Friday, 29 November 2013

(Romeo and) Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House - reviewed on 21st November
 
Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta in Romeo and Juliet
Photo: ROH / Bill Cooper
Following hugely successful guest appearances with the company in Swan Lake in 2012, Natalia Osipova was invited to join the Royal Ballet as principal and made her official debut in Romeo and Juliet last week. Having now seen Osipova in Giselle, Don Quixote and Laurencia as well as Swan Lake, my expectations of this superb ballerina were sky-high, but they were thoroughly exceeded.
 
In Act I, her Juliet was sprightly and playful as she leapt about the stage, playing with her doll and then dancing excitedly with Paris. On meeting Romeo, her passion was tangible - overwhelming and confusing her before she gave in to her feelings. But most moving were the Act III potion scenes, where she displayed the severity of her situation with such clarity and emotion that it brought a tear to my eye. I could read Osipova's every thought as she struggled to find a way to escape her fate. The ballet's tragic ending was equally powerful, with her reaching out to her beloved Romeo as the curtain closed creating a haunting image that is embedded on my mind.
 
Though Osipova is not trained in the Royal Ballet style, she showed a good understanding of the intricacies of Kenneth MacMillan's choreography in this first performance, and I imagine as she becomes more familiar with the company's repertoire, her classical English technique will develop even  further. This exquisite ballerina is a wonderful addition to the Royal Ballet and I simply cannot wait to see her performing again.

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