Misa Kuranaga and Nelson Madrigal in John Cranko's Romeo & Juliet; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet

The Timeless Tale of Star-Crossed Lovers Returns with New Sets and Costumes & Opens on Thursday, March 15, 2018

Boston Ballet presents John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet inspired by William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of young love and family rivalry March 15–April 8, at the Boston Opera House.

“Cranko’s choreography perfectly matches Shakespeare’s epic romantic tale with Prokofiev’s luscious score,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “Through elaborate and complex choreography including gorgeous and intimate pas de deux for the two star-crossed lovers, this ballet showcases the artistry of the Company through their dancing and acting.”

Sabi Varga, Misa Kuranaga, and Nelson Madrigal in John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet

The backdrop to the drama are lavish sets and costumes—new to Boston audiences—by internationally-acclaimed German stage designer Jürgen Rose. These are the original designs from the 1962 production Stuttgart Ballet premiered and marked the first time Cranko and Rose worked together. They would be frequent collaborators throughout their careers.

The ballet is set to Sergei Prokofiev’s dramatic score and will be performed by the Boston Ballet Orchestra, led by guest conductors Gavriel Heine (Mar 15–25) and Mischa Santora (Mar 29–Apr 8). Heine is a resident conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia and music director of Northern Lights Festival Opera in Minnesota. Santora is the artistic director of the Spotlight Concerts at MacPhail Center for Music and the Minneapolis Music Company.

Misa Kuranaga and Nelson Madrigal in John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet

Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet has been praised as “arguably the best dance treatment, at least in the West, of Prokofiev’s celebrated ballet score” by Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times. Cranko (1927–1973) was a celebrated choreographer serving as ballet director for Stuttgart Ballet for 12 years. He was a mentor to several renowned dancers and choreographers during his tenure as director, including John Neumeier, Jiří Kylián, and William Forsythe. He was also a champion of the narrative ballet with his easy-to-follow stories, colorful characters, and use of dance as a representation of life. His most popular works include Romeo & Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Onegin, all of which are in Boston Ballet’s repertoire.