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In the event music from Romeo and Juliet was given concert performance in Russia before the ballet could be staged there. The first production was in December 1938 in Brno, the capital of Moravia. Thirteen months later it was danced at the Kirov, with Ulanova as Juliet and Sergeyev as Romeo. The choreography was by Lavrovsky, who annoyed Prokofiev by making changes in the score without previous consultation, a procedure very different from that of the reputedly dictatorial Diaghilev, who had always discussed matters with his composers and choreographers. The Kirov took the production to Moscow, where, in 1946, it became part of the Bolshoi repertoire. The music provides themes associated with the principal characters and with their actions, with love and with conflict. There is room for neo-classical elements in the formal dances at the Capulet ball and elsewhere in the score. The connection of music and narrative is easily apparent from the titles of the episodes of a ballet that is very much in the Russian tradition of full-length dramatic works, in which the story is important.
A novel by Sergey Prokofiev | Read by June Whitfield | NAXOS
Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian Soviet composer, pianist and conductor. As the creator of acknowledged masterpieces across numerous music genres, he is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His works include such widely heard pieces as the March from The Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet—from which "Dance of the Knights" is taken—and Peter and the Wolf. Of the established forms and genres in which he worked, he created – excluding juvenilia – seven completed operas, seven symphonies, eight ballets, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, a cello concerto, a symphony-concerto for cello and orchestra, and nine completed piano sonatas.