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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

(1962)

Choreography

John Cranko

Music

Sergei Prokofiev
2 hours and 40 minutes

The world’s most famous love story! Miami City Ballet brings to life the ultimate tale of romance and tragedy – Romeo and Juliet – in an opulent production set to Sergei Prokofiev’s throbbing music, considered to be one of the greatest of all ballet scores.

John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet is both spectacular and intimate. Here we see a boisterous crowd reveling in Verona’s town square; unrelenting enemies dueling to the death in the street; a mortal feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, two of the city’s great aristocratic families; a pair of “star-cross’d lovers” dancing in the moonlight.

We watch, breathless as the swoon and joy of first love lead – inevitably, disastrously – to the fatal desperation of the two young people who are determined to remain together at all costs…

Be swept away by the beauty, hope and youthful romance of this heart-breaking ballet.

Program Note

The triumph of John Cranko’s world-famous version of the greatest of all love stories is the way the choreographer has found a perfect marriage between the heart-rending intimacy of the private tragedy and the boisterous – and dangerous – life of a small Italian Renaissance city.

Prokofiev’s thrilling score both soars ecstatically in the love passages – the balcony, the bedroom scene, the tomb scene – and brings to life the down-to-earth atmosphere of Verona: the swirling gypsies, the ribald country folk in town for the carnival, the tarantella and most of all, the brilliant, and fatal, swordplay that sweeps up the followers of the Capulets and the Montagues. His music for the young lovers, for the ball scene, for the antics of Mercutio and the haughty passion of Tybalt, provide the richest of opportunities for a superbly talented choreographer.

Cranko created this Romeo and Juliet in 1962 for the Stuttgart Ballet, and it immediately established itself as a classic, more human in scale than both the original Kirov/Bolshoi version by Leonid Lavrovsky and the Kenneth MacMillan interpretation to come. Youthdriven, rapturously sensual, it is considered by many critics to be the finest – the most moving – of all dance versions of Shakespeare’s immortal play.

 

Romeo and Juliet, Ballet, op. 64 by Sergei Prokofiev presented under license from G. Schirmer Inc. and Associated Music Publishers, copyright owners.

Miami City Ballet premiere: March 25, 2011, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL.

Ballet Credits

Choreography

John Cranko

Music

Sergei Prokofiev

Staged by

 Filip Barankiewicz

Copyright

Dieter Gräefe

Scenic and Costume Designs by

Susan Benson

**Costumes and Scenery courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada

Lighting Design

Robert Thomson

Sword Fighting Coach

Christian Sordelet

Synopsis

“In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”

ACT I 
SCENE 1: THE MARKETPLACE 

As day breaks, Romeo, son of Montague, is found declaring his love for the fair Rosalind. With the sunrise, the marketplace fills with townspeople, among whom are members of two rival families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Tempers flare and a quarrel develops. The Duke of Verona appears and warns the two factions that death will be the ultimate punishment if the feud does not stop. Romeo and his friends Benvolio and Mercutio make reluctant peace with Tybalt, a kinsman of the Capulets. 

“if ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.” 

SCENE 2: JULIET’S GARDEN IN THE CAPULET’S HOUSE 

Juliet receives her first dress from her mother, Lady Capulet, and learns that she is to meet the noble Paris, to whom she will be betrothed on the following day. Now she must bid farewell to her childhood. 

SCENE 3: OUTSIDE THE CAPULET’S HOUSE 

Guests appear for the Capulet’s ball, among them Rosalind. Romeo and his friends, masked, follow her to the ball. 

“You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings, And soar with them above a common bound.” 

SCENE 4: THE BALLROOM 

Juliet dances with Paris. Suddenly, she and Romeo behold each other – it is love at first sight. Tybalt, suspecting Romeo’s identity, tries to start an argument but is prevented by Lord Capulet, who abides by the laws of hospitality. 

SCENE 5: JULIET’S BALCONY 

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.” 

On the balcony outside her bedroom, Juliet dreams of Romeo. He appears below in the garden. 

They declare their eternal love. 

“But, soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” 

Act II 
SCENE 1: THE MARKETPLACE 

A carnival is in progress in the main square. Romeo, indifferent to the gaiety around him, is discovered by Juliet’s nurse, who brings him a letter from her. In the letter, Juliet asks Romeo to meet her at the chapel of Friar Laurence. 

SCENE 2: FRIAR LAURENCE’S CELL IN THE FOREST 

In his cell, Friar Laurence joins the young lovers in marriage. 

SCENE 3: THE MARKETPLACE 

At the height of the carnival, Romeo returns to the square. Tybalt accosts him, but Romeo declines to fight. Mercutio, angered, engages in a duel with Tybalt, and dies at his hands. Romeo, distraught, turns on Tybalt and kills him. 

Act III 
SCENE 1: THE BEDROOM 

In Juliet’s bedroom, the lovers are awakened by the sunrise. Romeo, under sentence of exile, must leave Juliet and Verona. Lord and Lady Capulet enter with Paris, but Juliet rejects him. 

SCENE 2: FRIAR LAURENCE’S CELL IN THE FOREST 

Juliet, appealing to Friar Laurence for help, receives a potion from him that will place her in a death-like sleep. He explains that Romeo will find her in the family tomb and both can escape together. 

SCENE 3: THE BEDROOM 

Juliet agrees to her marriage with Paris. After he leaves with her parents, she takes the sleeping draught. Her family and friends believe she is dead when they discover her. 

SCENE 4: THE CAPULET FAMILY CRYPT 

Romeo, who never received Friar Laurence’s message revealing the plan, believes Juliet to be dead and rushes to the tomb. There he finds the mourning Paris and kills him. Embracing Juliet for the last time, he plunges his dagger into his heart. Juliet awakens to find Romeo dead. Grief-stricken, she kills herself.

“For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” 

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

William Shakespeare - New York Times

The Music of Romeo and Juliet