.

Sergey Prokofiev
Romeo and Juliet

ballet in three acts

Wednesday | 12 February 2020|19:00

Age 12+

Дирижер – Андрей Галанов

Dates

Libretto: People’s Artist of the USSR and Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Elizariev, based on the tragedy of the same title by William Shakespeare
Choreography and staging: People’s Artist of the USSR and Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Elizariev
Musical director: People’s Artist of Russia, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Gennady Provatorov
Musical director of the new version: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Vyacheslav Chernukho-Volich
Designer: laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Ernst Heidebrecht
Conductors: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Andrey Galanov, Aleh Lessoun

Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes with 2 intervals
New version premiere: 5 December 2018
Premiere: 2 November 1988

 

Дирижер – Андрей Галанов

SYNOPSIS 

Act I

A street
Night is coming to an end. Verona. Short hours of the slumbering city. Night hides lovers’ whisper, embraces, and kisses. As if everything is covered with love… But what is it? Some strange shadows are noticed among kissing couples; they hide under the vaults of palaces and galleries, and dart across the square. They are everywhere and in everything, they are a part of the city and life of the city dwellers...
Romeo, full of dreams and in love again, roams the night streets.
Here are his true friends Benvolio and Mercutio who are always ready for tricks and mystifications. Fooling and teasing around, they scare away the couples. Day is breaking. These strange shadows crawl away after the fleeing lovers… It’s time for our friends to go home. Only Mercutio, who has nowhere to hurry, stretches out light-heartedly right in the square…
Morning comes. The first passers-by appear in the square. Everyone is attracted by the sight of the sleeping reveller. Verona’s citizens don’t miss an opportunity to play a trick on Mercutio, the first wag in the city. Merry pushes and kicks turn into a dance full of jokes, and completely awoken Mercutio joins it. Everyone is having fun. But when the arrogant Tybalt appears with his friends, the frightened crowd shrinks back. Tybalt is irritated as if searching for a reason to quarrel.
A couple accidently attracts his attention. A youth, the Capulets’ servant, is kissing a girl, the Montagues’ servant. How dare they! and Tybalt hits the servant. But right away the Montagues’ servants start to mimic Tybalt who throws himself like an infuriated animal at everybody who comes to hand. Suddenly his sight falls on laughing Mercutio. Here is a reason for a quarrel, where each party is stirred up by the crowd involved in the skirmish. Mercutio, still joking, offers to measure their strength by crossing the swords. Tybalt’s servants surround him threateningly, but Mercutio’s friends, Romeo and Benvolio, hurry to help. The Montagues’ servants gather in line behind their master. It’s not a duel any more. It is a wrangle between the two houses, families, kins. The servants, relatives, sons and heads of the feuding families fight. Even Lords Montague and Capulet join the skirmish. Everybody is overwhelmed by spite and hatred. And then strange figures appear born of the Feud. They exult and cling to the rivals hot with the fight, and those who get in their embraces bid farewell to life. The streets of Verona are stained with dark blood of the Feud.

Capulet’s house 
Juliet’s room. The girl’s soul is uneasy, now full of childish carefree merriment, now of sudden unaccountable sadness. Indistinct dreams and fits worry her: a ball is coming, and she will be introduced to her future husband. In the formidable stone walls Juliet grows like a flower, not thinking what life holds in store for here, including continuing the Capulet family.
The ball starts. Noble families of Verona arrive. Among the guests there is her fiancé Paris. Romeo and his friends, uninvited guests, masked, sneak into the house. Just for a second Romeo and Juliet meet, but this is enough to notice each other. Tybalt also notices the stranger, sensing an enemy in him. He tears the cloak away from Romeo, but the inventive Mercutio puts Tybalt into a funny position. A magnificent ceremony of knight dances gives way to the duet of Juliet and Paris. By the Capulet tradition, Paris is knighted. 
Surrounded by these splendours, Juliet feels sadness. But suddenly she sees the stranger in front of her again. Who is he? Juliet tries to take off his mask, but it is not that easy: the stranger doesn’t want to be recognized. But they are attracted to each other irrepressibly. Finally, Juliet manages to tear away the mask. Romeo is recognized. He is a member of the hateful Montague family! Confusion turns into despair: why are you a Montague? But it’s too late: ‘My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late!’ The first kiss. Having forgotten about everything in the world, they don’t notice Tybalt, and he is infuriated: a Montague in Capulet’s house! Tybalt is ready to kill Romeo right away, but his father stops him: blood mustn’t be shed in their house, Romeo must leave the ball. Mercutio turns everything into a joke again, attracting the guests’ attention and winning their favour. The ball is over. The guests leave. Tybalt rushes after Romeo.
Hiding in the shades of the trees, Romeo sneaks into Capulet’s orchard. Here is the balcony. A famous adagio starts during which Romeo and Juliet declare themselves.
‘My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.’

