Universal triumphs with 'Romeo and Juliet'
Principal Yu Zeung’s Mercutio stands out from rest
By Rachel Lee
Universal Ballet has once again presented a masterpiece to local audiences.
After receiving excellent reviews for John Cranko's Onegin, Universal Ballet, led by Julia H. Moon, staged Kenneth Macmillan's 1965 version of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Seoul Arts Center's Opera House from July 7 to 14.
Scottish-born dancer Macmillan was one of the ballet world's most influential choreographers during his lifetime.
Originally created for London's Royal Ballet in 1965, his "Romeo and Juliet" has been one of the most sought-after works, as it adheres most closely to Shakespeare's original play.
Except for the intense and passionate balcony pas de deux, the work does not require performances of breathtaking technical bravura.
Instead the tragic love story is conveyed perfectly to the audience through skilful acting from the dancers and the overall visual splendor of the production.
Universal Ballet achieved what is expected in the original; the dancers vividly portrayed every scene of the story and emotionally engaged the audience at the same time. Their ability to express character moved those watching to laughter and tears during the three-hour show.
Principal dancer Yu Zeung in the role of Mercutio, a comic foil to Romeo, stood out thanks to his impressive acting and playful facial expressions, all of which captivated the audience.
The highlight was the beautiful love scene between the two protagonists Romeo and Juliet, played by soon-to-be-married couple Ohm Jae-yong and Hwang Hye-min. They showed their strong affection towards each other, which truly touched the hearts of the audience.
They also delivered the inner emotions of the two lovers, especially in the third act when Juliet kills herself after she wakes up and finds her lover was dead.
Universal Ballet masterfully presented this sad story of forbidden love and the performance will linger long in memory. The show closes today.
The company is to perform "Shim Chung" in Paris in September.