After Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and Carmen, Mats Ek put together yet another groundbreaking production with his 2013 Stockholm Opera version of Shakespeare’s mythic drama, part of the opera company’s celebrations of its 240th anniversary. The Swedish choreographer interprets Romeo and Juliet as less the story of a rivalry between two warring families (the Montagues and the Capulets) and more that of a forced marriage—a perspective that informs his decision to reverse the protagonists’ names in the title. Ek’s Juliet and Romeo follows its fragile young heroine as love gives her the strength to go against her family and the patriarchy.
The musical score Ek chose for Juliet and Romeo holds as many surprises as his unique interpretation: rather than Prokofiev’s score—which the choreographer considers “a magnificent example of its genre” yet too narrative-driven for his purposes—Ek uses selections from Tchaikovsky’s oeuvre adapted and arranged by Anders Högstedt. The final score is performed by the Orchestre Colonne under the direction of Alexander Polianichko.
Bernice Coppieters (Juliet), Chris Roelandt (Romeo), Paola Cantalupo (Lady Capulet)... – Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
Monique Loudières (Juliet), Manuel Legris (Romeo), Charles Jude (Tybalt), Lionel Delanoë (Mercutio) – Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris