On this day…

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev rehearsing Roland Petit’s ballet Paradise Lost at the Royal Opera House in London. 20th February, 1967.




On this day: the premiere of Romeo and Juliet


Romeo and Juliet as it was intended to be: Gable and Seymour in the roles created for them, in a 1965 performance.

Kenneth Macmillan’s acclaimed ballet version of Romeo and Juliet premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on the 9th of February, 1965.

Even though the ballet had been specifically created for Christopher Gable and Lynn Seymour, the intervention of Russian-American tour organiser Sol Hurok meant they were not allowed to dance first cast in the lead roles.

Instead, Gable and Seymour, critically acclaimed dancers who had personal input into the choreography, were forced to teach their roles to Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, who would also go on to feature in the video recording of the ballet.

In further controversy, choreographer John Cranko, whose earlier production of the ballet is eerily similar to Macmillan’s version in a number of scenes, was said to be horrified by what he saw as plagiarism of his work.

On this day: Sarah Booth’s Covent Garden Debut

English Actress Sarah Booth. Early 19th Century.

Famous English actress Sarah Booth made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on the 23rd of November, 1810. She played Amanthis in the play Child of Nature.

The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in 1810.

The new Opera House, drawn in 1810.

At the time, the Opera House was brand new, as the previous one had been destroyed by fire.

Portrait_of_Sarah_Booth in 1815

An 1815 portrait.

Booth was born in 1793 in Birmingham, and had a sister who also performed on the stage. Both were dancers at the time they were discovered in Manchester. Small in stature and with hair that was tinged red, Sarah was often cast in roles like Juliet, roles that required her to look younger.