A Triumphant Juliet Debut

Hayward’s Juliet was exquisite and undoubtedly a triumph.

As The Royal Ballet continues its run of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Matthew Golding and Francesca Hayward made their debuts in the leading roles on 23 October.

Golding, a Canadian Principal with the company, is often paired with Russian fireball Natalia Osipova.  However, for this particular ballet he was cast alongside the English First Soloist.  Regrettably, apart from intense sword fights, I found myself particularly unmoved by Golding’s Romeo.  Golding – along with Thomas Whiteahead as Tybalt – delivered a notable charge to the many sword fighting scenes the ballet offers and had me on the edge of my seat during each battle.  Alas, he seemed to attack MacMillan’s choreography in the same way – dancing the delicate role of Romeo the same way he presented his Basilio in Don Quixote last season.

Described in the Telegraph by Ellie Pithers as “the Royal Ballet’s diminutive star-in-waiting”, Hayward’s Juliet was exquisite.   Although at times she failed to throw her emotion to the entire theatre, she was undoubtedly Juliet.  At just 5ft 2in, she is a
dwarf to Golding’s Romeo, but only in height – at every possible moment she outshone him.  Her variation during the ballroom scene was utterly gorgeous – she found ways to weave the story into the dance – and her depiction of Juliet during the final act was impeccable.  Her debut was undoubtedly a triumph, as were her performances as Manon last season. Her interpretation of MacMillan’s ballets makes me wonder when her next full length MacMillan debut will come and the answer is simple – not soon enough!

Portuguese Soloist, Marcelino Sambé, debuted as Mercutio.  With soaring jumps, dazzling turns and seemingly infinite energy, it was a shame he wasn’t cast as Romeo.  Alongside him as Benvolio, also a debut, was English Soloist Nicol Edmonds.  This part is disappointingly small for any dancer, especially one as gifted as Edmonds but he did well with what he was given.

The cast will perform once more on 5 November.  The production will run until 2 December.  For tickets and further details visit the website of the Royal Opera House.

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