When the Kirov in Leningrad (now the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg) commissioned Sergei Prokofiev to write a piece for the ballet Romeo and Juliet, the Ukrainian composer dedicated the entire summer of 1935 to creating music of prodigious beauty for the Shakespearean plot. But he decided that the ending would be happy.

“The dead can’t dance, the living can,” he said. If the story of the young lovers was recreated in a ballet, they had to survive and flee from Verona and the suffocating influence of their respective families. Romeo arrives one minute before Juliet dies.

But the liberty that Prokóviev took in reinterpreting the ending did not please the Soviet authorities, who canceled the premiere at the Kirov until the composer gave in. The conductor Iuri Faier met with him countless times to get him to return to the original ending. So it was in Brno (Czechoslovakia) where the score would first be heard with ballet, in 1938.

Prokófev would end up accessing back to the tragic ending. El Kirov would premiere it in 1940 with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky, with Galina Ulanova as Juliet and Konstantin Sergeyev as Romeo. Then would come other choreographic versions, like John Cranko’s or Kenneth McMillan’s, with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

Those resounding successes can be relived – with your eyes closed, just the music – at L’Auditori, at the closing of the 40th Ibercamera season, with the French National Orchestra conducted by maestro Cristian Măcelaru. The concert also features the new planetary revelation of the piano, Alexandre Kantorow, performing Chopin.