists choice to see this in a subjective aesthtical view and it might be benefecial and rewarding to think of 'accpeted pieces' in a view that differs from yours.
if we cant stop being fundamentalistic regarding our pre-conceived notions on art then will make the form an extinct one."
An Absolute Waste
Gordon S. Cook Jr. | New Jersey USA | 07/25/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen this danced by the Royal Ballet in the 1960s and by the Kirov in 1996. This is a travesty. Snippets of the music... not the full score with scene fillers by some other modernist. This to me was a porn version - shortened at 85 minutes - the full score runs more than 140 and even the traditional La Scala version is 115.
I was a fool not to read the reviews fully here before I purchased. I since have bought the LaScala version which is fine. The first customer review about says it all - don 't pay any attention to the official Amazon one.
Everyu thing here is trashed...music dancing and story."