For a night rich with culture and elegance, why not head over to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, to experience Kenneth MacMillan’s groundbreaking 20th-century classic ballet of Shakespeare’s tragic tale of the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet? The Royal Ballet Main Stage production is available only until 2nd December and offers a lavish feast for the eyes, heart and soul.
The Royal Opera House is the prestigious performing arts venue located in Covent Garden, central London. Often simply referred to as ‘Covent Garden’, after the previous usage of the original opera house 1732 construction site, it is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and also the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (ROH). Serving primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history, the ROH was originally called the Theatre Royal. In 1734 the first ballet was presented and, a year later, Handel’s first season of operas began, many of his operas and oratorios specifically written for Covent Garden productions.
The current building is the third theatre on the site, following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856. The foyer, facade and Grade I listed auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other aspect dates from extensive reconstruction during the 1990s.
Seating 2,256 and consisting of four tiers of boxes and balconies, together with the main amphitheatre gallery, the ROH is a spectacular venue to enjoy ground-breaking presentations of lyric theatre and Romeo and Juliet is just one such production of rich literary interpretation.
THE STORY IN A NUTSHELL
Romeo and Juliet fall passionately in love, but their families are sworn enemies. The lovers marry in secret before Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt in a fight and is banished from the city.
Juliet’s family arrange for her to marry Paris. To escape this ordeal and for her pure desire to materialise: to be reinstated with her beloved, Juliet takes a potion that makes her appear lifeless. Romeo does not receive the message explaining her plan; thinking her dead, he goes to her tomb and kills himself. She wakes, sees Romeo’s corpse and stabs herself.
Kenneth MacMillan poignant setting of Sergey Prokofiev’s classic score draws out the emotional and psychological intensity of the tale. Romeo and Juliet contains three passionate pas de deux:
the lovers’ first meeting, the famous balcony scene and the devastating final tragedy, in which Romeo dances desperately with the lifeless Juliet. The story is set against a wonderful evocation of 16th-century Verona, and includes a bustling marketplace that erupts into a violent sword fight, and a lavish ball held in an elegant mansion.
MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet first arrived at Covent Garden in 1965. Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn took the title roles on the opening night – MacMillan had originally created the work for Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable. Nevertheless, Fonteyn and Nureyev’s performance had a rapturous reception, with 43 curtain calls and almost forty minutes of applause. The ballet has been at the heart of the Company’s repertory ever since, amassing more than four hundred performances. This classic production has been toured around the world and in 2011 was also adapted for arena-scale performances at the O2 Arena. A fabulous ballet interpretation of Shakespeare’s prestigious drama Romeo and Juliet and a definite must-see performance for all culture vultures. All you need to complete the evening’s enjoyment: beautifully coloured fingertips with JACAVA London’s Dance with Me, a subtle shimmery raspberry red nail polish! www.jacava.com