Roméo et Juliette — February 6-14, 2015
Choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot
Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Live with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra led by guest conductor Ari Pelto
Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette is back by popular demand for the 14|15 Season after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said “[a]udiences should pack a tissue or two and see this production.” A startlingly fresh take on the well-known Shakespearean masterpiece, Roméo et Juliette envelops you in the tantalizing power of young, forbidden love. An ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day with your special someone.
"Atlanta Ballet’s luminous ‘Roméo et Juliette’ defies analysis. Like first love, it is stirring at every level."
– The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Program is subject to change.
Performance images: Atlanta Company dancers Alessa Rogers as Juliette, Rachel Van Buskirk as the Nurse, Christine Winkler as Lady Capulet, Alexandre Barros as Acolyte, Christian Clark as Roméo, Heath Gill as Mercutio, Jonah Hooper as Tybalt, Miguel Angel Montoya as Acolyte, Benjamin Stone as Benvolio, John Welker as Friar Laurence. Photos by Charlie McCullers.
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the first major performing arts facility built in metro Atlanta in four decades.
Location and Parking
The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is located in northwest Atlanta near the junction of I-75 and I-285, at the intersection of Cobb Galleria Parkway and Akers Mill Road. Self parking is available on site for a $6 fee, and valet parking is available for select performances for a $10 fee.
Emergency Phone Number
(770) 916-2911 is the 24-hour public safety number for the Cobb Energy Centre. Please leave your seat location with your babysitter or answering service so that the house manager may find you in case of an emergency.
The venue is ADA compliant. Designated seats in various locations are available for guests with disabilities and those needing special assistance. The venue is equipped with wheelchair accessible courtesy phones, elevators, plaza ramps, wheelchair accessible ticket windows, and wheelchair accessible drinking fountains. For more information, please call (770) 916-2800.
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In last Friday evening’s Southern premiere and in Sunday’s performance, this troupe’s dancers gave some of their most moving and skilled performances yet seen on the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre stage, including a tour-de-force by Alessa Rogers as Juliette. The production will run Thursday through Saturday.
The production’s minimalist elements allow freedom for character exploration, and Atlanta Ballet’s dancers rise to the challenge with mature, nuanced performances. Though nearly all of the roles are impeccably danced, it is Christian Clark and Alessa Rogers as Romeo and Juliette who shine the brightest. Rogers is wide-eyed and youthful, but her powerful dancing elevates her presence and commands attention. Clark, with his floppy hair and drunk-in-love grin, is the perfect counterpart. Together, they emerge as one character, intertwined and inseparable.
All in all, Roméo et Juliette begins what promises to be a great season for the ballet, and Prokofiev's score sounds great played by the Atlanta Ballet orchestra. Maillot offers up a contemporary take on the story in which the tangle of rage, passion, and action leads - not just to tragedy - but to tortured regret. Roméo and Juliette are still ardent and earnest, still full of youth and bloom as they should be, but there's also an icy polar vortex blowing throughout this tale of springtime. With timeless music and story, there's enough here to satisfy those who want a classic evening, but with Maillot's inventive choreography and the interpretive capabilities of the Atlanta Ballet dancers, there's also enough here to satisfy those seeking a new and surprising take on a familiar work.
The choreography is edgy and contemporary, with unexpected angles juxtaposed with flowing curves, but we are treated to flashes of traditional ballet pyrotechnics as well: four men in simultaneous pirouettes a la séconde, batterie at the speed of light, exquisite arabesques and developpés. The dancers move incredibly quickly: although the excitement ensnares the audience, this is also a dancers’ ballet; the dancers fling themselves through space and time, leaving the audience gasping for air. They fly like Blue Angels on a romp; the stage seems too small to contain them. Observers can tell they love dancing this piece; they own the movement. We are convinced that their characters are real, even when they are conveying intricately difficult passages. It is amazing that they can even remember the complex choreography, which is filled with subtle nuances delivered at speed, much less gift it to us so expertly.
