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Jo Tomalin

San Francisco Ballet: Romeo & Juliet

By April 23, 2023May 15th, 2023No Comments

Jasmine Jimison and Ricardo Bustamante in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Lindsay Thomas

Romeo & Juliet opened its run on April 21, 2023, produced by San Francisco Ballet at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. Set to music by Sergei Prokofiev conducted by Martin West and choreographed by Helgi Tomasson.

The romantic story is dramatic and moving. Scenery and costume design by Jens-Jacob Worsaae work together with the lyrical choreography to transport us. Visually the large sets with a bridge are impactful and skilfully used in the mise en scene. Costumes are of rich textures and earth tones that evoke a time gone by very effectively, together with lighting design by Thomas R. Skelton.

Tomasson’s choreography is beautiful in the duets and all ensemble sequences. In fact the ballroom scene is breathtaking when all dancers move forward at once in a show of grace and strength, it’s a powerful image not to be forgotten.

Jasmine Jimison and Angelo Greco in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Lindsay Thomas

Jasmine Jimison is a beautiful Juliet in every way – it is her story – and we are transfixed to her scenes when she is at the ball, meets Romeo, stridently negates her parents wishes of a suitor – and then entangles herself in the tragic events. Jimison is youthful and authentic with muscular precision, joy, freedom and sadness. Partnered with Angelo Greco as her Romeo they are well matched with visceral movement and lovely interactions.

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Lindsay Thomas

A formidable cast play parents and friends of the star struck couple, led by Ricardo Bustamante and Jennifer Stahl as Lord and Lady Capulet, Luke Ingham as Tybalt, Rubén Cítores Nieto and Katita Waldo as Lord and Lady Montague, Max Cauthorn as Benvolio and Anita Paciotti as Juliet’s Nurse.

Sword fights take centre stage in this ballet between Montague and Capulet rivals – dynamically performed by Cauthorn and Ingham – and are some of the best I have seen in a ballet setting, with vibrant and dynamic fight scene choreography by Martino Pistone in collaboration with Helgi Tomasson.

This Romeo & Juliet is not to be missed!

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Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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