ROMEO AND JULIET

BALLET IN 2-ACTS

Music – Sergei Prokofiev

Ballet “Romeo and Juliet” on the tragedy of the same name by William Shakespeare.



“Shakespeare is life and death, cold and heat, angel and demon, earth and sky, melody and harmony, spirit and flesh, great and small … but always true.”

 

 

Brilliant music continued the classical traditions of Russian ballet. This was reflected in the great ethical significance of the chosen theme, in the reflection of deep human feelings in the developed symphonic dramaturgy of the ballet performance. This is a bright temperamental, dramatically tense, rich in pictorial possibilities and informative performance.

First heard in the form of two orchestral suites, she captivated the listeners with her relief of portrait-symphonic characteristics and instrumental ingenuity. Julia’s scherzial episode of the girl, C-mourning march – all these pieces of first-class music, of course, were included in the stage version of the ballet score.

Act I

Scene 1
Morning in the Renaissance city of Verona. Romeo of the Montagues is out at the crack of dawn. The city is gradually coming alive. Mercutio and Benvolio, who are friends with Romeo, appear. The market place fills up with folks, and Tybalt, a Capulet, is among them. The encounter inflames the smoldering feud between the Montagues and Capulets. Mutual easy jibes soon escalate into a fight between Tybalt and the two friends of Romeo.
Lord and Lady Capulet arrive, as well as Lady Montague. The brawl, after ceasing for a short while, is renewed with both families’ members all involved. The Duke of Verona exhorts them to stop, and his guards break them up. The crowd disperses.

Scene 2
Juliet, daughter of the Capulets, is bantering with the Nurse as she assists her mistress in dressing for the ball. 

Scene 3 
The Capulets’ lavish costume ball. It is Juliet’s betrothal to the young nobleman Paris. Lord Capulet presents his daughter to the guests. Thereafter he brings in Paris. Although Juliet is hesitant about this marriage, she greets the prospective match in the most courteous manner.

Wearing masks, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio, sneak into the ball unrecognized. Romeo falls in love at first sight with Juliet, who appears attracted to the young Montague. Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, suspecting who the uninvited guest might be, rips Romeo’s mask off. His identity is revealed. Enraged, Tybalt insists on fighting, but Lord Capulet intervenes to prevent it. The guests take their leave. Tybalt warns Juliet against letting Romeo approach her.

Scene 4 
Later the same night, Romeo is under the balcony outside Juliet’s bedchamber. She comes down into the garden to meet him. Although well aware of the danger that may ensue, they pledge love to each other.

Act II

Scene 1
In the market place, Mercutio and Benvolio are joshing Romeo, who is head over heels in love. The Nurse brings a message from Juliet saying that she agrees to secretly marry him. Romeo is radiant with happiness.

Scene 2
As prearranged, Romeo and Juliet meet in the cloister of Friar Laurence, who has agreed to marry them despite the risk, in the hope that this union will put an end to the interfamilial grudge. He performs the ceremony and the young lovers are wedded.

Scene 3 
In the market place, Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt. Mercutio derides Tybalt. Romeo appears. Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel but he refuses to fight. Put on his mettle, Mercutio continues with his taunts, and ends up crossing swords with Tybalt. Romeo tries to separate them but this turns fatal for Mercutio. Distraught and overwhelmed with guilt, Romeo grasps his sword and fights Tybalt until the latter is transfixed. Lord and Lady Capulet enter; they are staggered with grief at the sight Tybalt being killed. 

Act III 

Scene 1 
Juliet’s chamber at sunrise. Romeo has remained in Verona for the wedding night with Juliet. However, though bitterly sorrowful, Romeo must leave: he is on the run now. After Romeo departs, Juliet’s parents come in with Paris. It is their will that Juliet marries Paris the following day. She protests, but Lord Capulet forces her harshly to silence. In despair, Juliet rushes to find Friar Laurence and ask him for help.

Scene 2
Friar Laurence’s cell. The Friar gives Juliet a hypnotic portion which will render her so stiff with sleep that everyone will consider her dead. Laurence promises that he will send Romeo a letter to reveal their plot and instruct him to meet Juliet in the family tomb when she awakens.

Scene 3
Juliet is back in her chamber. She pretends to have succumbed to her parents, ostensibly agreeing to marry Paris. Once left alone, she drinks the portion and falls unconscious onto her bed. Thus is she discovered by the Lord and Lady Capulet, who have come with Paris, the Nurse, and servants to awake her in the morning. The Nurse tries to shake Juliet back to her senses, but makes no response. Everyone is confident that she is dead.

Scene 4
The Capulet family tomb. Juliet is still paralyzed with death-like sleep. Romeo enters. He has not received Laurence’s letter, so he is unaware that Juliet’s death is faked. In despair and seeking to be reunited with his Juliet in death, he drinks poison. As he dies, Juliet awakens. Realizing that Romeo is dead, she stabs herself with a dagger. 

The grief-stricken Capulets and Montagues reconcile.