The National Ballet of Canada

Romeo and Juliet

2023-02-02 20:00 2023-02-04 22:50 60 Canada/Eastern 🎟 NAC: The National Ballet of Canada

https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/31376

In-person event

Running Time
ACT I – 52 minutes
Intermission – 20 minutes ACT II–30 minutes
Intermission – 20 minutes ACT III –38 minutes Featuring the NAC Orchestra  Few of Shakespeare’s works have translated so well to the beautiful language of ballet as Romeo and Juliet. Choreographed by celebrated Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, this particular version was commissioned to celebrate The National Ballet of Canada’s 60th anniversary...

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Southam Hall,1 Elgin Street,Ottawa,Canada
février 2 - 4, 2023

≈ 2 hours and 40 minutes · With intermission

Our programs have gone digital.

Scan the QR code at the venue's entrance to read the program notes before the show begins.

Notes from our Executive Producer

The powerful Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet is an enduring inspiration for choreographers throughout generations, both as a rich vehicle for layered storytelling and a dynamic showcase for virtuosic dancing. When Karen Kain, now Artistic Director Emerita of The National Ballet of Canada, commissioned the famed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky to create a new Romeo & Juliet in 2011 to open the company’s 60th anniversary season, she introduced a striking reinterpretation that will inevitably anchor the company’s repertoire for years to come. We are fortunate to have this brilliant production grace our stage once again, highlighting some of the finest members of this stellar company. It is wondrous, musical, expressive, and enchanting –and at times will move you to tears (as it does me)! 

With this presentation, we officially welcome The National Ballet of Canada’s new Artistic Director, Hope Muir, to NAC Dance!  We also acknowledge the amazing performances over many years of Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté, who will bring us his Romeo one final time during this run. 

Welcome Hope Muir

Toronto native Hope Muir was named Joan and Jerry Lozinski Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada in January 2022, succeeding Karen Kain. Her accomplished international career as a dancer, guest teacher, stager, rehearsal director and artistic leader is matched by her deep commitment to collaboration and innovation. The National Arts Centre is excited to partner with her on future presentations and projects. We welcome her with open arms and wish her a long and prolific career at the helm of this exceptional company.

Thank you Karen Kain!

Karen Kain, C.C., LL.D., D.Litt., O.Ont joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1969 as a member of the Corps de Ballet and premiered, at the National Arts Centre in 1970, her first lead role in The Mirror Walkers. Soon after, she was promoted to the position of Principal Dancer. International recognition followed and through a close creative partnership with renowned dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev she reached new heights for a Canadian ballerina. Her dance career spanned an amazing 28 years during which she appeared at the National Arts Centre over 30 times. In 2005, Karen was appointed Artistic Director of her beloved company and, over the next 15 years, she raised the level of dancing, diversified the repertoire and resumed touring internationally. She stepped down from this role last year and was appointed Artistic Director Emerita.

Please join the National Arts Centre in paying tribute to her brilliant career, her artistic genius, her visionary leadership, and her stellar legacy.

Enjoy!

A Message from Hope Muir

Welcome to Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet, The National Ballet of Canada’s signature adaptation of a great work of 21st century ballet. This is my first tour to the Nation’s Capital as Artistic Director and I could not be more excited to join the much-loved tradition of performing at the National Arts Centre. Thank you for receiving us so warmly.

Created for the National Ballet in 2011, Romeo and Juliet is incredibly musical and poetic in its imagery, with choreography that reflects the artistry and athleticism of the company today. Alexei is a wonderful storyteller, keenly attuned to the emotion and psychology of Shakespeare’s tragedy, and he imbues each character with personality and intention. The production’s design has the warm palette of a Renaissance fresco and will transport you straight to Verona.

Alexei created the lead role of Romeo for Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté, an outstanding artist who has contributed significantly to the artistic profile of the National Ballet and to dance in Canada. This will be the last time Guillaume performs Romeo in Ottawa, a city close to his heart. I hope you will join me in celebrating Guillaume as he reaches this milestone in his remarkable performing career.

With gratitude,

Introduction

Last updated: janvier 4, 2024

Few of the many Shakespeare works that have been re-imagined for ballet have had the lasting impact and been embraced with as much affection as Romeo and Juliet. The story of two young lovers whose passion is tragically thwarted by the enmity of their respective families has inspired numerous choreographers over the decades, attracted by the enduring power of its themes and narrative and by its potential for dramatic and evocative dancing.

