Ballet in three acts, thirteen scenes
Libretto by Sergei Prokofiev, Leonid Lavrovsky, Adrian Piotrovsky, and Sergei Radlov, based on Shakespeare’s tragedy. Choreography by Kenneth MacMillan
The ballet was first staged in 1965. It was first performed in Perm in 2013. The 2018 revival. Running time: 3 hours including 2 intervals
Thanks to Prokofiev’s immortal music, ‘the world’s saddest story’ has given rise to a hundred or so ballet interpretations. Two of these are regarded as classics: the version by Soviet choreographer Leonid Lavrovsky (Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, 1940) and that by British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1965).
Sir Kenneth MacMillan fundamentally altered the perception of the narrative ballet, raising it to the level of psychological theatre without making the choreography any less inventive. At the London première in 1965, Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn shone in their roles as Romeo and Juliet. The audience called them back on the stage for 43 curtain calls, the applause continuing unabated for nearly 40 minutes. The Perm Ballet is the first Russian company to feature this masterpiece, which is cherished by the British as much as Swan Lake is held dear by Russians.