Some 400 years after its creation, Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet is still a timeless love story that grabs people's hearts. The version by British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan became part of the NNT Ballet repertory in October 2001. The ballet builds in tight coordination with Prokofiev's score, and is considered by many to be MacMillan's finest work. It last ran here in 2004, making this the first production in seven years.
Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev performed this exquisite work when it received its world premiere at The Royal Ballet in 1965. It has a dramatic quality not typical of classical ballets, and captivates the hearts of all who see it.
The story is set in Verona in Northern Italy, home of the noble houses of Montague and Capulet. A long-standing feud exists between the families. One day, Romeo Montague sneaks into a masked ball given by the Capulets, where he meets their only daughter, Juliet. The two instantly fall in love, and are married with the help of Friar Laurence in a secret ceremony. But soon after, Romeo's close friend Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, a Capulet, and Romeo slays Tybalt in an act of vengeance. The day after his wedding night, Romeo is sentenced to exile and leaves Verona. Now alone, Juliet faces an impending wedding to Count Paris, the man her parents have arranged for her to marry. Juliet confides in Friar Laurence, who devises a plan and provides her with a drug that will induce a temporary death-like coma. Unfortunately, Romeo is never informed about the plan and goes to see his lover where she lies in the crypt. Heartbroken, he drinks a poison. When Juliet awakes, she discovers Romeo's lifeless body. Taking his dagger, she stabs herself and joins him in death.