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The Story

Romeo and Juliet fall passionately in love, but their families are sworn enemies. The lovers marry in secret before Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt in a fight and is banished from the city.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)

Background

Kenneth MacMillan poignant setting of Sergey Prokofiev’s classic score draws out the emotional and psychological intensity of the tale. Romeo and Juliet contains three passionate pas de deux: the lovers’ first meeting, the famous balcony scene and the devastating final tragedy, in which Romeo dances desperately with the lifeless Juliet. The story is set against a wonderful evocation of 16th-century Verona, and includes a bustling marketplace that erupts into a violent sword fight, and a lavish ball held in an elegant mansion.

MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet first arrived at Covent Garden in 1965. Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn took the title roles on the opening night – MacMillan had originally created the work on Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable. Nevertheless, Fonteyn and Nureyev’s performance had a rapturous reception, with 43 curtain calls and almost forty minutes of applause. The ballet has been at the heart of the Company’s repertory ever since, amassing more than four hundred performances. This classic production has been toured around the world and in 2011 was adapted for arena-scale performances at the O2 Arena.

News and features

  1. Autumn Season 2015/16

    15 April 2015

    The Season opens with John Fulljames and Hofesh Shechter's staging of Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice starring Juan Diego Flórez, and includes a world premiere of Carlos Acosta's Carmen.

On Wikipedia

Choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Royal Ballet production of Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 9 February 1965.MacMillan had previously choreographed the balcony scene for Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable to dance in September 1964 for Canadian Television. This experience made him seem a good candidate to choreograph the entire ballet for Covent Garden, when the Soviet Union refused to allow Leonid Lavrovsky's classic production to tour to London. MacMillan prepared his version with the blessing of Frederick Ashton, and Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev brought new life to the characters, as did the set and costume designs by Nicholas Georgiadis; Fonteyn, considered to be near retirement, embarked upon a rejuvenated career with a partnership with Nureyev.Though MacMillan had created the ballet on Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable, for "bureaucratic reasons" Fonteyn and Nureyev danced the opening night, to MacMillan's disappointment.The production was filmed and received a cinematic release in 1966.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Romeo and Juliet (MacMillan), available under a Creative Commons license.