Pacific Northwest Ballet has just returned from a tour to New York where the company impressed Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times. He liked the dancers well enough, but he loved the PNB orchestra, conducted by Emil de Cou.

From his review of Roméo et Juliette:

Prokofiev’s celebrated score for “Romeo and Juliet” has never sounded better in the theater, in my experience, than at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s two performances on Saturday at City Center... In the balcony scene of Act I, I found myself blinking back tears at the matinee, thanks less to the choreography than to the rapturous sound of the strings and woodwind. When Juliet is contemplating feigned death in Act III, a series of soft, low string staccati made a more intimate effect than I have ever known.

From his review of the Balanchine bill:

And the music sounded marvelous. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s orchestra has long been superior to those we hear for New York’s resident ballet troupes, and in Emil de Cou it probably has America’s finest ballet conductor.

And I especially enjoyed this sentence about PNB principal James Moore:

Mr. Moore, hunky and wearing an early-Beatles haircut, lost himself in the story with the eagerness of a puppy. Pressing his cheek to Juliet’s hand and then tenderly up the length of her leg, he was the quintessence of young love.

James Moore in Mopey
  • Kathryn Rathke
  • James Moore in "Mopey"

I first fell for Mr. Moore in 2005, when he performed Mopey, a solo by Marco Goecke, in which he also lost himself with puppy-like eagerness. Mopey, and Peter Boal's willingness to program it as part of his anti-fustiness campaign when he first arrived at PNB, was also a major factor in the decision to give the ballet a Stranger Genius Award in 2009—the Genius party portrait was of Mr. Moore performing Mopey.

Congrats to Moore, de Cou, and PNB for a successful tour.