Thursday, December 09, 2010


Probably the best known score of Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet is the one known as Montagues and Capulets. It is the fifth score in Scene II, Act I of the ballet (which is composed of three acts in all). It is perhaps better known as the Dance of the Knights. The following video shows a performance in the Opéra National de Paris.


Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was one of those rare individuals who, by sheer talent, managed to evade the plight and the mayhem of the overwhelming majority of Russians in the communist era. To be sure, he had his share of worries - the producer of his first Opera for a by then firmly established USSR, was shot by the NKVD, and he himself was forced to compose a cantata hailing Stalin - but taking it all together he coasted relatively unscathed thru three decades of massive suffering for the ordinary folk in the Soviet Union. Luckily so, otherwise the world would never have known his Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, Alexander Nevsky or Scythian Suite. He died on the very same day as Stalin, 5 March 1953, and the mass murderer's farewell gesture was a so excessive demand of genuine flowers that poor old Prokofiev's funeral had to make do with paper flowers.


Dead White Male.


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