I know now why I fell so for Roberto Bolle when he danced here with Alessandra Ferri two years ago: Romeo is his role. This is the best I’ve seen him this season. He thoroughly inhabited the character — from flirting with the prostitutes, to dreaming of Rosaline, falling for Juliet, raging uncontrollably at Tybalt after he kills his friend, immediately and horribly regretting what he does to Tybalt, and to his heart-clenching grief on finding Juliet seemingly dead.
Both he and Irina acted perfectly — no melodrama, no underacting, nothing the least bit overwrought — they were just two young people in love whose situation tornadoed suddenly and tragically out of their control. I preferred Irina’s death scene to Diana Vishneva’s the night before. Irina didn’t do any of the throwing the arms up and the head back; she just kind of contorted her body and cried while she realized what she had to do. Which, to me, was more real — less spectacle, but more real. And they danced superbly. I’ve never seen him dance so well — he nailed every twisted jump, his turns were faster and more precise than I’ve ever seen them, and the lifts were gorgeous. Very perfectly pashmina!
Craig Salstein was an excellent Mercutio, acting the part probably better than anyone (as I’d expect him to). Something rather funny happened at the beginning of the mandolin dance, though. Craig tossed aside his mandolin with a bit too much gusto and whoever was supposed to catch it didn’t and the thing went flying through the air like a saucer, sailing right over Roberto’s head, nearly missing it, and continuing on straight into the wings, where it made a very loud crash. Everyone onstage laughed as did the audience, and Craig shrugged his shoulders, smiled cutely, and continued on with his dance. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout that whole dance. It was okay, though — it’s a rather frivolous scene, pre-double homicides. Would be pretty wild though if the lead was knocked out by an out of control prop.
Jared Matthews not only danced Benvolio very well but acted the role well too. I didn’t catch him doing any of his usual cliched gestures and he genuinely seemed like Romeo’s playful friend. I think everyone feels at home in this ballet. I really think it’s all-around ABT’s best production.
Anyway, I’ll write more later. But now I have to go to bed. So … I can get up and go back for more ABT 🙂