Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet was first performed in 1869 by the Imperial Russian Ballet. It is based on Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name but has a happy ending (a common practice in ballet at that time). The work was an instant success and is one of the most popular ballets in history.
What made this ballet so popular among audiences was its score, which is one of Tchaikovsky’s best. The music was considered very dramatic for its time, capturing the essence of Shakespeare’s plot with its high drama and tragedy mixed with love, lust, betrayal and revenge.