The tragedy of the lovers from Verona, written by William Shakespeare in 1593, is a love story for all eternity. The fame of the unfortunate lovers, who, despite their youth and possible naivety, persistently follow their deep feelings of love, regardless of the consequences, was conveyed to the ballet stage by one of the greatest composers of the 20th century Sergey Prokofiev.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Prokofiev lived abroad, predominantly in Paris. Although he had already composed several ballet pieces by then, Romeo and Juliet was the first one he created for staging in the Soviet Union, where he returned in the summer of 1936. Yet, this creation's path to the stage turned out to be quite thorny. It was first planned in its production by the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad (today's Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg). However, the collaboration with the Kirov Theatre ended even before the composer set himself to composing. Therefore, Prokofiev offered his ballet to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, but the dancers there rejected it, claiming it was impossible to dance. The composer then turned his work into orchestral suites, first performed in front of the audience in 1936 and 1937.
The ballet Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 was brought to the world in 1938, in Brno (Czechoslovakia), and it was premiered in the Soviet Union, at the Kirov Theatre, only in 1940. It is written in the tradition of classical ballet, which is related to Tchaikovsky and Delibes; in the musical sense, it brought much more than just an elaborate musical form that was supposed to accompany dance. What stands out everywhere is the composer's exceptional talent for musical characterisation and moods creation. The lyrical element did not flourish in such a way in any other of Prokofiev's works. The reason why Prokofiev’s creation became the finest classical work of art and a significant part of the repertoire of every ballet ensemble in the world undoubtedly lies in his intensive, expressive love music, reminiscent of 18th century Romanticism in its atmosphere, technique and style.
This time the admired story from the classical ballet literature will be created on our stage by Renato Zanella. Based on his performances from the Greek National Opera and the Romanian National Opera, it will come to life in Ljubljana as an improved interpretation created for our ballet ensemble. The Orchestra of the Ljubljana Opera will be led by Maestro Kevin Rhodes.