Virtual Museum

Romeo and Juliet

Celia Franca

Celia Franca as Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (1964). Photo by Ken Bell.

The National Ballet of Canada first performed Romeo and Juliet at Montréal’s Place des Arts on April 14, 1964, with guest artists Marcia Haydée and Ray Barra from Stuttgart Ballet in the title roles. The company then took Romeo and Juliet home to Toronto and marked the National Ballet’s debut at the O’Keefe Centre. It was the first large-scale 20th-century ballet as well as the most lavish to enter the company’s repertoire and was deliberately chosen to suit the large stage of the O’Keefe Centre. The first Toronto performance was on April 21, 1964 and featured Galina Samtsova and Earl Kraul in the lead roles.

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Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.