Act II

At Friar Lawrence's cell
Romeo and Juliet decide to have their fates joined in holy matrimony. They beg Friar Lawrence to marry them secretly. Amazed by the power of the young lovers’ feelings, Lawrence joins their hands and appeals to God in the hope that this marriage will finally reconcile the Montague and the Capulet families.

Carnival
Night falls in Verona. The carnival is in full swing with its dances, masks, jokes, wine, and unrestrained fun. Mercutio, a favourite of the public, is in the focus of attention. This mirth is alien to Tybalt overwhelmed by the only thought of finding and killing Romeo who has dared to overstep the laws of the family feud. He is even ready to have a fight with Romeo’s friend Mercutio, but the latter doesn’t seek for a quarrel at all and laughs the matter off. They are in the whirlwind of the carnival, now joined by it, now separated, but they have already been marked by the Feud, though they aren’t aware so far that the Feud has taken them hostage, that they are destined to become its victims.
Romeo appears in a crowd; he hurries to share his joy with Mercutio and give him a hug. Tybalt moves them apart, as he thirsts for a duel. Romeo parries the blade, since he doesn’t want to fight with Juliet’s brother. Then Tybalt insults him, longing for a quarrel. Now Mercutio is ready to fight for a friend. But Romeo doesn’t let him unsheathe his sword. Let us be friends! But it’s in vain. Tybalt doesn’t want reconciliation. Insults grow painful, and Mercutio loses control and snatches the sword given helpfully by the Feud.
In the duel Mercutio is nimbler than Tybalt. His sword touches the offender’s chest. But he is generous. The duel can be acknowledged complete, and Mercutio hurries to hug the first pretty girl in a crowd. But he embraces the Feud that kisses him and perfidiously gives the sword to Tybalt. A mortal stab into the back. Mercutio tries to jest and joke around, but his strength fails. ‘A plague o' both your houses!’ 
He dies in the arms of a shocked Romeo.
Tybalt is in triumph. In despair Romeo seizes a sword his eyes fall on. The sword handed by the Feud.
The carnival is over. The maskers scatter. The fight, swift like a whirlwind, is surrounded by the triumphant faces of the Feud. Romeo stabs Tybalt to death.
The Capulets are in grief. Mourning grandeur of the funeral procession is another triumph of the Feud. Romeo and Juliet understand that an abyss lies between them.
‘Romeo is banished!’ This is despair with no bottom or end.

Act III

‘For never was a story of more woe…’
Juliet’s room. The last night before the parting. Romeo can no longer stay in Verona. How hard it is to part! Morning comes. ‘More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!’ Romeo is to be banished. He bids farewell to Juliet. Another kiss, and he leaves.
Juliet is in despair. Lord and Lady Capulet burst into the room. They insist on Juliet’s agreement to marry Paris. Her resistance only strengthens her parents’ anger. Paris appears, offering her his love. But Juliet turns down such an enviable marriage. Her parents swear that she will become Paris’ wife anyway.
Alone, in sorrow and despair, she cannot settle down. She rushes to Lawrence and begs him for advice. Lawrence offers Juliet sleeping potion that will make her drift off to sleep which will resemble death and last until Romeo’s return to Verona. With joy and gratitude Juliet accepts this plan: it will save her from the hateful marriage with Paris. She hurries to fulfil what Friar Lawrence tells her. Juliet drifts off to sleep that looks to everyone like death. And right away, with this slumber, faces of the Feud approach, as if anticipating and predicting by their gloomy dance the coming tragedy and death of the lovers.
A tomb belonging to the Capulets. Stunned by grief, Romeo appears there. His Juliet is dead! Life is senseless. Only one way is left: to join his beloved in death. Romeo drinks poison and falls dead by the body of wakening Juliet. The terrible truth slowly penetrates into Juliet’s mind. Romeo is dead. Why should she live? She puts a stiletto into Romeo’s hand and stabs herself. ‘For never was a story of more woe…’
Two families, the Montagues and Capulets, gather by the lifeless bodies of their children. The death of the lovers puts an end to the feud that has lasted for many years. The fathers shake hands. But… ‘A glooming peace this morning with it brings; The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head...’ The Feud steps back, but it doesn’t leave.
It stays among people. Because things remain that don’t let it pass away. Because human faults remain, and they cause its revival again and again. This truth keeps soaring over centuries and generations, over numerous tragedies of the past and present.

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