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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet [DVD] [2013] [NTSC]

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Federico Bonelli, Lauren Cuthbertson, Alexander Campbell, Bennet Gartside, Dawid Trzensimiech
  • Format: Classical, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Feb. 2013
  • Run Time: 158 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B8X51HU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,797 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Given its premiere by The Royal Ballet in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing the title roles, Kenneth MacMillan's first full-evening ballet has become a signature work for the Company, enjoying great popularity around the world. From the outset, the production teems with life and colour as the townspeople, market traders and servants of the rival Montagues and Capulets go about their daily business in vibrant crowd scenes. But Romeo and Juliet take centre stage for those great pas de deux: the meeting in the ballroom, the balcony scene, the morning after the wedding and the final devastating tomb scene. Although The Royal Ballet has performed Romeo and Juliet over 400 times, each performance and pairing is subtly different and Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are utterly captivating in the title roles.

Press Reviews

"... dance quality in this performance was technically exemplary at every rank in the cast hierarchy. No detail was left unpolished, from the magnificence of the ballroom scene to the market place, which was imbued with plenty of colour and dynamism from the harlots in particular. Intrinsic to the whole, of course, was Prokofiev's magnificent score. Its performance by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under the baton of Barry Wordsworth was achingly beautiful." (Independent Dance Reviews)
"... [the] performance exemplified the Royal Ballet's high standards of seamless, naturalistic and musically attentive dance acting." (The New York Times)
"Such is the breathtaking impact of this production, with consistent excellence to savour from both principals and the corps, magnificent costumes and stage scenery and spot-on camera direction from Ross MacGibbon that criticism is effectively silenced. If you have been waiting for a truly outstanding Romeo and Juliet to appear on Blu-ray, then look no further." (International Record Review)
Cast
Lauren Cuthbertson (Juliet)
Federico Bonelli (Romeo)
Alexander Campbell (Mercutio)
Bennet Gartside (Tybalt)
Valeri Hristov (Paris)
Christopher Saunders (Lord Capulet)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Barry Wordsworth

Stage Director: Monica Mason; Christopher Saunders
Choreographer: Kenneth MacMillan
Catalogue Number: OA1100D
Date of Performance: 2012
Running Time: 168 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Label: Opus Arte

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This new disc, recorded in March 2012, comes into the most direct competition possible with the previous recording. That was made in November 2007 by Decca, also at the Royal Ballet with the same production but with a different cast and a Russian conductor. One might be forgiven for being rather confused at this stage as it seems that they will double up so closely as to be an unnecessary duplication. In reality they are very different performances with a completely different emotional effect almost throughout.

Individual timings of various sections are an indication of the different approaches to the interpretation. In the earlier version starring Acosta and Rojo with Boris Gruzin conducting tempi are noticeably faster with tauter movements in many sections (such as in the crowd scenes or the sword fights) than in the new version with Federico Bonelli and Lauren Cuthbertson starring with Barry Wordsworth conducting. Some of the gentler sections can be startlingly different too such as Juliet's dance in act 1 taking just 2'20'' with Rojo compared to just over 3 minutes with Cuthbertson for instance. The ensemble pieces with their slower speeds in particular have completely different effects. The market scenes in the earlier version have an unmistakable sense of menace, the harlots' dance has an aggressive edge, the dance of the knights (Capulets) is clearly a demonstration of menacing power on the earlier version while the new version is more of a measured demonstration of stateliness.

This difference in interpretation between the two performances is apparent throughout and equally applies to the main characters, Romeo and Juliet. Acosta is all about strength and power and he is matched by Rojo's apparent fragility.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A good performance of Macmillan's R and J, as you would expect from the Royal Ballet. It's difficult not to compare it with the Rojo/Acosta version. I'd say that Tamara Rojo has the edge as Juliet over Lauren Cuthbertson, but that Lauren's interpretation is very interesting, being much more English, or perhaps I should say, much less Latin. Acosta is technically superior to Bonelli as Romeo, I think (I 'm not an expert), but Bonelli has the edge dramatically, for me. It is much clearer to me why Romeo kills himself at the end, and Bonelli keeps up the passion better than Acosta. The supporting roles are good in both productions, and it's worth having both DVDs simply to compare the different interpretations, particularly of Mercutio. I think the filming and editing in this version are slightly better. There is an informative extra feature on the difficulties of sword fighting to music.
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By Bruce TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Feb. 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I went to see this production at Covent Garden many years ago and it has been going for over 400 performances, making it undoubtedly one of the most popular. Now we have another version on Blu Ray, only a few years after this one Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet [Blu-ray] [2007] [2009][Region Free]

The reason seems to be that this comes from a performance that was broadcast live to cinemas around the world in March 2012; giving an opportunity to produce this recording. Everything about this exudes quality and from the excellent orchestra conducted by Barry Worsdworth, to the sets and costumes - it's all top notch.

What I remember from the Royal Opera House was that in the audience, the sound of the dancers' feet landing was much louder than expected and at times overpowering Prokofiev's delicate scoring. But in this recording, everything is perfectly balanced - every detail of the orchestra is heard and the physicality of the dancers comes across just as well. DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound helps and the orchestra sound closer than the stage noises.

Picture quality is excellent and every detail comes across, due to the sympathetic lighting and you are left to enjoy the spectacle unhindered by any aspect. Of course, the reason this is popular is that there is plenty of action and the story is very familiar. Along with some truly memorable tunes, the whole thing flies by in a whirl.

The Blu Ray package is generous with over two and half hours of the ballet and several extras about the making and one of the most exciting aspects - the swordfights. The booklet included is excellent, with many photos and detailed indexing, information and synopsis. Highly recommended.
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Oh my, if you are into the ballet this is heaven on a plate!! Just fantastic, mesmeric and totally amazing, such skill from these wonderful dancers. The interpretation of the ballet was from the classic which was a treat as so many go for the contemporary version. This is dreamy and I can highly recommend.
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Format: DVD
Nobody dances Kenneth MacMillan's ballets better than The Royal Ballet. Largely created on them or taught to them by the choreographer and the first casts, the idiom is in the dancers' blood. The Kirov once brought Manon to Covent Garden, but were unwilling or unable to get down and dirty with the drama.

Luckily, a recent run of DVDs has recorded the original style of MacMillan's dance dramas - Manon, Mayerling and Romeo and Juliet are now available on film with several different casts. This latest account of Romeo and Juliet, broadcast live in cinemas last year, is a superb case in point, in which dance and theatre are given equal weight.

Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are a decidedly fresh-faced pair of eponymous lovers. Rather than the brooding Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta on Decca's recent DVD account, this new Opus Arte film offers the promise of idealistic young love. Bonelli mixes Italianate swagger and the far-off look of an enrapt Romeo. Cuthbertson takes longer than some interpreters to change from girl to woman, yet the sense of erotic release in the pair's Act 3 bedroom pas de deux is gripping. Both here and in the famous balcony scene, they bring accuracy and expressivity to their movements.

This all-too-hopeful pair is caught in a tempestuous world of harlots, sword fights and bullying fathers. Christopher Saunders' Lord and Bennet Gartside's Tybalt are particularly articulate in communicating the pugilistic nature of the Capulet household. Unabashed in their bullying of Juliet, quick to anger, even the poised pageantry of the ball could quickly change to a brawl.

Although superbly danced, Alexander Campbell's Mercutio and Dawid Trzensimiech's Benvolio are slower on the dramatic uptake.
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