I Capuleti e i Montecchi (concert version)
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Vincenzo Bellini (1801 – 1835)
A tragedia lirica in two acts
Libretto by Felice Romani based on the drama “Giulietta e Romeo” (1818) by Luigi Scevola
World premiere 11th March 1830 in Venice
Premiere at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: 29th February 2016
In Italian language with German and English surtitles
The sad tale of Romeo and Juliet, set in Verona, is best known as the tragedy written by Shakespeare, yet a number of other versions of the story were penned independent of the Bard. Largely unknown today, Luigi Scevola was an Italian writer of tragic dramas. The main protagonists of his best-known works are Sappho, Hannibal, Herodes, Socrates, Romeo and Juliet. His “fifth tragedy”, entitled “Giulietta e Romeo”, which draws on the same material used by Shakespeare, served as the source work for the libretto of the same name, which Felice Romani wrote in 1825 for Nicola Vaccai and adapted in 1830 for Vincenzo Bellini. For the world premiere in Venice the authors changed the name of the piece to I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI to distinguish it from the older opera. For many years it was conventional to follow the example set by Maria Malibran, the famed female interpreter of Romeo in both operas, and to replace Bellini’s finale with Vaccai’s.
Towards the end of the 19th century the opera faded from view. Charles Gounod revived the tale with his opera ROMEO AND JULIET. On the centenary of the death of Bellini I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI was performed again in his native city, but more than thirty years were to elapse before the work was staged again in the Milan Scala – initially with the part of Romeo sung by a tenor. Over the last 40 years the role of Romeo has been sung by a string of celebrated mezzo-sopranos that includes Janet Baker, Marilyn Horne, Agnes Baltsa, Vesselina Kasarova and Elīna Garanča. Joyce DiDonato gave her debut as Romeo to rave reviews in Paris in 2008 and reprised the role in a new production at the San Francisco Opera.
Presented by Wall AG
Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance