A Perfect Combination of Music and Dance – Romeo & Juliet Lives Again

Q & A with Carmon DeLeone

Cincinnati Ballet makes its triumphant return to Music Hall with the Romeo & Juliet this Thursday.

With a cast of 34 dancers and a dazzling Prokofiev score performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Romeo & Juliet is the perfect production to herald the ballet’s return to the newly-renovated Music Hall.

Carmon 366

Carmon DeLeone, Music Director of Cincinnati Ballet, was asked several questions recently about the importance of the beautiful music in this particular production.

Here are his responses:

How would you describe the music in this particular production of Romeo & Juliet?
The music composed by Sergei Prokofiev for Romeo & Juliet is considered some of the finest ever written for ballet. It is truly a landmark composition – an example of musical perfection that will inspire musicians, dancers, and audience at the same time…and for all time.

How much does music drive the action and emotion of the piece?
A choreographer relies on the music to sell all the moments of emotion and action on their dancers. In the case of this score for Romeo & Juliet, it is beautifully laid out note by note to inspire maximum creativity.

What is your favorite musical section of the score that you and the orchestra look forward to performing the most?

Cervilio Miguel Amador & Janessa Touchet; Photography: Peter Mueller

Cervilio Miguel Amador & Janessa Touchet; Photography: Peter Mueller

That’s difficult to answer because around every musical corner, here is beauty, excitement, drama, or sometimes even excruciating pain. The Balcony Scene which closes Act One is a special moment in the score, as is the Death of Tybalt scene at the end of Act Two. Of course, the conclusion of the ballet in the final Crypt Scene brings tears to the eyes. It is an amazing moment, too. It’s just too hard to choose a favorite, so I say savor it all!

What is the most challenging part of performing the score from the orchestra’s standpoint?
The score for Romeo & Juliet is challenging for musicians and the conductor alike, but the rewards are great. Prokofiev has a melodic style that can be angular with its wide leaps and quick changes of keys, but it never seems contrived. These passes need to be cared for and practiced so that they flow as the composer intended.

If people find that they love this music, what other musical scores would you suggest they listen to?
This is easy to answer. Prokofiev’s other master score for ballet is his amazing music for Cinderella. Also high on the list of “Desert Island Treasures” are his 5th Symphony and his Piano Concerto Number 3. They are all great musical monuments of the 20th Century. I also enjoy and can recommend his Overture on Hebrew Themes.

Romeo & Juliet leads Cincinnati Ballet’s return to the newly-renovated Cincinnati Music Hall, October 26-29. Tickets are on sale now.


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