Conductor: Mladen Tarbuk
Slovenian National Theatre Maribor
Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra
Music: Sergej Prokofjev
Concept and Choreography: Valentina Turcu
Set Designer: Marko Japelj
Costume Designer: Leo Kulaš
In 1934 Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned to write music for a new ballet Romeo and Juliet, staged after the famous tragedy by William Shakespeare. Since the composer lived abroad, the request from the Kirov Theatre seemed like an excellent opportunity to return to his homeland at least for a short period of time. Due to some complications the ballet was premiered only several years later in Brno, Bohemia, although Prokofiev previously attempted to convince the management of the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. After only a few performances Romeo and Juliet became one of the most performed ballets throughout the world, and thus a part of the regular repertoire of every respected ballet company.
As we read in the theatre programme, “the concept of the ballet Romeo and Juliet, premiered at the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor, is signed exclusively by its author, the soloist of the Maribor Ballet Ensemble and the choreographer of the Ballet, Opera and Drama SNT Maribor, Valentina Turcu. Valentina interprets the contents of Shakespeare’s and Prokofiev’s historical artistic masterpiece in a unique way, adding a modern touch to it. Her aim is to fuse all the theatrical elements into one. She transforms the ballet language, integrating acting at the same time, and follows her inner feeling, while blending with both text of the play and ballet music.” In doing so she keeps her choreographic concept close to Shakespeare’s original text, offering at the same time a vision of a bold, sensual and brutal era, in which the decisions about life and death were made in the blink of an eye. The choreographer is also a full-blooded woman, who experiences world in a different way and says: »We are all looking for love and infinity; therefore it seems to be a good reason, why Romeo and Juliet have been inspiring, exciting and alluring us into oneness for more than 400 years. «
The sets for the ballet performance were designed by Marko Japelj, who has created nearly one hundred theatre set designs in Slovenia and abroad. At first he worked with Tomaž Pandur and later on collaborated with all the important theatre directors. He has extended his activity to the field of opera as well and received several important awards for his work, including the three Borštnik Awards, Golden Wreath Award at the MES Festival in Sarajevo and the Prešeren Fund Award.