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The Russian State Ballet of Siberia – Romeo and Juliet

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia is in the middle of an intensive three-month tour of the UK, performing five ballets. This week the company is in Brighton. Formed in 1978 at Krasnoyarsk, the company appears to specialise in giving opportunities to young dancers and its production of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet showcases what is best about Russian ballet, in particular the twenty strong Corps de ballet which, in their various roles and stunning costumes are the heart of this staging, being very athletic and precise in everything they do.

Russian State Ballet of Siberia
Russian State Ballet of Siberia

In the role of Romeo, Georgii Bolsunovskii looks the right age and is able to act as well as dance, his various duets with Juliet being amongst the highlights of the evening. She is portrayed by Natalia Bobrova who is very well matched, being the same height as Romeo when she dances, and there appears to be great rapport between the two.

Comedy is in the hands (or feet) of Ksenia Liapina as the nurse, who received the biggest applause of the evening at the curtain calls, making the most of the inventive choreography ( Sergei Bobrov) she had been given.

Yury Kudryavtsev impresses as Mercutio as does Matvei Nikishaev in the role of Tybalt, especially in their fight scene.

Paris, who wishes to marry Juliet, is given a predominantly orange costume so that he refuses to blend into the background, giving every opportunity for Maksim Ikonostasov to impress in this often overlooked role.

Those who know the ballet will discover that this production omits about 40 minutes of Prokofiev’s music and re-orders some of the rest, giving a playing time of just under two hours including interval, making this ideal for a newcomer to ballet, especially given that the dancing is often visually breathtaking, as are the costumes, designed by Dmitry Tcherbadzhi who is also responsible for the simple set – just black legs and ever-changing projections, allowing the whole stage tor be used by the 30-strong company.

What prevents me from giving this enjoyable evening five stars is the playing of the orchestra under Alexander Yudasin which sounded under-rehearsed, even allowing for the re-orchestration from a large symphony orchestra down to about 25 players. Strings especially sounded undernourished and the intonation was at times painful on the ears!

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia nearest visit to London is to ATG’s New Wimbledon Theatre 21-23 February. There is some superb dancing to be seen, both for balletomanes and for first-timers!

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Shakespeare’s tale of primal passion and timeless tragedy is brought to life by Prokofiev’s soaring score, set in bustling Renaissance Verona and with an emotionally charged choreography that befits the world’s greatest love story. From the grandeur of the masked ball to the intimacy of the lovers’ balcony, this star-crossed story of duels, bitter family feuds and love that cannot be, is unmissable.

Formed in 1981, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and unusual depth. The soloists and corps de ballet are superb, and never fail to delight audiences with their breath-taking physical ability and dazzling costumes.

Sergei Bobrov Artistic Director
Anatoly Tchepurnoi Music Director and Chief Conductor

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia
Brighton Theatre Royal until 9th February 2022
New Wimbledon Theatre 21st – 23rd February 2022
Bristol Hippodrome 25th-26th March 2022
Liverpool Empire 14th-16th February 2022
Edinburgh Playhouse 4th-5th March 2022
New Theatre Oxford 10th-12th February 2022

Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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