Romeo & Juliet & Mark Morris at the Barbican
On Wednesday, legged it down to the Barbican to see Mark Morris’s R&J, with the score unearthed by the incredible Simon Morrison – not just ‘a Princeton music professor’ as he’s been called recently, but a superstar scholar of Russian music (see more about the R&J score here). Talking of which, Marina Frolova-Walker was there, too. If I don’t do this in bullet points, I’ll never write it all
- David Leventhal and Rita Donahue’s Romeo & Juliet were like your favourite best friends, whose happiness make you cry. Morally and emotionally noble as people, not just affecting nobility in steps.
- What a privilege to hear this score
- How courageous to stage this version, with the happy ending. It’s a much more daring thing to do than to [insert some modern art gag here], which is proved, I think, by all the carping of the critics. Why not at least let’s see what a happy ending looks like?
- I like the happy ending. I always wished it would end like that. I don’t get off on tragedy, not when it’s that avoidable. And you could argue that with all the weight of R&J behind you, isn’t it time to riff on it?
- The speeds were wonderful. Every time it got to the bit where, in someone else’s version, a perfectly nice dance would be slowed down just so the choreographer could cram half the RAD syllabus on every count, I was jolted out my seat by tempi which made sense of the music. The two mandolin dances and the lily dance, for example, and whatever that one with the tambourines and the ornaments in B flat major is called.
- Mark Morris’s dancers look like people dancing, not like dancers pretending to be people.
And on Thursday evening, biked it down to the Barbican again to play for Mark Morris & company class, a privilege and a joy beyond anything else I know (see previous entries)