Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Historical: Galina Ulanova & Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet

This film of the great Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova, dancing with Mikhail Gabovich, was made in 1951 and it's the bedroom pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet. It's fascinating on several counts: Ulanova herself, profoundly expressive and tender; the choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky, which is not often seen in the UK; and, not least, the tempi, phrasing and pacing of the music, which is exceptionally flexible, songful and highly characterised. The score was written just 16 years earlier in 1935 and revised in 1940; and when this extract was filmed, Prokofiev was still very much alive. Unfortunately the conductor and orchestra are uncredited here, but it's probably reasonable to assume that it is the Kirov. Enjoy.