Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New York City Ballet – Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, January 21, 2010.

David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center – Second Ring Right, Seat D12 ($47).

Conductor – Faycal Karoui; Juliet – Kathryn Morgan, Romeo – Robert Fairchild, Mercutio – Daniel Ulbricht, Benvolio – Antonio Carmena, Tybalt – Joaquin De Luz, Nurse – Georgina Pazcoguin, Lady Capulet – Darci Kistler, Lord Capulet – Jock Soto, Paris – Adrian Danchig-Waring.

Story: See previous blog.

I bought these tickets through Goldstar at about ½ price. It ended up costing $54.50 per ticket including service charges, which is a good deal. I then found out I had seen this performance before, in early 2008! Nonetheless, we decided to see the show again.

The set looked familiar, much of the music (except a couple of familiar tunes) sounded new, and the story was basically as I remembered it. The set was at first glance an unremarkable center piece that turns into different sceneries called for by the story: house, courtyard, church, tomb, bedroom, etc. It certainly looked simple, but I wonder if the design had to be very clever to accommodate all the different settings. The music is enjoyable, especially the passages that contain familiar tunes. I said many times Prokofiev’s music needs many hearings to grow on me, but this is an exception. The music would be great by itself played by a competent orchestra. Tonight the orchestra was very competent.

At the beginning of the performance the announcer said there would be a substitute for Romeo. This must be difficult to do as there must be a lot of coordination between the particular dancers. I am sure the substitute (standby, understudy, whatever) hadn’t had enough real practice to do the performance well. But I would be hard-pressed to point to any instance where Romeo messed up. It may well be I don’t know what to look for as I am an inexperienced ballet goer.

Kathryn Morgan, who played Juliet, looked very young. Actually she doesn’t appear on the roster as a principal dancer. I thought her performance was good also. The nanny provided some light moments in the otherwise serious story.

Overall, though, this performance didn’t elicit as much an emotion response as the one I saw a couple of years ago. Is it familiarity, or is it because there is a difference in caliber? I can’t tell.

We drove into town mid-afternoon and stopped by the New York Boat Show held at the Javits Center for 90 minutes or so. The show was much scaled down compared to prior ones, a reflection on the economy and how poorly the boat industry is doing, no doubt. We then went to Korean town and had dinner at Wo Jon Restaurant before seeing the show.

The New York Times review (different dancers) is nearly as brutal as the one from two years ago. After reading it, I realized Fairchild has the role of Romeo for other performances during the season, and thus was quite familiar with what needed to be done.

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