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Thread: Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet

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    Default Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet

    Easily my favorite ballet, and musically as well. Prokofiev really defines his writing when he created this piece. The music itself is extremely attractive, and I find myself humming bits from all Acts of the ballet, despite it being a two and a half hour endeavor. I've really wanted to dissect this piece for a long time - what are some things you noticed in this piece that you found unique, or hell, you didn't like it. Technical talk of chords are encouraged! As well as anything related to music composition.

    I'll start with a compliment: I'm a huge fan of La rue séveille in act one, it's such a cute minuet that I hum all the time. Prokofiev takes this original melody and creates some absurd variations of it as well in later scenes.

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    I've seen it once on stage - in Berlin. I also have a DVD of Nureyev/Fonteyn, which obviously is not state of the art from an A/V standpoint, but . . . need I say more. Actually I chose it so I could follow the dancing closely with the help of Greskovic's "Ballet 101."

    On audio disc I only have the Suites. I have listened to the entire score courtesy of Tidal and considered purchasing it. Although, maybe a Blu-Ray video from this century might be a better choice. Gergiev?

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    I've seen it three times, all by American Ballet Theater at the Met in NYC.

    The best ballet-both for music and choreography that I've ever seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    I've seen it once on stage - in Berlin. I also have a DVD of Nureyev/Fonteyn, which obviously is not state of the art from an A/V standpoint, but . . . need I say more. Actually I chose it so I could follow the dancing closely with the help of Greskovic's "Ballet 101."

    On audio disc I only have the Suites. I have listened to the entire score courtesy of Tidal and considered purchasing it. Although, maybe a Blu-Ray video from this century might be a better choice. Gergiev?
    I've heard Gergiev in the past, i'm a big fan of his notation, but I have to say I like David Garforth's interpretation much better. You can find the full ballet on YouTube if you feel obliged to take a look.

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    Carlos Costa and Tamara Joju are the stars in this wonderful DVD.

    http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/0743337
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Regrets, I didn't and don't have the technical chops to analyze the components of this work, so all I can offer is my subjective opinion. My first exposure to this ballet was the 1955 Soviet film version with Galena Ulanova and Yuri Zhdanov in the title roles. It was making the rounds in the art movie house circuits at the time, and had been my initial experience viewing a complete ballet. I'll never forget Ulanova's first appearance as Juliet in her chamber. In her forties then, she certainly didn't look like any teenager to me (I was a teen, myself, at the time,) and then she started to dance. Sonofagun! She really was Juliet!. I found the experience so transporting that I returned for every showing during its three day run. This occurred decades before the inter webs, so the film in its entirety had not been accessible to me since, but recordings of the suite kept the memory fresh.

    Recently, I did get the opportunity to see it again, YouTube, of course, edited, sadly, to squeeze into a one DVD version. By this time I had seen enough ballet to look at it more critically, but it remains a treasured experience from my teenhood. And I still love the complete ballet score. It always does the job.
    Last edited by znapschatz; Jan-12-2017 at 14:05. Reason: grammar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Carlos Costa and Tamara Joju are the stars in this wonderful DVD.

    http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/0743337
    Bookmarked! Thanks for that! Now if only I didn't have to pay for a DVD..

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    Quote Originally Posted by znapschatz View Post
    Regrets, I didn't and don't have the technical chops to analyze the components of this work, so all I can offer is my subjective opinion. My first exposure to this ballet was the 1955 Soviet film version with Galena Ulanova and Yuri Zhdanov in the title roles. It was making the rounds in the art movie house circuits at the time, and had been my initial experience viewing a complete ballet. I'll never forget Ulanova's first appearance as Juliet in her chamber. In her forties then, she certainly didn't look like any teenager to me (I was a teen, myself, at the time,) and then she started to dance. Sonofagun! She really was Juliet!. I found the experience so transporting that I returned for every showing during its three day run. This occurred decades before the inter webs, so the film in its entirety had not been accessible to me since, but recordings of the suite kept the memory fresh.

    Recently, I did get the opportunity to see it again, YouTube, of course, edited, sadly, to squeeze into a one DVD version. By this time I had seen enough ballet to look at it more critically, but it remains a treasured experience from my teenhood. And I still love the complete ballet score. It always does the job.
    I've been interested in hearing older interpretations of the ballet. I'll look into finding a recording from around that year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Macduff View Post
    Bookmarked! Thanks for that! Now if only I didn't have to pay for a DVD..
    Well the have often sale, so keep a eye on that site.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    I have Previn/LSO performing the complete Ballet...it is good, but some of the Suite recordings are better in comparative pieces....I may pick-up the Maazel/Cleveland complete one of these days - It's been highly recommended by trusted sources...I'm not usually a Maazel fan...but sometimes he delivers the goods..

    There are many, many versions of the "Suites" - with many different samplings available....my overall favorite is the great Mitropoulos/NYPO from 11/57 - this provides a decent overview of the dramatic action - the performance is splendid, Mitropoulos obviously loves this music, and the NYPO wild men of the 1950s are in full cry all the way...real "bravura" playing....plenty of panache...
    another fine, and extensive sampling is Salonen/BPO - from 10/86 on Sony...found it in the cutout bin....the Berliners sound great, much more lively and flexible than they sound under HvK from that era....

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    I saw this at the Met last year.. Tears were streaming down my face by the end of it. Every time I hear that last movement I just want to fall to my knees and weep at its altar, it's so beautiful. I adore the 5 dancing couples piece too (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiTvXrsRG-M) , it's so cheeky and wicked and fun. Juliet's theme is so pure and childlike. As we already know from Peter and the Wolf, the man can channel the most pure, evocative melodies completely devoid of any platitude.

    I read somewhere that Prokofiev did not actually orchestrate this though. The source was an interview with a ballet conductor, I believe.. seemed legitimate. But I couldn't find another source. Anyone know anything about it?

    Prokofiev, bless his heart, originally intended to alter the ending so that no one died. But Stalin wouldn't have it. Years later, Stalin would again interfere with Prokofiev's death narrative by dying a couple of hours before him, leaving him with no flowers, just a sad little pinecone on his grave via Sviatoslav Richter. The truth is so much stranger than fiction.
    Last edited by sprite; Mar-25-2017 at 05:22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sprite View Post
    Prokofiev, bless his heart, originally intended to alter the ending so that no one died. But Stalin wouldn't have it.
    nor Shakespeare would. Stalin was spot on as always.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    nor Shakespeare would. Stalin was spot on as always.
    oh I agree. I find it adorable that Prokofiev wanted that but I'm glad Stalin intervened.

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    The Dance of the Knights is terrific:

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