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New York City Ballet: Romeo + Juliet
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New York City Ballet: Romeo + Juliet

- Onstage with the Dancers

75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
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Fax: 212-633-9717

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Romeo + Juliet
Ballet in Two Acts

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children’s Ballet Master, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects, Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations, Katharina Plumb
Assoc., Communications &Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 16, 2012

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Romeo + Juliet (2007): Based on the Play by William Shakespeare, Music by Sergei Prokofiev, Choreography by Peter Martins, Scenery by Per Kirkeby, Costumes by Per Kirkeby and Kirstin Lund Nielsen, Costumes supervised by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Technical design by Perry Silvey, Fight scenes staged in association with Rick Washburn and Nigel Poulton, Performed by Tiler Peck as Juliet, Zachary Catazaro as Romeo, Andrew Veyette as Mercutio, Adrian Danchig-Waring as Benvolio, Amar Ramasar as Tybalt, Darcy Kistler as Lady Capulet, Jock Soto as Lord Capulet, Georgina Pazcoguin as The Nurse, Christian Tworzyanski as Paris, Jonathan Stafford as Friar Laurence, Justin Peck as The Prince of Verona, and the Company as The Montagues, The Capulets, The Ballroom Guests, Juliet's Friends, and The Mandolin Dance. Dedicated to Howard Solomon.

It’s always thrilling to see a Corps debut in a lead story ballet role, and tonight’s debut of Zachary Catazaro as Romeo was no exception. He performed with vibrant, visual shapes, exuding dramatic passion. He had princely gestures and the potential of a danseur. This is a young dancer with a bright future. Tiler Peck was Juliet, a role she has danced many times, but tonight she showed extra emotions, extra femininity. Amar Ramasar as Tybalt exuded a powerful persona, but Andrew Veyette as Mercutio seemed the only character who was miscast. Mr. Veyette is tall and commanding, and just because he can spin and leap does not mean he should be the tragic-comic hero who theatrically dies in a duel.

Peter Martins’ Romeo + Juliet synthesizes this tragic tale of two young lovers, with Per Kirkeby’s large, shifting set and brilliantly colorful costumes adding astounding contemporary motifs. In fact, these motifs remind us of how unrequited love is an eternal tale. I appreciate the Martins version more on each viewing, even preferring it to Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 longer, traditional version. Mr. Martins encapsulates intense emotionality and transfers this psychological dimension to a physical dimension of rapturous lifts (in the impetuous balcony scene and even in the deathly tomb scene.) He even has Romeo drape Tybalt’s head during his stabbing scene, which lasts longer than the viewer expects. Mercutio’s own death scene, with campy delays and repetitive drums, is expanded, as well, for theatrical power. Speaking of power, it should be mentioned that Clotilde Otranto and City Ballet Orchestra never sounded better, with atonal strings and exploding percussion in searing sensuality.

Each character crystallizes the percussive and propulsive Prokofiev score: Romeo carries Juliet high above his shoulders, upside down, presciently running across the stage, as if the moment will disappear; Juliet dashes to Friar Laurence (Jonathan Stafford) in urgent despair, looking for a way out of her arranged marriage to Paris; Paris corners Juliet, almost demanding desire and devotion, a severity masking his sense of rejection; Tybalt (Mr. Ramasar) broods and seethes with hatred and revenge against Romeo and his friends; Mercutio (Mr. Veyette) taunts and teases Tybalt, like torturing a bull before a bullfight; Lord Capulet (Jock Soto, in his signature post-retirement role) slaps Juliet into acquiescence; Lady Capulet (the retired Darci Kistler) enables Lord Capulet’s abusive rants; The Nurse (Georgina Pazcoguin) helps Juliet marry Romeo and then crosses Juliet by assisting in the planned marriage to Paris; and Friar Laurence almost rejects Juliet’s pleas for marriage to Romeo and escape from Paris.

Ms. Peck’s shy playfulness is well matched by Mr. Catazaro’s youthful impetuousness. Ms. Peck dove into Mr. Catazaro’s wide arms under the balcony and in the bedchamber; and even the immediate chemistry, on first sight in “The Capulets’ Ballroom”, was breathtaking. Mr. Catazaro exuded yearning and abandon, and his lines and balance were unseasoned. Mr. Ramasar’s Tybalt was boiling and dangerous. Mr. Danchig-Waring’s Benvolio made more of this minor role than in previous casts, as he is an absorbing presence.

Mr. Martins’ choreography, once again, rivets the viewer, and the surreal sets and costumes seem even more effective every Season, with their black lines, primary color splashes, and movable parts. Rather than dark scene changes, there are seamless scenic shifts. The eye never leaves the stage, nor the dancers, nor the action. This was a daring decision and artistically conceived. Christian Tworzyanski’s Paris was fair and determined, never detached. His wounded pride merged with the many wounds inflicted during this Two-Act Ballet. In the Tomb, desire and longing extend beyond life, with Romeo desperately trying to wake Juliet, then Juliet desperately trying to wake Romeo. There is so much more in Mr. Martins’ Romeo + Juliet than in previous productions. This ballet is gripping. Kudos to Peter Martins.

Zachary Catazaro and Tiler Peck
in Martins' "Romeo + Juliet"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Tiler Peck in Martins' "Romeo + Juliet"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at