Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen’s presents John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, November 3-13 at The Boston Opera House. This presentation of Cranko’s masterpiece love story is the second time in the company’s history that this version has been performed. Romeo and Juliet is staged by Jane Bourne.
“Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet is the most satisfying telling of Shakespeare’s story as a ballet,” said Nissinen. “The choreography is a perfect match for Prokofiev’s score and provides all the drama, passion and tragedy of this timeless tale. I know the company will excel in this stunning production and audiences will be swept away by production’s music and choreography.”
Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet premiered in 1962 with the Stuttgart Ballet. Cranko’s exquisitely rendered ballet, set to Sergei Prokofiev’s score, is an inspired realization of William Shakespeare’s tale. While Prokofiev’s original composition initially faced heavy criticism, it has become one of the most popular of all ballet compositions.
When the Stuttgart Ballet danced the American premiere of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet in 1969, Clive Barnes wrote in The New York Times that this staging of Prokofiev’s score “is, quite simply, the best of a surprisingly distinguished bunch. Many choreographers have attempted the score, but it has been left to Cranko to give the work its complete fulfillment.” With Romeo and Juliet, Cranko masterfully wove choreography and drama into a seamless whole.
When Boston Ballet premiered the production in 2008, The Boston Globe wrote, “the company’s splendid new production hits jackpot. This one is the whole package – elegant dancing, eye-popping pageantry, and vivid storytelling.” This is the third full-length masterpiece by Cranko in Boston Ballet’s repertoire. The Company danced Onegin in 2002, 1994 and 1997, and The Taming of the Shrew in 2004.
Cranko (1927-1973) choreographed his first production of Romeo and Juliet for La Scala Ballet in 1958, with Carla Fracci as Juliet. In 1962, he restaged and revised the piece for Stuttgart Ballet, where he had been appointed director a year earlier, with Marcia Haydée was Juliet. Other companies that have danced Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet include the National Ballet of Canada, The Australian Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet (1983). In 1978, the Joffrey Ballet became the first American company to stage the production.
Cranko was born in Rustenberg, South Africa in 1927. He trained at the Cape Town University Ballet School and choreographed his first ballet there in 1945, to the suite from Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale. In 1946, he moved to London to study at the Sadler's Wells School, and was soon offered a place at Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, the precursor of The Royal Ballet. Although Cranko originally joined the company as a dancer, he was named company choreographer within four years, after displaying remarkable talent in the art.
Cranko choreographed ballets for both the Sadler’s Wells and the newly formed Royal Ballet throughout the 1950s. He had become internationally recognized and was in high demand, creating works for the New York City Ballet, the Rambert Company, Paris Opéra Ballet and La Scala in Milan. In 1961 he was appointed director of Stuttgart Ballet.
In 1973, John Cranko died unexpectedly at the age of 46. His brilliant career was cut short at its height. He left behind a repertory of dramatic classical ballets which are now performed internationally.
All performances of Romeo and Juliet are held at The Boston Opera House.
Choreography by John Cranko
Staged by Jane Bourne
Music Sergei Prokofiev
Set & Costume Design Susan Benson
Lighting Design Christopher Dennis
Schedule of Performances for Romeo and Juliet
Thursday, November 3 at 7:30pm
Friday, November 4 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 5 at 1:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, November 6 at 1:00pm
Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30pm
Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm
Boston Ballet’s hosts the post-performance event series OFFSTAGE at BiNA Osteria following the Thursday, November 10, 7:30pm performance
Friday, November 11 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 12 at 1:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, November 13 at 1:00pm
2011-2012 Season Tickets
Subscriptions, Group Sales tickets, and individual tickets for The Nutcracker are on sale now. Subscriptions and individual tickets are available online 24 hours a day at www.bostonballet.org, by phone at 617.695.6955, and in person at the box office at 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, Mon–Fri, 9:30am-5pm. Tickets start at $25 for season ballets and $35 for Night of Stars and The Nutcracker. Group Sales tickets for parties of 10 or more are available through the box office at 617.695.6955.
About Boston Ballet
Since 1963, Boston Ballet has been one of the leading dance companies in the world on stage, in the studio and in the community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Barry Hughson, the Company maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire and the largest ballet school in North America, Boston Ballet School.
Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today's finest choreographers. Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast.
Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to providing excellence and access to dance education. It reaches more than 10,000 students, ages 9-month to adult each year through its four core programs: Children’s Program, Classical Ballet Program, Adult Dance Program and Pre-Professional Program. Boston Ballet’s award-winning community outreach initiatives include Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance. The wide array of dance programs are held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead with additional programs throughout New England, as well as at community centers and in the Boston Public Schools.
Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:
State Street Corporation, 2011 Presenting Sponsor, The Nutcracker
The Boston Foundation
Massachusetts Cultural Council
National Endowment for the Arts