Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet premiered during SF Ballet’s 1994 Repertory Season and is set to Sergei Prokofiev’s score, performed in the May 6–26 stream by the SF Ballet Orchestra under the direction of Music Director Martin West.
Romeo & Juliet includes lighting design by Thomas R. Skelton and “opulent” (Los Angeles Times) Italian Renaissance designs by Jens-Jacob Worsaae, marking Worsaae’s final collaboration with Tomasson before he passed away shortly after the ballet’s premiere.
“I think it was the most beautiful work he’d ever done, and yet he did not see it,” Tomasson said about the ballet’s designs. “That’s [one] reason why this production is very, very special to me.”
Martino Pistone choreographed the production’s sword-fighting scenes in tandem with Tomasson. Actor, teacher, and movie stunt man Pistone, who also performs as Prince of Verona in the stream, expressed the desire to create “a dichotomy,” where Tomasson’s “classical ballet matched up with stage combat [and] semi-realism… when the fights break out, it’s a whole different movement which accentuates the illusion of violence that you see between these two families.” True to the era, characters fight with rapiers, daggers, bucklers, and capes in tightly choreographed scenes requiring hours of rehearsal.