After some 400 years, it is time to reverse the title of the world's greatest love story and to consider the plot from a fresh angle. Which is exactly what distinguished Swedish choreographer Mats Ek has done. By beginning the account from Juliet's perspective and focusing on her actions and emotions, not only are things turned upside down but it also marks a return to the source of one of the most famous plays in world literature. Juliet & Romeo is Mats Ek's first narrative ballet since 1997, and the music comprises a collection of excerpts from Tchaikovsky's well-known compositions selected by the choreographer.
This 2008 live recording with the London Symphony Orchestra is Valery Gergiev's 2nd complete recording of Prokofiev's ballet Romeo & Juliet, the 1st being a 1991 Philips release with the Kirov Orchestra. This performance, like his 1st, is notable for its refinement & lyricism. It's perhaps surprising that Gergiev, known for the wildness & ferocity of his performances of other Prokofiev works, like The Fiery Angel, shows such restraint here. Gergiev clearly understands the ballet as a work in which Prokofiev, writing originally for the Bolshoi, a theater known for its conservatism (although that production was canceled), tailored his score to follow in the tradition of the 3 great Tchaikovsky ballets.