Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”: From Ballet Score to Concert Suite

Character lies at the heart of Sergei Prokofiev’s 1935 ballet score, Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64. In the opening bars, the alternating forces of darkness and light become metaphysical “characters.” Demonic dissonances in the brass roar and subside, revealing an angelic string “choir” which seems to have been present all along. It is this battle between the baseness of the world and transcendent higher powers which underlies Shakespeare’s story. A heavy, groaning …

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