Born 1937 in Bernburg (Saale), Germany
Celebrated in his home country of Germany and around the world, Jürgen Rose has enjoyed a long and prolific career designing sets and costumes for ballet, opera and theatre.
Having studied at the Academy of Arts and the Theatre School in Berlin, Rose designed Romeo and Juliet for Stuttgart Ballet in 1962 at age 25. This production marked the beginning of a lifelong collaboration with John Cranko, the prominent choreographer and founder of the Stuttgart Ballet. It also cemented Rose’s position in the world of ballet design. As Rose relayed to German newspaper Die Zeit in 1993, “Cranko threw me in the water [and] almost let me drown. But with him immediately came international success.”
In addition to his alignment with Cranko, Rose forged lasting partnerships with other notable choreographers including Celia Franca, Founder of The National Ballet of Canada. The National Ballet’s first production featuring Rose’s designs was Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet in April 1964. Soon after, Franca and Rose collaborated on a new full-length production of The Nutcracker for the National Ballet, which premiered on December 26, 1964. This production featured brilliant and colourful sets and costumes. In its January 1965 review, the Montreal Star predicted that the new Nutcracker would be “a production that is going to dazzle audiences for years to come.” The Star’s prediction was correct: Celia Franca’s The Nutcracker remained a staple of the National Ballet’s repertoire until 1995.
Rose collaborated with the National Ballet again in 1967 to design Celia Franca’s Cinderella. The National Ballet would also stage several of his productions designed for Stuttgart Ballet, including Onegin, which the company premiered in 1984. Many of the productions Rose designed remained in the National Ballet’s repertoire for decades after he created them.
View the exhibit
The Nutcracker (1964)
Romeo and Juliet (1964)
Lilac Garden (1965)
Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.