While Welker’s Friar Lawrence is the center of the ballet, the focus is, of course, on the two principles, danced by Alessa Rogers and Christian Clark. Rogers in particular displays a girlish grace that gives way to a passionate love and equally passionate despair. Heath Gill as a mercurial Mercutio and Jonah Hooper as a dark and brooding Tybalt bring respectively sprightly and sinister energy to their roles, while Rachel Van Buskirk provides comic relief with a funny and charming Nurse.
Maillot’s cinematic vision is stripped of artifice and free of period costumes, sets and props. A strong and confident Juliette leads the love story, her character pulled out through Maillot’s lyricism and emotional tension. Juliette initiates the couple’s first kiss and leads Romeo through their scenes together, said Giovanna Lorenzoni and Asier Uriagereka, who are staging the work for Atlanta Ballet.
The action is less about two warring families and more about the psychology of adolescence. It’s told from the point of view of Friar Laurence (danced by John Welker) who, in seeking to do good, allows the worst to happen. The sets and costumes are simple, unrelated to any particular place or time; the choreography is naturalistic and deceptively challenging.
The performances of Clark and Rogers would carry the show because of the prominence of their characters and their performances but the wonderful aspect of the Atlanta Ballet’s production is that the other roles are wonderfully danced and the quality of those performances complements the title roles.
The program cover for this production featuring a lovely Romeo & Juliet embrace, was stunning. The promise of that cover never delivered. Instead of a love story, Romeo
seemed unable to connect with Juliet. The many performances of the male dancers
left me waiting for the grace and beauty of the female dancers. This seemed a male dominated choreography, featuring mostly male jerky athletic movement. I was bored
seeing the women sidelined at all levels.
The costumes seemed to hide the female form, looking more like potato sacks than costumes. Most people watching a ballet expect to see the grace and beauty of the
female dancers as well as male dancers. I did enjoy the talented Lady Capulet.
She shined in her beautiful costume,
her performance was the hightlight of the night.
The scenery was quite sterile and did nothing to help bring the story line together. If
the scenery was meant to stand in contrast to the performance, it fell short.
I would like to have seen more of Juliet whose dancing was great, but not featured
enough to have even told her story.
The orchestra was one of the best I have ever heard. We were kept riveted and
moved with their awesome performance.
It seems a lack of balance, too much yang and very little yin killed this
rendition of the great Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet
Absolutely beautiful. People are shocked that even my husband loved the performance and was ready to purchase for the next ballet.
Fresh take on Romeo and Juliette! The dancing was superb, the costumes were beautiful, and it was just a wonderfully, enjoyable evening all around!
Romeo and Juliette
It was really amazing performance. It is very well played, and even if you don't know the story you can easily understand the plot. I like the way the chronography was made. Great work. Definitely will come back
Such a beautiful ballet!! Wonderful job telling the story!!
Show All 70 Reviews
Jean-Christophe Maillot's Roméo et Juliette 10 sec
Jean-Christophe Maillot's "Roméo et Juliette"
The Get To Know: featuring Alessa Rogers
Born in 1960, Jean-Christophe Maillot studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire National de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes until winning the Prix de Lausanne in 1977. He was then hired by John Neumeier at the Hamburg Ballet, where he danced in principal roles as a soloist for five years. An accident brought his dancing career to an abrupt end.
In 1983, he was appointed choreographer and director of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Tours, which later became a National Centre of Choreography. He created around twenty ballets for this company and, in 1985, founded the dance festival "Le Chorégraphique". In 1987, he created Le Mandarin Merveilleux for the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, which was a great success. He became the company's artistic advisor for the 1992-1993 season and was then appointed director-choreographer by H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover in September 1993.
His arrival at the Ballets de Monte-Carlo set the company on a new path that quickly developed the level of maturity and excellence for which this company of 50 dancers has been renowned for 20 years. He has created almost 30 ballets for the company, some of which, such as Vers un pays sage (1995), Romeo and Juliet (1996), Cinderella (1999), La Belle (2001), Le Songe (2005), Altro Canto (2006), Faust (2007), and LAC (2011), have forged the reputation of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo across the world. Several of these works are now included in the repertoires of major international ballet companies such as the Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Korean National Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, and the Béjart Ballet Lausanne.
