23 September 2015 at 1.30pm | 7 Comments
The relay featured a series of backstage films, including rehearsal footage and interviews with members of the cast and creative team.
If you missed the screening on the night, or just want to find out more about the production, here's another chance to see the films:
An introduction to Romeo and Juliet
For Kevin O’Hare, the artistic union of Shakespeare, Prokofiev and MacMillan is ‘the perfect blend’. In this film, both Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb discuss the journey their characters undertake during the ballet, from the initial ‘naivety’ Steven sees in Romeo to Juliet’s rejection of convention. ‘Shakespeare perhaps created one of the first feminists in Juliet’, says Sarah.
The emotional and physical are inextricably linked in Romeo and Juliet, with the fight sequences containing as much feeling as the star-crossed lovers’ pas de deux. Gary Avis, who dances Tybalt, says of the character's fight with Romeo: ‘You’re driven by the pure adrenaline of it all. It’s so brilliantly crafted and constructed as a sword fight.'
Darcey Bussell and Donald MacLeary on the creation of Romeo and Juliet
Fifty years after the production had its premiere, Donald MacLeary, one of the original three Romeos, discusses one of his favorite roles. The production has always inspired passion, both from choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and audiences. MacLeary highlights the production’s ‘huge’ success, with the company, then led by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, receiving a twenty-minute standing ovation on the original first night.
MacLeary spoke to presenter Darcey Bussell, who he coached as Juliet during her time as a Principal with The Royal Ballet, recollecting stories from his own time as Romeo: ‘One time I was doing the Tybalt fight, and I’m supposed to win… my sword broke… luckily one of the corps de ballet threw me a sword!’.
Behind the scenes during preparations for Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet combines ballet with action sequences and involves a large Company. On a tour of the theatre, David Pickering and Dominic Peckham caught a glimpse of Steven McRae rehearsing with répétiteur Lesley Collier, who has herself danced the role of Juliet. This is typical of The Royal Ballet’s répétiteurs, coaches, ballet masters and mistresses, as Pickering explains: ‘They’re great teachers but they’ve had first-hand experience of dancing within the productions’.
Exploring MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet choreography
‘The pas de deux were like a jewel in a ring’, says the choreographer's widow, Deborah MacMillan. This core component of an otherwise vast production portrays the evolution of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship, from their initial shyness to their final moments together. Steven highlights just how key the continuity is by Romeo and Juliet’s second appearance together: ‘You see them gradually loosen up with each other and obviously that’s when they genuinely fall in love.'
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The next production in the Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season will be The Royal Opera's Le nozze di Figaro on 5 October 2015. View all upcoming screenings and sign up to our mailing list.