Dubai Opera: When a book came alive on the stage

Watching Romeo and Juliet and falling in love, once again, with Georgian ballet and Sergi Prokofiev’s magic



by

Purva Grover

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 6:37 PM

Each time I look at my copy of the book, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, I think to myself why don’t they make pretty books anymore? Hardbound and ornate, which almost makes your heart skip a beat, with its sheer charm. Watching Romeo and Juliet, performed by the State Ballet of Georgia at Dubai Opera, The Opera District, Downtown Dubai, last weekend, came close to the book coming alive for me.

Pardon my forthright boldness and coldness, if you may, but I have to start by talking about the larger-than-life, heart-breaking scene as Juliet lies on the tomb and her loved ones walk in to pay their tributes. The scene of intense grief, with white and black as dominant colours and the graceful ballet movements, combined with the extraordinary orchestra, is what would stay with me for a long time. Yes, we all know the classic tale and, in this era, many of us have even gathered courage to express what we dislike about Shakespearean writings; yet, we keep returning to libraries, stages and beyond to be retold what’s labelled as the greatest love story of all time.

I returned for I have in the past witnessed performances by the Georgian National Dance Company, and have been a fan of their craft. This time around it was the team of the State Ballet of Georgia that took over the stage, and aptly made me a bigger fan of the Georgian ballet and, of course, of the work of Sergi Prokofiev, who first composed the score in 1935. The ballet is set to the music of this renowned composer, and at many points during the show one realises that it’s the music which is the real star of the performance; and at one point, I did close my eyes to purely soak in the live music. The pain, the love, the anger, and the softer moments of merriment in the story as communicated via the music was the first time I heard the classic being told.

Each and every dancer who moved on the stage, almost like porcelain figures in a snow globe, twirled gracefully, skillfully. Of course, Nino Samadashvili and Oscar, the lovers, were a picture of extreme hard work, dedication, grace and beauty on stage, truly owning the show. The grief depicted after Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, is killed by Romeo, was astounding. The performer, who played Juliet’s personal attendant, was a pleasure to watch, in terms of her acting and energy on stage. And so was the work of the performer who played Count Paris.

We did feel that the show duration (two hours, 50 minutes with an intermission) was a tad long, but then we’re likely to return each time the troupe returns and slowly tap our feet, alongside the heel and toe taps of the ballet dancers, the clink of the swords as the families battle, and of course, take deeper breaths with the orchestra’s notes and chords.

purva@khaleejtimes.com


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