Also aware of the work of other artists, Jean-Christophe Maillot is known for his spirit of openness and his commitment to inviting choreographers with a different style to create for the company. In 2000, this same desire to present the choreographic art in all its many forms led him to create the Monaco Dance Forum, an international showcase for dance which presents an eclectic proliferation of shows, exhibitions, workshops, and conferences.
In 2007, he produced his first stage opera, Faust, for the Hessisches Staatstheater and, in 2009, Norma for the Monte-Carlo Opera. In 2007, he created his first choreographic film with Cinderella then Le Songe in 2008. In 2009, he developed the content and coordinated the Centenary of the Ballets Russes in Monaco, which would see over 50 companies and choreographers pass through the Principality in one year, providing entertainment for 60,000 audience members. In 2011, dance in Monaco underwent a major and historical change. Under the presidency of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo now incorporates the Ballets de Monte-Carlo Company, the Monaco Dance Forum, and the Princess Grace Academy of Dance under a single organization. Jean-Christophe Maillot was appointed head of this organization, which now unites the excellence of an international company, the benefits of a multi-format festival, and the potential of a high-level school.
Jean-Christophe Maillot is an Officer in the Ordre du Mérite Culturel of the Principality of Monaco, Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in France. On 17th November 2005, he was appointed Chevalier of the Ordre de Saint Charles by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. In 2010, in Moscow, he received the Prix Benois de la Danse for the Best Choreographer along with the Premio Dansa Valencia 2010.
Biography and photo courtesy of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, www.balletsdemontecarlo.com.
With performances that have been called poetic, earthy, vigorous and highly individual, conductor Ari Pelto is in demand in opera houses throughout the United States. Since his debut in 2004 conducting Verdi's La Traviata at the New York City Opera, Mr. Pelto has been engaged as a regular guest conductor for the company, conducting Madama Butterfly, Carmen and La Bohème in subsequent seasons. Highlights from his most recent season include Romeo et Juliet at Minnesota Opera, Magic Flute at Portland Opera, La Bohème at Boston Lyric Opera and the Cunning Little Vixen at Chautauqua.
Mr. Pelto works regularly at some of the country's most prestigious conservatories and young artists' programs. In 2005, he conducted Don Giovanni at Wolf Trap and returned in 2006 to conduct a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro. At San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, he conducted Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia in 2004. He has conducted operas at the Oberlin and San Francisco Conservatories, the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. He has also been engaged as a regular faculty member and conductor at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, where, in the spring of 2008, he conducted Le Nozze di Figaro.
Mr. Pelto spent the fall of 2002 conducting 30 performances of La Bohème in 20 states with the Western Opera Theater (San Francisco Opera's national touring company), after bringing Cosi Fan Tutte to 21 states the previous year. In 1999, he made his international debut in Germany with the Bochumer Symphoniker, and the same year conducted Lucia di Lammermoor at the Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, CA, returning the next year to lead Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He returned to Festival Opera in 2006 to conduct Tosca. In recent seasons he has had repeat engagements with the Florida Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and the Atlanta Ballet.
At age 24 he became assistant conductor of the Spoleto Festival USA, where he led symphonic and chamber orchestra programs to critical acclaim and was responsible for the musical preparation of productions of Fidelio, Janacek's Excursions of Mr. Broucek, and Britten's Curlew River. From 2000-2002 he served as assistant conductor of the Florida West Coast Symphony in Sarasota, FL, conducting over 30 concerts there.
Mr. Pelto has had the good fortune to work with a number of the world's finest teachers of conducting, including Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, and Mendi Rodan. At the Indiana University School of Music, he studied with the eminent conductor Imre Pallo. While pursuing his degree there, he also served as assistant conductor of the Opera Theater, where he led many performances including those of Don Pasquale, The Marriage of Figaro, Idomeneo, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Falstaff.
He holds a degree in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory and has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral violinist in Europe, China, and throughout the United States. www.aripelto.com
Photo courtesy of www.aripelto.com