Romeo and Juliet Premières at the Tovstonogov Russian State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theatre, Becoming the Main Event of the Season

On December 19 and 20, the renovated building of the at the Tovstonogov Russian State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theatre hosted the Leonid Yacobson Theatre's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, with music by Sergey Prokofiev. The ballet was performed to a full house and became the main première of the season. Igor Konyaev wrote the libretto and directed the production, while Anton Pimonov was responsible for the choreography.

The Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre In this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, the theatre continues working together with Anton Pimonov, a brilliant young ballet master who has already cooperated with the Yacobson Ballet Theatre to stage two ballets, Iberia and In the Rhythm of Dreams, both of which were featured in the Faces of Modern Choreography programme.

Given the dramatic complexity of Shakespeare's masterful tragedy, the theatre decided to extend an invitation to the famous director Igor Konyaev, who has been honoured by the Russian Federation National Award and the Golden Mask and Golden Soffit theatre awards. Mr. Konyaev was happy to accept the offer, and has joined the project as the director of production and the librettist.

The premise of the classical production, by Sergey Prokofiev, Sergey Radlov, and Leonid Lavrovsky, has been altered, and the tragedy now takes place in the theatre world, where a behind-the-scenes feud rages on between two actor dynasties.

The ballet focuses on the clash between the classical and modern style, between tradition and innovation, between the search for a fresh new outlook and the desire to keep perfecting the set standards; it unfolds a conflict stemming from love, and a struggle between ideas and egos.

The audience witnesses the rivalry between two theatre companies — the Capulet Classic Ballet Theatre and the Montague Modern Dance Theatre. The use of latest technology allows every element of the ballet's set to perform a large variety of diverse functions The art direction of the ballet has been entrusted to Vyacheslav Okunev, People's Artist of Russia and winner of the Golden Mask and Golden Soffit theatre awards; while the stage lighting has been designed by Evgeny Ganzburg, Honoured Cultural Worker of the Russian Federation.

During the première, Maria Menshikova played the part of Juliet, while Maksim Zyuzin played Romeo. The show also featured Andrey Gudyma as Tybalt, Marat Nafikov as Mercutio, and Igor Kontarev as Benvolio.
The event marked the 450th birth anniversary of William Shakespeare.