Romeo and Juliet, a glimpse into Shakespeare’s characters

Romeo-e-Giulietta-Alina-Somova-Roberto-Bolle-ph-Brescia-Amisano-Teatro-alla-Scala_rehearsalWhen you are watching two beautiful creatures dancing on a music which chases, anticipates and recalls one of the most excellent and lamentable tragedy*, you should feel all the arts smiling and weeping together. We are in the stunning frame of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, on a balcony too, so close to peer on each face, costume and musical instrument. On the stage is going to start the two-hours’ traffic written by Willian Shakesperare which Kenneth MacMillan has brought to almost three. The star-crossed lovers are Roberto Bolle and Alina Somova, two demigods whose beauty makes sometimes forget the misadventured piteous overthrows of Romeo and Juliet. To close the magic circle a young orchestra follows their conductor, Zhang Xian, a strong and passionate Chinese woman who leads them with her whole body and soul almost wrapping the dancers with Prokof’ev’s music.

Romeo-e-Giulietta-Alina-Somova-Roberto-Bolle-ph-Brescia-Amisano-Teatro-alla-Scala_2To translate all that ancient grudge and death-marked love in choreographic movement is not so easy, even apart from the Bard’s language. MacMillan has privileged Juliet’s role in his version, deepening the psychological sides of a childlike girl suddenly forced into maturity. We all still remember Alessandra Ferri in her young childish games playing with the nurse, avoiding the prince more as a fancy, growing her malice at the feast, letting herself fall in love at the balcony, passionately wounded in the bedroom’s scene until the final desperate faithful act. Juliet is a difficult role, constantly changing and growing, always quick-witted. Alina Somova is pure astonishing beauty and perfection; arms and legs neverending, faultless technique, deeply elegant and graceful. Her character is always noble, without that initial dreamy, innocent and almost naughty spark. An unripe girl with little joy amd much selfawareness. But when facing doubt and agony, it comes out a delicate suffering woman whose feelings are never shown in an extreme way, either she is dancing a passionate moment or the final desperate grief.

Romeo-e-Giulietta-Alina-Somova-Roberto-Bolle-ph-Brescia-1Amisano-Teatro-alla-ScalaAnd then there is Romeo, perfectly played by a Roberto Bolle in wonderful shape. Romeo is an exagerate character, who seems superficial in his initial immaturity, lets himself be overwhelmed by melancholy, worships Juliet, and reacts almost histerically to the various catastrophes. Bolle’s natural nobility is difficult to hide, but he plays the game often amusing himself, strongly supporting his partner, resting on his new love, living his passions and rebelling to the bitter fate.
Well-played also the other men roles, from the quick-tempered and proud Tybalt – danced by Mick Zeni – to the playful and histrionic Mercutio – Antonino Sutera – the wise trustworthy Benvolio – Marco Agostino – and the handsome Paris – Gabriele Corrado.

[*Shakespeare’s prologue]

Lara Crippa

“Romeo and Juliet” by Kenneth MacMillan, seen at Teatro alla Scala, Milano October 16th 2014

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