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  • Writer's pictureNereid

Opéra de Paris: Romeo and Juliet

In Opéra Bastille,《Romeo and Juliet》is the first three-act ballet I'm finally able to watch after a long break. It's my first time enjoying the version of Ballet Opéra de Paris. This is a flamboyant style of choreography created by Rudolf Noureev.

Romeo and Juliet interpreted by Hugo Marchand and Dorothée Gilbert portray so well two naïve teenagers. In the first appearance of Romeo, Hugo gives us a young boy who only thinks about love, the long and violent argument between the two families, Montague and Capulet drift like a cloud to him.

If I was born in the same era and realm as them, Romeo would be someone charming that I admire so much, but would never be courageous enough to go near him. Even high on the gallery, I can clearly sense the atmosphere filled with lightness created by Hugo; in his body movements, Romeo is surely a fella who lives in his own world.

Dorothée interprets a cheery little girl who "hath not seen the change of fourteen years". The body language of Dorothée makes me believe that she IS that young and cuddly Juliet who has not yet had the concept of marriage.

Audiences can obviously detect the lovable relation between Juliet and Tybalt, played by Mathieu Ganio. We can tell the love and strong bond between the two characters. It is extremely heart-warming when seeing Juliet acting so playful as Tybalt is trying to get her to put on the wedding dress; Tybalt is being fooled around by Juliet because he couldn't force her like the patriarch Capulet.

That's what I admire the most about ballet.

There is neither word nor a line needed to describe the relationship and feelings between the characters; the body language and interactions like Dorothée's and Mathieu's already speak more than a thousand words.

Speaking of Tybalt, his hatred with Mercutio is always one of the highlights in any kind of interpretation of 《Romeo and Juliet》; they bring sparks and tensions to this love story.

Pablo Legasa is a mischievous Mercutio with a load of "bad boy vibe", he creates a completely opposite aura with the rigorous Capulet family.

Pablo and Mathieu seem to be meant for their characters. Mathieu's serious charisma interprets a member from the mighty and stubborn Capulet family and a man who can be short-tempered when it comes to bitter foes. Mathieu creates a Tybalt that can well represent the strength and power that the Capulet family is pursuing.

While Pablo is full of free spirits; his bohemian personality shows no doubt that Mercutio is more attracted to the way of living of the Montague family, who are more of the simple.

However, how would《Romeo and Juliet》be《Romeo and Juliet》if the twist doesn't exist?

Of course, the facial and body expressions of those tragical emotions performed by each of the dancers are exceptional, Dorothée, notably. At first, Juliet is a young girl who is too young to be married; love, family responsibility and other burdens are nothing to her. Dorothée's movements express a radical mental transformation of Juliet: from madly in love with charming and mysterious Romeo to struggling with the death of her dearest cousin slain by the love of her life.

While I am especially impressed by the plot design that Romeo and the rest of his friends think that Mercutio is pretending to be dead, fooling around with the gang and mocking Tybalt as usual. It is such a brilliant scenario to kindle various and complicated feelings of the audience- should we laugh, because of teases of the crew? Or, should we be sad, because of knowing the fact the Mercutio is dying.

(Full text and article available in 2 other languages on Nereid, Elle Rêve)

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