In his adaptation of the play, celebrated Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has given the familiar story a fresh and compelling re-telling. Created for The National Ballet of Canada in 2011, his version stays true to the play’s theatricality, romance and tragedy, plumbing the characters’ emotional depths and complexity with rare sensitivity. Ratmansky has created a Romeo and Juliet that is at once bracing and modern in its choreographic vigour, yet timeless in its dramatic urgency.

Synopsis

ACT I (50 minutes)

Scene I

Morning in the Italian Renaissance city of Verona. Romeo, son of Lord and Lady Montague, greets the awakening day. As the city comes to life, Romeo is joined in the lively town square by two friends, Mercutio and Benvolio. The bitter enmity between the Montague and Capulet families emerges with the arrival of Tybalt, a Capulet. Innocuous teasing escalates into swordplay as Tybalt fights with Benvolio and Mercutio. Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague enter and there is a brief lull in the fighting but soon the Lords also take up swords. The Duke of Verona enters with his guards and intervenes, chastening all of the combatants. The crowd parts, revealing the bodies of two dead young men.

Scene II

In her bedroom, Juliet, the daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, plays affectionately with her Nurse as she prepares for a ball. Her mother enters and tells her of Paris, an aristocratic suitor, whom they expect Juliet to marry. Her father enters with Paris. Juliet is uncertain about the arrangement but she receives Paris graciously.

Scene III

A lavish ball at the Capulet home. Juliet is being presented by her father to the assembled guests. Disguised by masks, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio slip unannounced into the ball. When Romeo sees Juliet, he is immediately lovestruck. Romeo approaches her, professes his feelings and Juliet immediately falls for him. Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, suspects the interloper and unmasks him, revealing his true identity. Enraged at Romeo’s effrontery, the hotheaded Tybalt demands revenge but he is stopped by Lord Capulet. As the guests depart, Tybalt warns Juliet to stay away from Romeo.

Scene IV

Later that night, Romeo waits beneath Juliet’s balcony. When she appears at her window he makes his presence known. Juliet comes down to him and, despite the danger of their situation which has now become all too clear to both, they pledge their love to each other.

INTERMISSION (20 minutes)

ACT II (30 minutes)

Scene I

In the market square, Romeo, delirious with love, is gently mocked by Mercutio and Benvolio. Juliet’s Nurse arrives, bearing a letter to Romeo from Juliet, agreeing to secretly marry him. Romeo is overjoyed.

Scene II

As planned, Romeo and Juliet meet with Friar Laurence, who has offered to marry them despite the risk, in the hope that it might bring peace to the warring families. He performs the the marriage ceremony for the two young lovers.

Scene III

Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt and taunt him. When Romeo enters, Tybalt challenges him to a swordfight but Romeo refuses. Mercutio is less reluctant and, after an exchange of insults, he and Tybalt cross swords and fight. Romeo seeks to intervene and stop them but inadvertently causes Mercutio’s death. A grief-stricken and guilt-ridden Romeo takes up a sword and kills Tybalt. The Duke arrives and as his guards bear away the bodies of Tybalt and Mercutio, he angrily banishes Romeo, who flees Verona.

INTERMISSION (20 minutes)

ACT III (40 minutes)

Scene I

Juliet’s bedroom at dawn. Romeo, although banished, has stayed for their wedding night. But now, however sorrowfully, Romeo must depart before they are discovered. After Romeo has gone, Juliet’s parents enter with Paris and tell her that she is to marry him the following day. She protests but her father brutally silences her. In despair, Juliet rushes off to seek assistance from Friar Laurence.

Scene II

In his cell, Friar Laurence gives Juliet a vial containing a sleeping draught that will simulate death. He plans to send word to Romeo, who will return to rescue her from the family burial vault when she has awakened.

Scene III

Juliet returns to her bedroom, where she pretends to bend to her parents’ will and marry Paris. Left alone, she takes the sleeping draught and falls into a death-like slumber on her bed. In the morning, Lord and Lady Capulet, Paris, the Nurse and several bridesmaids arrive to wake Juliet but find her unresponsive and believe her to be dead.

Scene IV

In the Capulet vault, Juliet lies still in her death-like sleep. Romeo enters, but not having received Friar Laurence’s message, believes Juliet is dead. In despair, he drinks a lethal poison to join her in death. As he dies, he sees Juliet awaken and realizes the cruel extent of what has happened. Juliet finds her beloved dead and kills herself in anguish. The Montagues, Lord Capulet, the Duke, Friar Laurence, and others enter to discover the terrible scene. Realizing the part their enmity has played in the tragedy, the Capulets and Montague are reconciled in their shared sorrow.

