The tragedy of Romeo & Juliet in Maillot’s unique style

A magnificent version of a traditional story

Thursday evening we assisted to the performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet with music by Serguei Prokofiev and choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot for the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, with the scenography signed Ernest Pignon. The first presentation was almost 20 years ago in 1996. Maillot’s version portraits the fracture between Capulet and Montague by underlying their similarities instead of their differences, with all members of the two families making fun of each other on the streets of Verona without the real intention of causing harm. Until the sneering and poking of these young men turns into violence, that becomes the background for the passionate love between Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montangue, that ends tragically.

Anja Bejrend and Stephan Bourgond (1) @Alice Blangero

Anja Bejrend and Stephan Bourgond (1) @Alice Blangero

A hymn to immortal love in three acts

The first act is action packed first painting the scenes of the village and the fervor of its protagonists; then it moves to Juliet’s bedroom where she vehemently refuses to obey her parents in marrying Count Paris. From there we assist to the preparations for the Ball at the Capulet’s mansion, where Mercutio and Benvolio convince Romeo to accompany them. It is there that Romeo discovers Juliet and both become captivated by each other, and end up meeting in the famous balcony.

In the second act we are back on the streets to participate in the festivities. It is there that Romeo receives a loving letter from Juliet inviting him to meet at Friar Laurence’s cell. The priest agrees to marry the young lovers in what he sees as a way to reconcile the two feuding houses, sealing an immortal love. Romeo and Juliet dance is at the same time ethereal and sensual, innocent and passionate. A hymn to the most pure and deepest love it will ever exist. Out in the street we witness the murders of Mercutio in the hands of Tybalt, followed by the death of Mercutio by Romeo in retaliation and to honor his friend’s demise.

We are finally brought back to Juliet’s bedroom in the third act, that as the story goes becomes the tomb of the lovers.

“These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder. Which as they kiss, consume.” William Shakespeare, Rome and Juliet

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