Being Shakespeare's most famous classic along with Gounod's compositions, Romeo and Juliet the opera is a treat for the opera fans. The five act show keeps the audiences on the edge of their seats and as it unfolds, it takes them on an emotional roller coaster ride.
Original Production, 1867
Originally titled Roméo et Juliette, the opera was first staged at Paris' Theatre Lyrique. Charles Gounod composed the opera based on libretto by French writers Michel Carre and Jules Barbier. Based on the famous "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, the show gathered a huge audience. The opera especially earned fame because of the waltz song named Je veux vivre that was sung by the soprano and for four duets that were for the main characters.
When Gounod's opera "Faust" earned fame in 1859, he was commissioned by the director Carvalho to produce more of these shows. Faust closed down at Theatre Lyrique after more than 300 performances from 1859 to 1868. Initially, Gounod had trouble finding the right tenor for the opera and even composed the last act twice. He still wasn't completely satisfied with the outcome when the show was first staged. However, it was hailed as a great success. After entering Opera-Comique's repertoire, the opera ran for fourteen years, including more than 390 performances. In November of 1888, it was taken to Paris Opera where Jean de Reszke and Adelina Patti took the lead roles.
Charles Gounod (1818 – 1893):
Mainly famous for his opera Ave Maria, based on Bach's work, Charles Gounod was a French composer. Romeo and Juliet and Faust are also considered as his prominent works. Born to artistic parents, Gounod had creativity in his blood. His father was an artist and mother was a pianist. His mother taught him piano at a very early age. Under her guidance, Gounod's musical talents were polished as a child. Later in his life, Gounod was made Legion d'honneur's Grand Officer, shortly afterwards he died of a stroke. His pieces of work have been considered among the finest classics during that era.
Romeo and Juliet, the Story:
One of the most famous tales of love and tragedy, Romeo and Juliet needs no introduction. It takes the audiences to the streets of Verona where a long feud continues to keep two families apart. Capulets and Montagues continue to fight for government and power. The opera revolves around the secret love affair between Romeo and Juliet, who belong to the rival families. Their love has the magic that can heal the hatred in Verona; however it ends up taking their lives.
This fall, don't forget to catch this masterpiece of love and sorrow at Richard Brunelle Performing Arts Theater.