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John Cranko’s epic version of Shakespeare’s most heart-rending love story returns to The Australian Ballet.
An artist who effortlessly fused dance and drama, John Cranko richly evokes the grandeur of the Capulets’ ball, the fierce clashes of the rival families and the brief, luminous flare of young love. His Romeo and Juliet premiered in 1962, the year The Australian Ballet was founded, and generations of dancers have grown up with the production and gone on to shine in its many dream roles.
Despite meddling from Stalin’s officials and an initial rebellion from the Bolshoi Ballet’s dancers (who pronounced the music ‘undanceable’), Prokofiev’s score has proven itself as immortal as Shakespeare’s play. As clearly as words could, the music lays out the progress of the story, evoking swordplay, ecstasy, murder and the looming approach of the lovers’ fate.
Jürgen Rose’s dramatically resonant design captures the pageantry of medieval Verona, contrasting the heavy splendour of the aristocratic elder generation with the billowing fabrics of the young lovers’ carefree abandon.
Choreography John Cranko
Music Sergei Prokofiev
Staged by Reid Anderson
Costume and set design Jürgen Rose
Lighting design Jon Buswell
With Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Orchestra