Night and Day: Wednesday, May 16, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Sergei in Love

Sergei Prokofiev wanted more than anything to be an opera composer, but circumstances kept sidetracking him. He never did write the Great Russian Opera, but in his spare time he made valuable contributions to the repertoires of orchestral, piano, violin, and chamber music, and he also composed some great ballet scores. He was living in Paris in the 1920s when he started to write ballets, and he was uneasy with the way choreographers kept fiddling with his scores in ways that conductors and instrumentalists wouldn’t dare. He didn’t write his greatest ballet score, Romeo and Juliet, until after his return to the Soviet Union in 1935 (a move he’d later regret).

Shakespeare’s play had already been turned into music by the likes of Berlioz, Gounod, and Tchaikovsky. Prokofiev, however, found the play congenial to the different strains in his music. He frequently took inspiration from 18th-century composers like Mozart, and he used this conceit to depict the courtly dances at the Capulets’ ball. He also had a typically modernist love of dissonance and barbaric rhythms, and he got to exercise this in the brawl between the Capulets and Montagues, a famous passage that sounds like a battle of gods. His music is many other things in the ballet, too: sensuous, lyrical, and humorous in Prokofiev’s unique way. Fort Worth Dallas Ballet presents this great tale, choreographed by Alan Jones for the Louisville Ballet.

Romeo and Juliet runs Fri-Sun at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets are $18-89. Call 817-763-0207.


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