WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet / Mauro Bigonzetti

Prokofiev / Moretti / Compagnia Aterballetto
Release Date: 03/30/2010 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 101399  
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Bruno Moretti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BIGONZETTI, Mauro: Romeo and Juliet (Aterballetto, 2006) (NTSC)

Mauro Bigonzetti


Music montage based on Sergei Prokofiev
Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra
Bruno Moretti, conductor

Mauro Bigonzetti, choreographer
Fabrizio Plessi, set and costume designer
Carlo Cerri, lighting designer

Recorded live from the Theater im Pfalzbau during the Ludwigshafen Festival, 2006.

- Interviews with Mauro Bigonzetti, Fabrizio Plessi, Federico Grilli and Bruno Moretti. Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Read more (bonus feature only): German, Italian, English, French, Spanish
Running time: 101 mins
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)

R E V I E W:


PROKOFIEV Romeo and Juliet Mauro Bigonzetti, choreography; Compagnia Aterballetto; Bruno Moretti, cond; Rheinland-Pfalz st P ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 399 (DVD: 101: 00) Live: Ludwigshafen 10/2006

This is a radical rethinking of Prokofiev’s ballet by choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti and by set and costume designer Fabrizio Plessi. Acknowledging both the familiarity and the universality of Shakespeare’s/Prokofiev’s young lovers, Bigonzetti and Plessi have done away not just with all other characters but with the plot as well. In other words, the dancers in Compagnia Aterbaletto are all Romeos and all Juliets. While love remains, this is far from a romantic reinterpretation. Death plays an omnipresent role, and violence is a constant presence. All this is explained in a 12-minute documentary that precedes the performance.

The ballet is given a futuristic look through Plessi’s use of articles of protective equipment used by motorcyclists, including knee, elbow, and shoulder pads. One of the big innovations here is the occasional use of a motorcycle helmet—not on dancers’ heads, but on one foot, as a kind of misshapen, hobbling boot. A piece of protective equipment thereby becomes anti-protective, and makes every step precarious. This might sound silly, but in practice it is rather effective, particularly as a symbol of risk-taking and even death-seeking behavior. Other symbols used in this production are fiery lava, wind (represented by giant turbines, in which one pair of dancers acts out a steamy and acrobatic love scene), and, at the end, stylized mountains and water. This, then, is a cold, oppressive Romeo and Juliet with big ideas, a lot of sweat and testosterone, and very little innocence. As such, it cannot be recommended as a basic library version. However, for those who like this ballet and who are open to an alternative approach, it has much to offer.

Although there are many duets and solos, this is an egalitarian ensemble performance, and there are no weak links. The dancing owes more to gymnastics than to the grace of classical ballet, but it is powerfully expressive, and often viscerally exciting. Even though this is a live performance, the cameras often move very close to the dancers, caressing their flesh and their faces. The dancers’ expressions thereby become part of the performance as well, and their physical beauty, so intimately recorded, makes the dancing seem more human than it probably did to members of the German audience.

Prokofiev’s score has been cut and reordered, so again, purists beware: This is not the disc to acquire if your first concern is the music. Conductor Bruno Moretti emphasizes the score’s foreboding and violence, not its sweet lyricism. The orchestra is serviceable but not of the first rank. The recording engineers have captured it vividly, and the widescreen videography is excellent too. This DVD was shot and edited not as a souvenir of a live performance but with television audiences in mind, and I feel that was the right decision to make, given the radicalism of Bigonzetti’s and Plessi’s concept.

If Prokofiev’s ballet were to be combined with Rollerball , the result might be very similar to this provocative production.

FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
Read less

Works on This Recording

Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Bruno Moretti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935-1936; Paris, France 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook

Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In