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Vasiliev and Osipova in Ashton’s Romeo

Posted on March 30, 2011

Frederick Ashton’s version of Romeo and Juliet will be revived at the London Coliseum this July, starring Ivan Vasiliev (pictured) and Natalia Osipova of the Bolshoi Ballet. Last summer, Vasiliev and Osipova were the sensation of the Bolshoi’s London season: audiences and reviews were ecstatic.

The new production will be staged by Peter Schaufuss, who recently revived a chamber version of the ballet for his own company in Denmark. Ashton created his Romeo for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1955, to Prokofiev’s score. It is a more intimate, smaller-scale production than most opera house Romeo ballets.  Peter Schaufuss’s parents, Mona Vangsaae and Frank Schaufuss, danced Juliet and Mercutio in the original cast. Peter Schaufuss worked with Ashton on a revival of Romeo and Juliet for English National Ballet in 1985. When he died, Ashton left the ballet to Peter Schaufuss. The new production will use the original costume designs by Peter Rice, with new sets and lighting design by Luciono Melini.

This will be Vasiliev’s first Romeo. “I’m very happy to be coming to the Coliseum to dance Romeo in this special production,” said Vasiliev. “It is very exciting for me to be working with Peter Schaufuss, whose work I have admired greatly for a long time.” Osipova added, “I’m so excited about coming back to London. The audiences were so wonderful last summer. It will be a joy to be back.”

The production opens on July 11 and runs for nine performances. See or call 0871 911 0200 for tickets. 

Picture: Ivan Vasiliev. Photograph: Damir Yusupov

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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