Lorin Varencove Maazel was born of American parents in Neuilly, France on March 6, 1930 and the family returned to Los Angeles when Lorin was still an infant. He exhibited a remarkable ear and musical memory when very young; he had perfect pitch and sang back what he heard. He was taken at age five to study violin with Karl Moldrem. At age seven he started studying piano with Fanchon Armitage. When he became fascinated with conducting, his parents took him to symphony concerts, then arranged for him to have lessons with Vladimir Bakaleinikov, then assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
After some 400 years, it is time to reverse the title of the world's greatest love story and to consider the plot from a fresh angle. Which is exactly what distinguished Swedish choreographer Mats Ek has done. By beginning the account from Juliet's perspective and focusing on her actions and emotions, not only are things turned upside down but it also marks a return to the source of one of the most famous plays in world literature. Juliet & Romeo is Mats Ek's first narrative ballet since 1997, and the music comprises a collection of excerpts from Tchaikovsky's well-known compositions selected by the choreographer.
Semyon Bychkov has been passionately devoted to the music of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky since his childhood, so he clearly regards recording all of the symphonies and the major orchestral works for Decca as a labor of love. This first volume in The Tchaikovsky Project opens with Tchaikovsky's last symphony, the Symphony No. 6 in B minor, "Pathétique," and includes as filler the popular Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, his first masterpiece.
Given its premiere by The Royal Ballet in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing the title roles, Kenneth MacMillan's first full-evening ballet has become a signature work for the Company, enjoying great popularity around the world. From the outset, the production teems with life and colour as the townspeople, market traders and servants of the rival Montagues and Capulets go about their daily business in vibrant crowd scenes. But Romeo and Juliet take centre stage for those great pas de deux: the meeting in the ballroom, the balcony scene, the morning after the wedding and the final devastating tomb scene. Although The Royal Ballet has performed Romeo and Juliet over 400 times, each performance and pairing is subtly different and Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are utterly captivating in the title roles.