Sergei Prokofiev
Romeo and Juliet
Ballet in two acts
Libretto: Leonid Lavrovsky, Adrian Piotrovsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Radlov based on the play by William Shakespeare

Act I

The Market place ‑ Verona.  Romeo, son of Montague and his friends Mercutio and Benvolio meet in the market place. A quarrel develops between Tybalt, a nephew of Capulet, and Romeo and his friends.  The Capulets and Montagues are sworn enemies and a fight soon begins.  The Lords Montague and Capulet join in the fray, which is stopped by the appearance of the Prince of Verona who commands the families to end their feud. The Prince declares, that from this time, the one who will conceive combat with weapons in arms, will be executed.

Juliet’s ante‑room in the Capulets’ house ‑ Juliet, playing with her nurse, is interrupted by her parents Lord and Lady Capulet.  They present her to Paris, a wealthy young nobleman who has asked for her hand in marriage.

The ballroom ‑ Guests arrive for a ball at the Capulets’ house.  Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio are in masks. Romeo and his friends arrive at the height of the festivities.  The guests watch Juliet dance.  Mercutio, seeing Romeo is entranced by her, dances to distract attention from him.  Tybalt recognizes Romeo and orders him to leave, but Capulet intervenes and welcomes him as a guest in his house. As the guests leave the ball Capulet restrains Tybalt from pursuing Romeo.

Juliet’s balcony ‑ Unable to sleep, Juliet comes out on to her balcony and is thinking of Romeo, when suddenly he appears in the garden.  They confess their love for each other.

 

Act II

The Market place ‑ Romeo can think only of Juliet.  In the meantime Juliet’s nurse pushes her way through the crowds in search of Romeo to give him a letter from Juliet.  He reads that Juliet has consented to be his wife.

The chapel ‑ The lovers are secretly married by Friar Laurence who hopes that their union will end the strife between the Montagues and the Capulets.

The market place ‑ Interrupting the revelry, Tybalt fights with Mercutio and kills him.  Romeo is in grief. He does not remember himself. He takes a sword of Mercutio and kills Tybald. The Capulets are craved with revenge. Benvolio helps Romeo to hide..

 

Act III

The bedroom ‑ Romeo gets to the bedroom his young wife. He wishes to see her before the departure. He has to live Verona. Morning. Juliet’s parents and the benefactress enter her bedroom. They tell her that the day of her wedding with Paris is assigned already. Juliet refuses to marry Paris, and hurt by her rebuff, he leaves.  Juliet’s parents are angry and threaten to disown her. 

The chapel ‑ Juliet falls at the Friar’s feet and begs for his help.  He gives her a phial of sleeping potion which will make her fall into a death‑like sleep.  Her parents, believing her dead, will bury her in the family tomb.  Meanwhile Romeo, warned by Friar Laurence, will return under cover of darkness and take her away from Verona.

The bedroom ‑ Juliet returns home and pretends, that obeys the will of the parents. And, having remained one, drinks the drug. Next morning, where her parents arrive with him they find Juliet apparently lifeless on the bed.

The Capulet family crypt ‑ Romeo, failing to receive the Friar’s message, returns to Verona stunned by grief at the news of Juliet’s death.  Disguised as a monk he enters the crypt, and finding Paris by Juliet’s body, kills him.  Believing Juliet to be dead, Romeo drinks a phial of poison. Having woken up, Juliet sees a breathless body of Romeo, blinded by grief; she kills herself with his dagger.

The death of both children makes the inconsolable parents to conclude an everlasting peace and in memory of two fine creatures to stop the war.