Prokofiev’s score finds a powerful echo in Rudolf Nureyev’s sumptuous and colourful production, one of the last he choreographed for Paris Opera Ballet before his death. He especially chose the cast, and this was the last time this particular cast performed the work. With its sets and costumes straight from the frescos of Renaissance Italy, this great ballet passionately reflects the youth and vigour which drive Shakespeare’s tale of doomed love. Having created the role of Romeo in Kenneth MacMillan’s version, Nureyev mounted his own production in 1977, and reworked the same ballet for Paris in 1984; a large-scale, colourful fresco full of passion and noise, set in a turbulent Verona where the sun-drenched squares are permanent open-air theatres, and the dark, narrow side-streets can turn into cut-throat alleys. With these sets and costumes straight from the frescoes of Renaissance Italy, this great ballet passionately reflects the youth and vigour which drive Shakespeare’s tale of doomed love.
Nureyev placed particular emphasis on the personalities of Tybalt and Mercutio, ‘champions’ of each of the two rival clans – one sombre and vindictive, the other roguish and a little mad. He attempted to bring to life the argumentative and truculent people of Verona, opting for an atmosphere both sensual and brutal, an era both refined and bawdy, superb in appearance and cruel in reality. Life and death here take turns on the Wheel of Fortune, with youth fighting to the death in the streets.
The sumptuous production calls upon the full force of the company, who brilliantly portray the street fights of the feuding Capulets and Montagues and the raptures and despair that mark the young lovers’ tragedy. With mesmerising dance, colourful costumes and dazzling set, this production of Shakespeare’s most loved play has enthralled audiences and critics alike.
Choreography and Staging: Rudolf Nureyev
Sets: Ezio Friger
Costumes: Ezio Frigerio and Mauro Pagano
“..a splendid recreation, totally faithful to Nureyev, this Romeo & Juliet is one of the great events of the year.” LE FIGARO