Choreographer and stage director: Vyacheslav Samodurov (Russia) Conductor: Alexey Bogorad (Russia, Moscow Bolshoi Theatre) Set designer: Anthony MacIlwaine (United Kingdom) Lighting designer: Simon Bennison (United Kingdom, London Royal Opera) Costume designer: Irena Beloussova (Russia) Festival orchestra
Premiered on 5 March 2016 in Ekaterinburg.
“Curtains open and the actors look as if in the middle of a rehearsal. Young people in modern clothing are telling the audience the story of Romeo and Juliet here and now. Yet there are certainly stylisation and era-specific references in the production,” explains costume designer Irena Beloussova in an interview before the premiere. Choreographer Vyacheslav Samodurov’s ballet career has taken him to the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, the Dutch National Ballet and London Royal Opera. He currently works as the artistic director of the Ekaterinburg Ballet Theatre. Ekaterinburg is known among Russian cities as a strong and idiosyncratic place and one of the most important cities in the Russian dance scene – if not the most important.
“Of course, Romeo and Juliet was a difficult piece to work on, because the subject has been interpreted so many times before,” Samodurov said after the premiere in March. He has brought Romeo and Juliet on stage before, at the Royal Ballet of Flanders, but created a completely new version in Ekaterinburg.
Samodurov emphasises the importance of the actor’s work in his choreographic thinking. “I understood its importance when dancing in Covent Garden. I like the values conveyed by the works of Kenneth MacMillan. He has managed to avoid old-fashioned conditionality; every move of the dancers is justified and subordinated to the dramaturgy. I apply the same artistic principle to our artists.”
Considering the high level of the Ekaterinburg school of ballet, it seems self-evident that the stage director and the conductor, as well as the costume designer of this production of Romeo and Juliet have been repeatedly awarded the Golden Mask, the most prestigious theatre award in Russia.
Estimated run time 3 hours 10 minutes (two intermissions)