Ballet in three acts (thirteen scenes) · Music by Sergey Prokofiev · Libretto by Sergey Prokofiev, Sergey Radlov, Adrian Piotrovsky and Leonid Lavrovsky, based upon the eponymous play by William Shakespeare · Premiere, with choreography by Ivo Váňa Psota: Brno, 30th December 1938, National Theater · Premiere, with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky: Saint Petersburg, 11th January 1940, Mariinski Theater
Set design and costume design
Duke of Verona
Servants to Capulet
Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Saint Petersburg
10th, 11th December 2011
A market square in Verona at the beginning of the 16th century. Dawn is breaking. Young Romeo, Montague’s son, jokes with Rosaline and declares his love for her, but the young girl rejects him. Romeo’s friends try to comfort him. More people begin to arrive. Tybalt, a nephew of the Capulet family, challenges Romeo to a fight. The brawl becomes a general fight involving members of the two rival families and causes a commotion, but the Duke of Verona intervenes.
The Capulet house. Everyone is getting ready for the ball. Young Juliet is playing with her nurse, who tries to make her understand that she is no longer a child. Capulet and Lady Capulet interrupt them and they introduce Juliet to the handsome Count Paris, who asks for Juliet’s hand in marriage.
Outside the Capulet house. The guests begin to arrive at the masked ball. Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio manage to sneak into the ball.
All the guests watch Juliet as she is dancing, especially Romeo. Tybalt recognises Romeo amongst the guests and orders him to leave. But Juliet’s father, unaware of the fact that he is a Montague, asks him to stay.
The guests gradually leave the ball. Capulet prevents a fight occurring between Tybalt and Romeo.
Juliet comes out onto the balcony and reflects aloud on her feelings for Romeo. Romeo, who is hiding in the garden, comes out from his hiding place. The young couple declares their love for each other in a passionate scene.
The market square. A celebration is being held. Romeo is with his friends, who find him rather distant. Juliet’s nurse hands him a letter in which Juliet asks him to meet her at a chapel so that Friar Laurence can marry them in secret.
In the chapel. The young sweethearts secretly marry and leave the chapel separately once the ceremony is over.
The square at dusk. The celebrations continue. Tybalt starts a fight with Mercutio. Romeo steps in to break up the fight, but Mercutio is fatally wounded by Tybalt. Romeo is furious when he sees his friend lying dead on the ground, and he kills Tybalt.
Juliet’s chamber. Romeo is exiled from Verona for the crime he has committed. But before leaving Verona he spends the night with his sweetheart. The Capulets have decided to marry their daughter to Count Paris, unaware of the fact that she has secretly married Romeo. Juliet tries in vain to dissuade her parents from making this decision. Desperately she asks Friar Laurence for his advice.
In the chapel, Friar Laurence gives Juliet a potion, which will make her sleep so deeply people will think she is dead. After the funeral, she will awake in the family crypt where she will be rescued by Romeo, who will have been informed of the plan by Friar Laurence.
Juliet’s chamber. Juliet pretends to agree to her parents’ marriage arrangements and accepts her marriage to Paris. She takes the potion when she is alone, and the following morning her family finds her lying dead on her bed.
The Capulet crypt. Romeo, who has not received Friar Laurence’s message, returns in incognito to Verona. When he sees Juliet is dead, he takes his own life. When Juliet awakes and finds her sweetheart dead by her side, she stabs herself so that they may be together in the next life. The tragedy brings the Montagues and Capulets together, and the two families are reconciled.