Did you know?

1. Ratmansky incorporates more dancing than some older versions of Romeo and Juliet, replacing certain mime scenes with movement. For example, Romeo’s first sighting of Juliet – and the moment they fall in love – is an exquisite lift sequence that alludes to their soaring hearts.

2. Sergei Prokofiev’s score has contributed to the enduring popularity of Romeo and Juliet and is one of the finest in ballet history. The music captures the emotion and drives events in the story, using recurring sounds and phrases to define the characters. For example, Juliet is depicted with the quicksilver violins, expressing her youth and innocence.

3. Richard Hudson, the Tony Award-winning designer of The Lion King, designed the sets and costumes. He used Renaissance paintings and frescoes as inspiration for the muted colour palette, fabrics, hats, headdresses, and cloaks.

4. The casting and creation of the ballet were captured in Moze Mossanen’s successful documentary for CBC television, Romeos and Juliets.

5. Ratmansky has created acclaimed new work for companies around the world and he has a particular interest in ballet history and revivals of legacy works. In addition to Romeo and Juliet, he has staged revivals of The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and La Bayadère.

Artists

  • hope-muir
    Joan and Jerry Lozinski Artistic Director Hope Muir
  • Executive Director Barry Hughson
  • Music Director David Briskin
  • Choreography Alexei Ratmansky
  • Set, Costume and Properties Design Richard Hudson
  • Lighting Design Jennifer Tipton
  • nb-primary
    Featuring The National Ballet of Canada
  • bio-orchestra
    Featuring NAC Orchestra
  • Principal dancer Jurgita Dronina
  • naoya-ebe
    Principal dancer Naoya Ebe
  • koto-ishihara
    Principal dancer Koto Ishihara
  • harrison-james
    Principal dancer Harrison James
  • Principal dancer Svetlana Lunkina
  • Principal dancer Siphesihle November
  • Principal dancer Genevieve Penn Nabity
  • Principal dancer Tina Pereira
  • ben-rudisin
    Principal dancer Ben Rudisin
  • Principal dancer Piotr Stanczyk
  • stephanie-hutchison
    Principal Character Artist Stephanie Hutchison
  • alejandra-perez-gomez
    Principal Character Artist Alejandra Perez-Gomez
  • rebekah-rimsay
    Principal Character Artist Rebekah Rimsay
  • jack-bertinshaw
    First Soloist Jack Bertinshaw
  • jordana-daumec
    First Soloist Jordana Daumec
  • First Soloist Christopher Gerty
  • spencer-hack
    First Soloist Spencer Hack
  • First Soloist Jeannine Haller
  • tanya-howard
    First Soloist Tanya Howard
  • alexandra-macdonald
    First Soloist Alexandra MacDonald
  • chelsy-meiss
    First Soloist Chelsy Meiss
  • jenna-savella
    First Soloist Jenna Savella
  • First Soloist Calley Skalnik
  • First Soloist Donald Thom
  • Second Soloist Brenna Flaherty
  • Second Soloist Hannah Galway
  • Second Soloist Selene Guerrero-Trujillo
  • Second Soloist Kathryn Hosier
  • Second Soloist Miyoko Koyasu
  • Second Soloist Tirion Law
  • Second Soloist Noah Parets
  • Second Soloist Kota Sato
  • ross-allen-1230
    Corps de Ballet Ross Allen
  • Corps de Ballet Isabelle Bratt
  • trygve-cumpston
    Corps de Ballet Trygve Cumpston
  • emersondayton-30602
    Corps de Ballet Emerson Dayton
  • shaelynn-estrada
    Corps de Ballet Shaelynn Estrada
  • jason-ferro-0930
    Corps de Ballet Jason Ferro
  • Corps de Ballet Nina Gentes
  • Corps de Ballet Albjon Gjorllaku
  • monikahaczkiewicz-3916
    Corps de Ballet Monika Haczkiewicz
  • joshhall-1755
    Corps de Ballet Josh Hall
  • ayano-haneishi
    Corps de Ballet Ayano Haneishi
  • peng-fei-jiang
    Corps de Ballet Peng-Fei Jiang
  • Corps de Ballet Sophie Lee
  • Corps de Ballet Keaton Leier
  • scottmckenzie-3579-1
    Corps de Ballet Scott McKenzie
  • Corps de Ballet Larkin Miller
  • Corps de Ballet Arielle Miralles
  • emma-ouellet-1003
    Corps de Ballet Emma Ouellet
  • clare-peterson
    Corps de Ballet Clare Peterson
  • mckhaylapettingill-6806
    Corps de Ballet McKhayla Pettingil
  • davidpreciado-3460
    Corps de Ballet David Preciado
  • Corps de Ballet Teagan Richman-Taylor
  • alexanderskinner-4116
    Corps de Ballet Alexander Skinner
  • ariannasoleti-3136
    Corps de Ballet Arianna Soleti
  • Corps de Ballet Konstantin Tkachuk
  • tene-ward
    Corps de Ballet Tene Ward
  • Corps de Ballet Christopher Waters
  • isaac-wright
    Corps de Ballet Isaac Wright

