The June performances of Romeo & Juliet at The O2 Arena again proved the ballet’s enduring hold over audiences. With Kenneth MacMillan’s first full-length work for The Royal Ballet, both he and the Company struck artistic gold.
The timeless story, best known from Shakespeare, matched to the fine score by Prokofiev provided the starting point for what has become a 20th-century ballet classic: an international calling card for the choreographer and a signature work of The Royal Ballet.
The two title roles are star ones indeed, reflected especially keenly in the three pas de deux that mark the lovers’ journey from first meeting to consummated love and finally to tragedy in the tomb. Around them the life of Verona plays out in vivid colour, whether in its bustling market place or a grand ball. There are noble families and their feuds, sword fights and harlots, the informality of youthful friendship and the formality of power and wealth.
All these dramatic contrasts are presented through exquisite choreography in rich and colourful designs. Whether for the variety of its drama or the demands of its choreography, Romeo and Juliet has long proved itself one of the most appealing of all ballets to newcomers and fans alike.
Showing at the Royal Opera House from 10th January to 31st March 2012 only, tickets are now available.