The Australian Ballet

Romeo and Juliet

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"These violent delights have violent ends..." - William Shakespeare

  • Melbourne / Naarm

    October 2022

  • Sydney / Warrang

    December 2022

  • Livestream

    October 2022

  • Duration

    156 mins / 2 Intervals

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RJ Portrait 1

In the history of dance, there are only a handful of productions that translate Shakespeare’s story of tragic love into compelling ballet form. John Cranko’s majestic version is one of them. His Romeo and Juliet premiered in 1962, the year The Australian Ballet was founded, and generations of our dancers have grown up with the production and gone on to shine in its many dream roles.

An artist who effortlessly fused dance and drama, Cranko richly evokes the grandeur of the Capulets’ ball, the fierce clashes of the rival families and the brief, luminous flare of young love. His choreography seems to flow spontaneously out of Sergei Prokofiev’s score, which has proven itself as immortal as Shakespeare’s play. As clearly as words could, the music lays out the progress of the story, evoking swordplay, ecstasy, murder and the looming approach of the lovers’ fate.

Jürgen Rose’s dramatically resonant design captures the pageantry of medieval Verona, contrasting the heavy splendour of the aristocratic elder generation with the billowing fabrics of the young lovers’ carefree abandon.

Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet binds artists and audiences in a profound emotional experience that will linger long after the curtain falls.

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If you think you’ve seen Romeo and Juliet, think again. This is a revelation.

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David's insight

“As an audience member, the most touching aspect of Romeo and Juliet is the unfolding of the story in front of your very eyes. I have danced performances of Romeo where the audience was with us in every scene; they become a part of the ballet. I lost myself through expressions of love, elation, vengeance and ultimately death; and the audience left the performance as heartbroken as the characters on stage.”

Synopsis and cast sheets

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Production credits

Romeo and Juliet

Choreography John Cranko
Composer Sergei Prokofiev
Guest Repetituer and Stager Yseult Lendvai
Costume and Set design Jürgen Rose

Lighting design Jon Buswell
Guest Repetituer Mark Kay

With Opera Australia Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria

The 2022 seasons of Romeo and Juliet are generously supported by The Arthur and Roma Northcutt Fund and The Dame Margaret Scott Fund.

We thank our production partners

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