Universal Ballet

Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet

World Premiere The Royal Ballet at The Covent Garden, Royal Opera House, England, 1965
Universal Ballet Premiere The Opera Theater, Seoul Arts Center on July 7, 2012
Original Text William Shakespeare
Choreography Kenneth MacMillan
Music Sergei S. Prokofiev
Staging Julie Lincoln, Yuri Uchiumi, Terrence Orr
Set Design Paul Andrews
Costume Design Michael Brown
Lighting Design John B. Read
Composition 13 scenes and 3 acts
Running Time 2 hours 45 minutes

The dramatic ballet Romeo and Juliet, now an irreplaceable fixture in the classical ballet repertory, emerged in the middle of the 20th century. 

In contrast to the romantic period’s ballet blanc corps de ballets of ethereal young ladies portraying spirits, fairies or ghosts, the cast of Romeo and Juliet is entirely comprised of living, breathing, real people, many of them men, representing the warring Capulet and Montague clans. Though the definitive score for Romeo and Juliet, composed by Sergei Prokofiev, was completed in 1935, the work differed so much from the standard ballet form common at the time that it took three years before the ballet was ready for its premiere in Brno, Czech Republic (1938) and another two years before it was given the stage in Russia, at the Kirov (1940) with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky. Many other versions followed, with Kenneth MacMillan’s version created for the Covent Garden Royal Ballet in 1965 eventually emerging as the favorite. 

MacMillan’s sensual pas de deux for Juliet and Romeo, his richly drawn supporting characters in Mercutio, Tybalt, Juliet’s Nurse, Paris, Benvolio, Lady Capulet; and his use of grand spectacle in the Capulet ball and the scenes in the town square provide something for everyone. MacMillan’s original 1965 production was designed by Nicholas Georgiadis. The production now presented by Universal Ballet was created when the ballet was staged at the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1992, and features designs by Paul Andrews.