Utah Symphony and Shakespeare Festival team up for anniversary edition of ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Posted at 10:21 PM, Apr 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 00:21:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Symphony is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival is helping out.

The two iconic Utah arts groups are teaming up to perform Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, and FOX 13 News was recently invited along for the final rehearsal at Abravanel Hall.

We got a sneak peek at a portion of the show, where Friar Lawrence talks about secretly marrying the impassioned lovers, Romeo and Juliet.

“Romeo, near death was Juliet’s husband, and she, near death, Romeo’s faithful wife. I married them!"

NYC-based actress Claire Warden is enjoying the experience of playing Lady Capulet.

"Having the music with the text, it seems for me to just expand and lighten both in a phenomenal way, it makes my job so easy,” she said.

The woman playing Juliet’s mother said the symphony brings power to the heart-rending story.

"The chance to sit in a room on stage with these stunning musicians, and not just hear them, but feel them playing, is one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve had,” she said.

The symphony had helped the Utah Shakespeare Festival celebrate their 50th anniversary, so, about a year ago, David Ivers, the festival’s artistic director, started talking with symphony conductor Thierry Fischer and artistic planner Toby Tolokan about how to celebrate the Utah Symphony's 75th anniversary.

“Toby and Thierry asked if I would be interested in either directing and/or adapting, I ended up doing both” Ivers said. “A kind of Romeo and Juliet storyline, and integration of the story with Prokofiev's ballet score. And, of course, my reaction was: 'Love to!'"

This marks the final collaboration between the symphony and various other performing arts organizations to celebrate the symphony's 75th.

Their next stop is Carnegie Hall, where they will perform on April 29.