Within the literary genre, William Shakespeare’s capacity for complexity of plot plus characterisation via dialogical detail is unsurpassed. The translation of a famed bardic play into ballet is a dramaturgical and choreographic challenge.
Sir Kenneth MacMillan was commissioned by Sir Frederick Ashton in 1964 to create this balletic Romeo and Juliet. In the absence of the Shakespearean dialogue delivered by Shakespearean actors, Sir Kenneth has created a classical ballet masterpiece.
Romeo and Juliet is a full length ballet in three acts and requires a large company comprised of highly accomplished dancers to perform the thirteen primary roles. Additionally, multiple dancers are needed for the busy village scenes.
Queensland Ballet’s tremendous 2019 production is anchored in the visionary genius of MacMillan’s original choreography. His work is classically formed and an achingly beautiful reflection of emotional, mortal fragility theatrically staged, it is a spectacularly regal work: colourful, powerful and also emotionally painful.
The final agonising pas de deux set inside the death chamber was exquisitely performed by Patricio Reve as Romeo and Mia Heathcote as Juliet. Both dancers received deserved promotions on opening night.
Via emotive musicality, Sergei Prokofiev’s majestic, rhapsodic composition provides the silent dancers with dramatic voice. This work is considered one of the greatest of all ballet scores. Queensland Symphony Orchestra under guest conductor, Alondra de la Parra excelled instrumentally.
The unswerving vision and determination of Artistic Director, Li Cunxin AO successfully brought this ballet to QPAC. Everyone involved deserves high commendation for the tremendous, cohesive outcome of this complex production. Queensland Ballet Company is performing at world class standard. Both the company and the orchestra are a credit to their home state.
Romeo and Juliet
Lyric Theatre – Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cultural Precinct, South Bank (Brisbane)
Performance: Wednesday 28 August 2019 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 7 September 2019
For more information, visit: www.queenslandballet.com.au for details.
Image: Mia Heathcote stars as Juliet in Queensland Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet – photo by David Kelly
Review: Michele-Rose Boylan