Romeo & Juliet Revival

The work of William Shakespeare has inspired thousands of works from movies, books and even symphonic composures. North Dakota State’s Festival Concert Hall will host a rendition of “Romeo and Juliet” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and also 2 p.m. Sunday.

“Romeo & Juliet … Three Versions” will also feature actors from Theatre B performing small pieces of Shakespeare’s famous play in-between the musical numbers.

Three of the pieces being performed at this concert have been performed before across the world. Two pieces were composed by Russian composers, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, who display the richly romantic side of Romeo and Juliet’s story with modern and thematic tones appearing in Prokofiev’s later work. The third piece, written by Leonard Bernstein, includes West Side Story’s symphonic dances with a Latin infused electronic dancing flare to change the pace of the concert.

This night at the symphony will also be premiering a work entitled “Heart’s Ease” commissioned for the string players in the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. The piece was composed by local Daniel Breedon, a composition professor at Concordia College who plays violin in the symphony orchestra.

The piece is entitled “Heart’s Ease” for two different reasons. First, there was a song with the exact same title that was extremely popular in Shakespeare’s time (For this same reason, there might be a symphonic arrangement entitled “Blank Space” hundreds of years in the future). Second, the song refers to a critical point in the play where Juliet’s “dead” body is found by the wedding party. Romeo, incredibly distraught by the presumed loss of his lover, is on the verge of completely losing it.

So, to prevent a total breakdown, Romeo asks the band to play “Heart’s Ease,” a relaxing tune that he hopes will remind him about all the good life has to offer. Hopefully symphony-goers will listen to this song without thinking that the person they love the most is dead.

This weekend of concerts kicks-off the exciting month long Shakespearefest 2016, a celebration including plays, trivia contests and ShakesBeer happy hours for everyone over the age of 21.

Tickets for this Romeo and Juliet concert are $25 – $35 for adults and $10 – $15 for high school and college students. Student rush tickets are available (accompanied by a student ID) for only $5 starting an hour before the performance.

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