The London O2 run of the Royal Ballet was a great success this past weekend nonetheless. The bold experiment by the company has brought high art to a whole new type of friends and some political brownie points added in at low prices. The hangar like interior of the Millennium Dome means rethinking Kenneth MacMillian’s presentation of the 1965 Romeo and Juliet strong rock concert lines.
Since there was not a pit the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Barry Wordsworth were put in a glass box above the stage. There sound subtly amplified and flooding the O2 with Prokofiev’s thundering number. Important reaction shots and entrances that may be missed sitting two football pitches away spectators were offer three hug screens above the orchestra.
There is a nerve center of screens that coordinate the six cameras with headsets in the stalls directed by William Trevitt and Michael Nunn ex Royal Ballets stars. The Romeos know which moments must be highlighted to reinforce even though the best efforts are not enough sometimes.
Even though the Royal Ballet thinks that everyone knows about Romeo and Juliet while nice to not be patronized or spoon fed, it is not a sure thing that all 12,000 strong audience members knew the characters or plot.
Crowd scenes were confusing but pas de deux worked what has come to be their usual magic. If this is to be repeated a color coding of the characters may be a necessity like white for Romeo, black for Tybalt or number then on their backs. The conquest of the Royal Albert Hall by the English National Ballet has proved that widening availability does not mean compromising quality and they Ballet was right to join in.