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Happy Endings

Happy Endings: Paul Allen explores the allure of the happy ending, looking at the story of the Prokofiev's original version of Romeo and Juliet with composer Gerard McBurney.

Paul Allen explores the allure of the happy ending, looking at the story of the Prokofiev's original version of Romeo and Juliet with composer Gerard McBurney and dance critic Debra Craine. The composer's intended ending of the ballet saw the lovers survive, but Stalin wouldn't countenance this and it was never publicly performed until 2008.

Sonia Massai, Reader in Shakespeare Studies at King's College, London, examines why for 150 years the only version of King Lear theatregoers saw was Nahum Tate's version - in which the old king and Cordelia both survive.

Should a classic always remain untouched, or do such stories have a life - and endings - that can change with the times, tastes and expectations?

20 minutes

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