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The story of Romeo e Giulietta (Romeo and Juliet) comes to Auckland in time for the Italian Festival Season with a brand new ballet by Italian choreographer Francesco Ventriglia.

Artistic Director and choreographer Francesco Ventriglia creates a new version of the world’s greatest love story, especially for the Royal New Zealand Ballet: the company’s first new production of Romeo and Juliet since 2003. Inspired by Franco Zeffirelli’s classic 1968 film, with ravishing designs by Oscar-winner James Acheson and Prokofiev’s instantly recognisable score performed live by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. This will be a hot-blooded, passionate re-telling of Shakespeare’s play that is sure to resonate with lovers of dance, drama and pure romance.


The Ryman Healthcare Season of Romeo & Juliet

Wednesday 30 August 7:30pm – Opening Night

Thursday 31 August, 7:30 -9:30pm
Friday 1 September – 7:30 -9:30pm, Pre-Performance Talk 6:30pm
Saturday 2 September – 1:30-3:30pm with free post-preformance Q&E, and 7:30 -9:30pm with Warm Up, Curtain Up 6:20pm
Sunday 3 September – 4:00-6:00pm, Audio Described Performance

Click here to book tickets.


About Francesco Ventriglia, choreographer

Francesco Ventriglia trained at the Ballet School of La Scala, Milan, joining the world-renowned ballet company of La Scala in 1997. 

He made his debut as a soloist in William Forsythe’s In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated at La Scala in 1998, and in 1999 was chosen by Natalia Makarova to portray the Bronze Idol in her La Bayadère. Roland Petit entrusted him with the roles of the Toreador in his Carmen and Quasimodo in Notre Dame de Paris, and his repertoire also included works by Balanchine, Ailey, Neumeier, Cranko, Preljocaj, Godani, Kylián and Béjart. International performances with La Scala included Hilarion at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and at Covent Garden, opposite Sylvie Guillem’s Giselle. 

While at La Scala he began to create works for his fellow dancers and others, including the Ballet School of La Scala. In 2006 he created three works for Roberto Bolle: The Fight (Curia of the Roman Senate in the Imperial Forum); New Year’s Concert (La Fenice, Venice, later televised); and The Myth of the Phoenix (Teatro Smeraldo, Milan). In 2007 he established the Heliopolis Company, which made its debut at the Venice Biennale the same year. Also in 2007, he created A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jago, the honest poetry of deception, for the Arena di Verona, with étoile of the Opéra National de Paris, Eleonora Abbagnato. His Two Step Black has been performed at the Bolshoi Theatre by Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev (2008) and in New York by Irina Dvororenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. In 2008 he also created Contradictions for Ulyana Lopatkina, premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg.  In 2009 he was invited by the Bolshoi Theatre to create Zakharova Super Game, a multimedia collaboration for the prima ballerina and six principal dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet. Other commissions included Immemoria, a work for 40 dancers to music by Shostakovich, premiered at La Scala in May 2010, and Sed lux permanent – Transit umbra, to music by Schoenberg, for the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Francesco Ventriglia was appointed Director of MaggioDanza in Florence, Italy, in October 2010.  During his three years in Florence he guided the company to new success on the international stage, substantially increasing the number of performances at home and abroad, investing in education programmes, commissioning new works from Italian and international choreographers, and received acclaim from audiences and critics alike. His awards include the Gino Tani Award for the Arts (2005), the Premio Positano Leonide Massine (2006) and in 2010 the Bucchi Award for the best performance of the year, for Immemoria. In 2012 magazine Dance and Ballet named him ‘Best Director of the Year’ in recognition of his work at MaggioDanza.

Francesco Ventriglia took up his appointment as the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 11th Artistic Director in November 2014. Highlights of his first year with the RNZB include the world premieres of Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Neil Ieremia’s Passchendaele and Andrew Simmons Dear Horizon, and the company’s critically acclaimed tour to the UK and Italy. 2016, the first season programmed by Francesco Ventriglia as Artistic Director has begun with sell-out performances: Speed of Light, featuring works by Andonis Foniadakis, William Forsythe and Alexander Ekman; his own version of The Wizard of Oz, which sold out 23 performances around New Zealand and was seen by almost 36,000 New Zealanders; and an acclaimed revival of the RNZB’s signature production of Giselle.

In November 2016, Francesco Ventriglia announced that he would leave his role as Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet in June 2017, to pursue new opportunities internationally. He rejoins the RNZB as guest choreographer to create the company’s new production of Romeo and Juliet.