For the full National Ballet of Canada roster, visit https://national.ballet.ca/Meet/Dancers

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council; the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage with the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage; and the Government of Ontario with the Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Cast

Juliet
Chelsy Meiss (Feb 2, 4)
Svetlana Lunkina (Feb 3)

Romeo
Ben Rudisin* (Feb 2, 4)
Guillaume Côté (Feb 3)

Mercutio
Jack Bertinshaw (Feb 2)
Spencer Hack (Feb 3, 4)

Tybalt
Peng-Fei Jiang*

Nurse
Rebekah Rimsay

Friar Laurence
Teagan Richman-Taylor*

Lord Capulet
Piotr Stanczyk*

Paris
Christopher Gerty

Benvolio
Albjon Gjorllaku*

Lady Capulet
Stephanie Hutchison (Feb 2, 4)
Alejandra Perez-Gomez (Feb 3)

Duke of Verona
Peter Ottmann+

Lord Montague
Trygve Cumpston*

Lady Montague
Selene Guerrero-Trujillo*

Prostitutes
Jenna Savella
Tanya Howard or Jordana Daumec

Juliet’s Friends
Koto Ishihara
Brenna Flaherty
Miyoko Koyasu
Alexandra MacDonald

Nobles and Citizens of Verona
Artists of the Ballet

* Debut
+ Guest Artist

All casting subject to change

NAC Orchestra

Conductor: David Briskin

First Violins
**Yosuke Kawasaki (concertmaster)
Jessica Linnebach (associate concertmaster)
Noémi Racine Gaudreault (assistant concertmaster)
Marjolaine Lambert
Jeremy Mastrangelo
Manuela Milani
Emily Kruspe
Emily Westell
*Martine Dubé
*Erica Miller
*Oleg Chelpanov
*Andréa Armijo Fortin
*Renée London

Second violins
Mintje van Lier (principal)
Winston Webber (assistant principal)
Leah Roseman
Carissa Klopoushak
Frédéric Moisan
Zhengdong Liang
Karoly Sziladi
Mark Friedman
**Edvard Skerjanc
*Heather Schnarr
*Sara Mastrangelo

Violas
Jethro Marks (principal)
David Marks (associate principal)
David Goldblatt (assistant principal / assistant solo)
David Thies-Thompson
Paul Casey
*Tovin Allers

Cellos
Rachel Mercer (principal)
**Julia MacLaine (assistant principal)
Leah Wyber
Timothy McCoy
**Marc-André Riberdy
*Karen Kang
*Desiree Abbey
*Daniel Parker

Double basses
Max Cardilli (assistant principal)
Vincent Gendron
Marjolaine Fournier
**Hilda Cowie
*Paul Mach

Flutes
Joanna G'froerer (principa)
Stephanie Morin
*Kaili Maimets

Oboes
Charles Hamann (principal)
Anna Petersen
*Melissa Scott

English Horn
Anna Petersen

Clarinets
Kimball Sykes (principal)
Sean Rice
*Shauna Barker

Saxophone
* Robert Carli

Bassoons
Darren Hicks (principal)
Vincent Parizeau
*Nicolas Richard

Horns
Lawrence Vine (principal)
Julie Fauteux (associate principal)
Elizabeth Simpson
Lauren Anker
Louis-Pierre Bergeron
*Olivier Brisson
*Mark Constantine

Trumpets
Karen Donnelly (principal)
Steven van Gulik
*Benjamin Raymond
*Taz Eddy

Trombones
*Gord Wolfe (guest principal)
Colin Traquair

Bass Trombone
*Scott Robinson

Tuba
Chris Lee (principal)

