The Story of Romeo & Juliet

Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet will be performed on tour at the Royal Danish Opera House in Copenhagen from October 30 to November 2, 2019. Romeo & Juliet will also be part of SF Ballet’s 2020 Season in San Francisco, on Program 08, which runs May 1 to 10, 2020.

Act I

SCENE I: A Public Square

Verona’s main piazza comes alive with merchants and townspeople, including members of the Montague and Capulet families, who have been involved in a longstanding feud. Among the crowd are Romeo, son of Montague, futilely pursuing the fair Rosaline; Mercutio and Benvolio, friends of Romeo; and Tybalt, nephew of Capulet. A fight erupts between friends and members of the two houses, and only an order by the Prince of Verona restores the peace.

Two households, both alike in dignity

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

Mathilde Froustey and Carlo Di Lanno in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Erik Tomasson

SCENES II–V: The House of Capulet

Juliet, the young daughter of Capulet, is in a frolicsome mood with her Nurse until Lord and Lady Capulet arrive with Paris, a count, who asks the reluctant girl for her hand in marriage. That evening, Juliet attends a ball given by her parents. Among the guests is the uninvited Romeo. Juliet and Romeo discover each other, and there is an instant attraction.

Juliet: My only love sprung from my only hate!

Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

Prodigious birth of love it is to me,

That I must love a loathèd enemy.

Sarah Van Patten in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet.
(© Erik Tomasson)

SCENE VI: The Balcony

A restless Juliet wanders out onto her balcony. To her unexpected delight, Romeo appears below. They declare their love for each other in a romantic pas de deux.

Romeo: With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls,

For stony limits cannot hold love out,

And what love can do, that dares love attempt.

Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.

Anita Paciotti and Diego Cruz in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Erik Tomasson

Act 2

SCENE I: A Public Square

Juliet’s Nurse comes in search of Romeo with a note from his beloved. He is to meet her at the chapel of Friar Laurence, who will perform the wedding ceremony.

Romeo: Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set

On the fair daughter of rich Capulet.

As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine…

SCENE II: Friar Laurence’s Chapel

Romeo and Juliet are married in secret by Friar Laurence.

Friar Lawrence: So smile the heavens upon this holy act…

Sofiane Sylve in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Erik Tomasson

SCENE III: A Public Square

Tybalt emerges from the crowd and draws his sword at Mercutio, who retaliates. Romeo tries to put a halt to their swordplay. But a duel ensues, and Tybalt kills Mercutio. An enraged Romeo exacts revenge for his friend’s death, fatally stabbing Tybalt. The Prince forever banishes Romeo from Verona.

Benvolio: And if we meet we shall not ’scape a brawl,

For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.

Act 3

SCENE I: Juliet’s Bedroom

The newlyweds awaken and express their love and their fears in a passionate pas de deux. Romeo takes his leave. The Capulets arrive with Paris, and Juliet informs them that she will not marry him. Juliet’s parents threaten to disown her.

Romeo: More light and light, more dark and dark our woes!

SCENE II: Friar Laurence’s Chapel

A distraught Juliet implores Friar Laurence to help her. He gives her a potion to drink that will induce a sleep so deep that she will appear to be dead. Friar Laurence will get word to Romeo that Juliet is still alive. Romeo will come for her, and they will flee Verona together.

Juliet: Come weep with me, past hope, past cure, past help.

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Erik Tomasson

SCENE III: Juliet’s Bedroom

Juliet agrees to marry Paris. Later that night she drinks the potion. In the morning, Juliet’s friends arrive to celebrate her wedding. But no one can arouse her from her sleep, and all believe she is dead.

Juliet: What if this mixture do not work at all?

Shall I be married then tomorrow morning?

SCENE IV: Outside Verona

As word of Juliet’s death begins to spread, Friar Laurence dispatches a messenger to Romeo with the news that Juliet is, in fact, alive. But word fails to reach him, and Romeo decides to return to Verona to die beside his beloved.

Romeo: How fares my Juliet?

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Erik Tomasson

SCENE V: The Capulet Tomb

Juliet is buried. After the mourners have gone Romeo enters the crypt and finds Paris already there. The two men fight, and Paris is mortally wounded. Romeo then drinks poison and dies. Juliet awakens from her sleep and discovers Romeo’s body. Heartbroken, she stabs herself and dies.

Prince: For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

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Header image: Mathilde Froustey and Carlo Di Lanno in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet // © Erik Tomasson

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