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If only I'd been in the theatre instead...
on 10 January 2006
Of course there is the full-length ballet on this DVD, together with a stunning orchestral score which would stand alone (although I agree that some of the passages seemed rather funereal in tempo - and I don't mean the actual funeral scenes!)
The choreography and dancing are superb, and I found myself longing to be in the theatre experiencing this for myself. I suppose this feeling is inevitable when watching one of the 'live arts' in recorded format. But my frustration was increased by some incredibly insensitive editing.
Worst of all were the totally unnecessary cuts to close-ups of scenery, presumably to cover awkwardly long scene changes. Personally I would rather look at the curtain, or an empty stage, with possibly a glance at the orchestra; this, after all, is what you would do if you were in the theatre. But to have one's vision restricted to a dark doorway or gargoyle, while the music (and the ballet) are clearly continuing is deeply frustrating and terribly clumsy. The producers should have decided instead to make it as close to the live experience as possible, including pauses and scene changes if necessary.
And having spent the whole production sensibly avoiding close-ups, why send the camera zooming in 'dead' bodies throughout the final scenes? We all know they are actually rather exhausted dancers and therefore will be breathing! It seems utterly pointless to shatter the suspension of disbelief in this way. After all, what is there to move you in 'Romeo & Juliet' if you don't believe in a part of your emotional being that they are dead at the end?
I'm afraid these clanking faults ruined the experience for me. Although I am glad to have seen this marvellous production (including several astonishing lead performances and some sublime choreography), I would not choose to watch it again in this format.