“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.”
The Virginia Arts Festival presents the exclusive North American engagement of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in the classic and “lavish” story of “star-cross’d lovers,” Romeo and Juliet from April 20 – 22 at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet is world famous, with a history dating back to 1931. Dame Ninette de Valois founded it as the Vic-Welles Ballet. In 1990, the Ballet moved to Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city. The Birmingham Royal Ballet is officially “Royal.” Queen Elizabeth is the patron, and the Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is the President of the company.
It is the fourth time the Birmingham Royal Ballet has appeared at the Virginia Arts Festival since 2007. “We make it our mission to bring the world’s great dance companies to the Festival, “ said Robert Cross, Virginia Arts Festival Perry Artistic Director. This will be the only place in the United States this year the “internationally acclaimed company” will perform.
Sir Kenneth MacMillan created the ballet Romeo and Juliet in 1965. The debut performance starred Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Sir MacMillan began his dancing career with Ninette de Valois but severe stage fright forced him off the stage and into a brilliant career as a choreographer. He created ten full-length ballets and many more pieces for both stage and screen.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet is know for the dramatic choreography of Sir MacMillan, the lavish costumes and scenery, and Sir MacMillan’s “gift for revealing the heart of the story.” He had a great love of opera. It shows in the story of star-crossed lovers, feuding families, and the heart-braking ending.
The full Virginia Symphony Orchestra will be performing the beautiful Sergei Prokofiev score. Prokofiev is considered one of the major composers of the 20th century. He is famous for the “symphonic fairy tale,” Peter and the Wolf, composed in 1936.
The Virginia Symphony Orchestra is Virginia’s pre-eminent professional symphony, ranked in the top ten percent of symphonies nationwide. The VSO has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and reaches over 160,000 concertgoers and 45,000 children in Hampton Roads each year.
Brett Morris will be the guest conductor for Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Morris was born in New Zealand, where he studied conducting. He completed his studies in orchestral conducting and piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music, London. He conducts frequently with the Royal Ballet of Flanders and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. He also conducts for operas and other symphonies around the world.
You will not want to miss this iconic story of star-crossed lovers, set to beautiful dance and music.
Tickets for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet are available here.