I want to tell you about Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64, as performed
by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko:
This amazing recording presents Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, recorded here in its entirety – which is a first for the orchestra as well as its conductor. The Oslo Philharmonic recorded Suites Nos. 1 and 2 under Mariss Jansons in 1989, but never the complete ballet up until this point.
Prokofiev’s imaginative orchestration has made the ballet Romeo and Juliet world-famous, primarily through the orchestral suites as opposed to the ballet as a whole. Unmistakably a child of the Rimsky-Korsakov school of orchestration, Prokofiev’s orchestra arsenal for the ballet includes tenor saxophone, four mandolins, cornet, celesta, organ, piano and a number of percussion instruments.
The Sunday Times wrote:
“Petrenko’s Norwegian band yield nothing in virtuosity — the strings are staggering in the fight — to Russian peers. The dramatic episodes sizzle, but there is poignancy in the balcony scene and Juliet’s death. One listens with refreshed ears.”
Here is a section of Petrenko’s performance: