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Classical Ballet Sergei Prokofiev "Romeo and Juliet" (Ballet in 3 Acts)
Mikhailovsky Classical Ballet and Opera Theatre (established 1833)

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Schedule for Sergei Prokofiev "Romeo and Juliet" (Ballet in 3 Acts) 2022

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Set Designer: Semyon Pastukh
Choreography: Oleg Vinogradov
Costume Designer: Galina Solovieva

Orchestra: Mikhailovsky Symphony Orchestra

World premiere: 11 January 1940, Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Mariinsky), Leningrad
Premiere of this production: 30 October 2008

ballet in three acts
music by Sergey Prokofiev

Choreography: Oleg Vinogradov
Sets design: Semyon Pastukh
Costumes designer: Galina Solovyova

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Performance has one interval

The tragedy by Shakespeare written in 1595 have inspired many musicians — starting from Hector Berlioz and Charles Gounod to Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Sergey Prokofiev turned to the plot after his returning from abroad in 1933. In creating the libretto he cooperated not only with Sergey Radlov but also with an outstanding critic, theatre historian and playwright Adrian Piotrovsky. In 1936, the ballet was presented to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow that commissioned the work. Prokofiev provided the original version of the ballet with a happy ending. The direction of the Bolshoi Theatre approved the music but the radical change of the Shakespeare’s plot triggered hot discussions. The argument made the authors of the ballet revise their concept. Finally, the agreed with the reproaches in distorting the Shakespeare’s original and composed the tragic ending. The revised ballet presented to the Bolshoi Theatre dissatisfied the direction. The music was considered undanceable; the contract with Prokofiev was canceled. Premiere of the ballet Romeo and Juliet took place on December 30, 1938 in Brno. It was choreographed by Ivo Psota, a ballet dancer, a teacher and ballet master, born in Kiev. The fact that a librettist, Adrian Piotrovsky, had become a victim of political repressions prevented the ballet from being staged in Russia. The name of Piotrovsky was taken away from all the documents. Ballet master Leonid Lavrovsky became a co-author of the libretto. The first night took place on January 11, 1940 and the first ballet Juliet, Galina Ulanova, charmed both the public and choreographers and became the ideal performer of the role. The staging received international recognition. Ballet dancers got used to the music. Shakespeare’s characters and Prokofiev’s music enchanted many famous ballet masters. The new versions of the masterpiece expressed Prokofiev’s music in a new way, more coherent to new times. The repertory of the Mikhailovsky Theatre has had the ballet since 1976: first choreographed by Oleg Vinogradov and then, till 2007, choreographed by Nikolay Boyarchikov. Now the public has a possibility to see the new production by Oleg Vinogradov.



Verona. A morning. City still sleeping. Only Romeo is not sleeping. He wanders along empty streets submersed in dreams of love.

Step-by-step revive streets, there are early passers - by. Servants go out of an inn , clean desktops. "Click

Tybald, nephew of the Capulets comes out. He is the searcher for adventures and fighter, he only waits for a case to battle to the hated Montagues. He sees Benvolio, nephew of Motagues. The case was presented. The combat starts. On a noise run out people from the houses of the Montagues and Capulets. The combat inflames. City is waken up. Strokes of an alarm are heard.

Young nobleman, Paris, are coming to Montagues to ask Juliet to be his wife. But the master of the house doesn’t even notice him, he hurries to join the fighters.

There is a duke of a Verona on the scene . He commands to lay down arms. The duke declares, that from this time, the one who will conceive combat with weapons in arms, will be executed. The people go away, satisfied by the order of the duke. "Click

Room of Juliet. She is cheerful, she teases the Benefactress, throws in her cushions, hides from her. The cheerful games are stopped by the mother of Juliet. She strictly orders to stop playing. Then the mother takes her by an arm and they approach to a mirror. Juliet is an adult.

Dancing party in the palace of the Capulets. All nobles of Verona are gathered there. On a dancing party there are singers, musicians, girl friends of Juliet and Paris with his page. Cheerfully laughing, passes Mercutio.

Ballroom in the house of the Capulets. Behind desktops the visitors talk ceremonially. The dances start. Everyone ask Juliet to dance. Her dance is full of purity, charm, and poetry. There is Romeo in a hall. He is unable to tear his eyes off her. Romeo approaches to Juliet and speaks to her about the feelings. The mask rolls off from his face. Juliet is charmed by beauty and nobleness of his face. She is already in love. But this scene is seen by Tybald. He recognizes Romeo. When the dancing party was terminated, the Benefactress informs Juliet, that Romeo – Montagues, their enemy.

But it will not stop Juliet. Under a cover of darkness they meet in a garden.

They speak about their love, vow fidelity.


Juliet is unable to suffer even a brief separation from him. She sends the Benefactress to find Romeo and to give him the letter. The Benefactress and accompanying her servant appear in the center of a carnival. Everyone dances tarantella, sings, having fun. In crowd she finds Romeo and gives him the letter: Juliet agrees to become his wife.

In cell of Laurence Romeo tells him about their love and asks to marry them. Laurence is touched by purity of feelings of the beloved. He agrees. Juliet enters, and Laurence blesses their union.

The carnival rustles and sparkles on the squares of Verona. Among turbulent fun the friends of Romeo - Mercutio and Benvolio. There is a Tybald. He has noted Mercutio. The combat was knotted. Romeo comes, he attempts to stop the fighters. When Romeo removes a sword of Mercutio to prevent bloodshed, Tybald puts Mercutio a mortal blow. Romeo is in grief. He does not remember himself. He takes a sword of Mercutio and kills Tybald.

The Capulets are craved with revenge. Benvolio helps Romeo to hide.


Romeo gets to the bedroom his young wife. He wishes to see her before the departure. He has to live Verona.

Morning. Juliet’s parents and the benefactress enter her bedroom. They tell her a terrible message - day of her wedding with Paris is assigned already. Juliet cries. But their will is unshakable.

In despair Juliet runs to Laurence. He knows how to help to business: there is a drug, which will load Juliet in dream similar to the death. Only Romeo will know the truth, he will secretly come to city and will steal her from a crypt and will take away to a secure place. Juliet agrees with pleasure.

She returns home and pretends, that obeys the will of the parents. And, having remained one, drinks the drug. In the morning Juliet is found "dead" in the bedroom.

Autumn night in Mantuya. Romeo is told about Juliet’s death. He rushes to Verona.

He sees a funeral cortege, and in the open coffin - his beloved. Under a cover of night he enters the family crypt, says goodbye to Juliet and drinks the poison. Having woken up, Juliet sees a breathless body of Romeo, blinded by grief; she kills herself with his dagger.

The death of both children makes the inconsolable parents to conclude an everlasting peace and in memory of two fine creatures to stop the war.


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Music For the Ballet "" Fragment 1 "" Fragment 2

Photos © 2000-2006 Marc Haegeman

Schedule for Sergei Prokofiev "Romeo and Juliet" (Ballet in 3 Acts) 2022

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