“… An ingenious way to revive to large parts forgotten music.”
Charles T. Downey , The Washington Post (USA)
“… full of talent, creativity and charm.”
Mario Córdova , Las Últimas Noticias (Chile)
“Humor, playfulness and musicality. ”
Christer Eklund | Dalarnas Tidningar (Sweden)
In the world of early music, Romeo & Julia Kören has carved out its own niche. As Artist in residence at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Romeo & Julia Kören honors a musical storytelling tradition. The ensemble perform dramatized concerts as much for the eyes as for the ears. Drama, music and choreography are fused into an expressive, playful, genre-transcending experience.
The ensemble was founded by Artistic Director Benoît Malmberg in 1991 during the production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. As part of the ensemble Benoit suggested to the director that they could sing renaissance songs and dance to give the play something extra. Magic happened and the vocal ensemble Romeo & Julia Kören was born.
From then on Benoît has dedicated his heart and soul at creating theatrical concerts based on music from the renaissance and early baroque. He has made it his life’s mission to preserve and revive this old music and is constantly developing Romeo & Julia Kören’s artistic expression. His knowledge of and love for art and history is apparent in the magnificent images he creates which together with his interpretations of the music truly creates a complete visual, sensual and musical experience.
The eighteen members of the ensemble are all accomplished performers in their own right. Musicians, actors, singers and dancers, their joint talents blend to create unique concerts filled with spectacular music, drama, romance and comedy.
The sizable repertoire span from Italian, Spanish, English, and French Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces to Slavic songs and fiery Swedish folk tunes. With arrangements specifically written for the ensemble, they dare to challenge the traditional way of performing this music, making it appealing and relevant to an audience of today.
Romeo & Julia Kören’s significant way of performing has been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike all around the world for almost thirty years. Tours have brought the ensemble to more than 35 countries including China, USA, Chile, Russia, Croatia, Italy, Japan, France, Kosovo, Russia, Iceland, Tibet, Mexico, Kurdistan and Germany. Among the vast number of spectacular venues visited are the NCPA in Beijing, Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik, and Sanssouci in Potsdam. The ensemble has frequently performed at celebrations for the Swedish Royal Family, and at the Nobel Prize Banquet no less than five times.
Romeo & Julia Kören is happy to take any opportunity to use their music for charity and have cooperated with Unicef, Refugees Welcome Sweden and Balkan Sunflowers, among other organisations and makes an effort to visit orphanages, schools or homes for elderly both in Sweden and when visiting other countries.
Most productions are adaptable to any venue, be it a castle, garden, concert hall or street corner. The ensemble performs in various constellations ranging from fifteen singers down to a quartet, or a soloist, accompanied by renaissance lute and percussions. Artistic Director Benoît Malmberg knows no boundaries in using whatever at hand and with his artistry creating musical magic anywhere at any time. His sure instinct and generosity has spellbound audiences of all ages and all cultures through the years, and has also made dedicated fans start the organisation “Friends of Romeo & Julia Kören” which celebrates 20 years in 2019.
The ensemble was honored with Ingmar Bergman’s personal award in 1999 and in 2012 Benoît was granted the King’s medal for his outstanding artistic work with Romeo & Julia Kören.
The special feature that Romeo & Julia Kören has developed is a full-fledged musical genre that combines singing, scenic narrative and choreography. […] The result is a playful performance, with excellent audience contact and a twinkle in the eye.
Gregor Flakierski, Allehanda (Sweden)