Timpani/Timbales
*Michael Kemp (guest principal)

Percussion
Jonathan Wade
*Kris Maddigan
*Dan Morphy

Harp/Harpe
*Angela Schwarzkopf

Piano
*Andrei Streliaev

Mandolins/Mandolines
*Richard Green
David Marks
Carissa Klopoushak
Emily Kruspe

Principal Librarian
Nancy Elbeck

Assistant Librarian
Corey Rempel

Personnel Manager
Meiko Lydall

Assistant Personnel Manager
Laurie Shannon

*Additional musicians
**On Leave

The National Ballet of Canada

  • Joan and Jerry Lozinski Artistic Director
    Hope Muir
  • Executive Director
    Barry Hughson
  • Music Director
    David Briskin
  • Senior Répétiteur
    Peter Ottmann
  • Rehearsal Director, Principal Coach
    Rex Harrington, O.C.
  • Rehearsal Director, Principal Coach
    Xiao Nan Yu
  • Assistant Rehearsal Director
    Stephanie Hutchison
  • Artist-in-Residence
    Greta Hodgkinson, O.Ont.
  • Artistic Advisor
    Magdalena Popa
  • Curator and Producer, CreativAction and Special Initiatives
    Robert Binet
  • Founder
    Celia Franca, C.C.
  • Artistic Director Emerita
    Karen Kain, C.C.
  • Founding Music Director
    George Crum

Romeo and Juliet

  • Choreography
    Alexei Ratmansky
  • Staged by
    Aleksandar Antonijevic
    Greta Hodgkinson, O.Ont
  • Music
    Sergei Prokofiev 
  • Set, Costume and Properties Design
    Richard Hudson 
  • Lighting Design
    Jennifer Tipton 
  • Guest Répétiteur
    Magdalena Popa
  • Répétiteur
    Peter Ottman
  • Rehearsal Assistant
    Stephanie Hutchison
  • Premiere: The National Ballet of Canada, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, November 6, 2011 

The National Ballet of Canada Tour Staff

  • Senior Répétiteur
    Peter Ottmann
  • Assistant Rehearsal Director
    Stephanie Hutchison
  • Artist-in-Residence
    Greta Hodgkinson, O.Ont.
  • Artistic Advisor
    Magdalena Popa
  • Artistic Administrator
    Gerard Roxburgh
  • Senior Manager, Artistic Operations
    Jennifer Bennet Darbyshire
  • Associate, Artistic Administration
    Sarita Dotan
  • Company Athletic Therapist
    Paul Papoutsakis
  • Massage Therapist
    Ron Mulesa

Music
Pianist
Andrei Streliaev

Communications
Director of Marketing and Communications
Belinda Bale

Associate Director, Communications and Content Strategy
Catherine Chang

Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing
Vicki Munton-Davies

Development
Director of Development
Diana Reitberger, CFRE

Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Amanda Ram

Production

  • Director of Production
    Barney Bayliss
  • Associate Director of Production
    Yvette Drumgold
  • Technical Director
    Peter Eaton
  • Stage Managers
    Jeff Morris
    Liliane Stilwell
  • Lighting Coordinator
    Jeff Logue
  • Head Carpenter
    Kim Nutt
  • Head Electrician
    Ashley Rose
  • Property Master
    Michael Ellenton
  • Assistant Carpenter / Flyman
    Scott Clarke
  • Assistant Carpenter
    Cory Hudson
  • Assistant Electricians
    William Fallon
    Cecilia Waszczuk
  • Wardrobe Supervisor
    Stacy Dimitropoulos
  • Wardrobe Head
    Grant Heaps
  • Assistant Wardrobe Head
    Carrie Cooley Barbour
  • Hair and Make-up Head
    Jillian Walker
  • Footwear Assistant
    Leslie Brown

For a complete staff listing, please visit national.ballet.ca

NAC Dance Team

  • Executive Producer
    Cathy Levy
  • Senior Producer
    Tina Legari
  • Special Projects Coordinator and Assistant to the Executive Producer
    Mireille Nicholas
  • Company Manager
    Sophie Anka
  • Education Associate and Teaching Artist
    Siôned Watkins
  • Technical Director
    Brian Britton
  • Communications Strategist
    Julie Gunville
  • Marketing Strategist
    Marie-Chantale Labbé-Jacques

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following:

Canadian Actors' Equity Association and IATSE locals 58 and 822

Mary Ross and The School of Dance, Ottawa, ON.