The immortal story of the Verona lovers
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2 hours 50 minutes, no intermissionLanguage
In French, subtitles in English, CzechPremiere
April 21, 2016
Four centuries on, the story of Romeo and Juliet, the most famous lovers of all time, still comes across as relevant, warning against fatal feuds between families, nations, ethnic and religious groups, which result in irredeemable and devastating tragedies. Ever since its premiere, on 27 April 1867 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris, the French composer Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette has been an essential part of the repertoire of opera houses worldwide.
The State Opera Chorus and Orchestra
In his youth, the French composer Charles Gounod (1818–1893) said that “one can only make a successful music career by composing operas”. Of the 13 operas he wrote, two went on to gain global recognition: Faust and Roméo et Juliette. Based on feted literary works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and William Shakespeare, respectively, both of them centre around a love story, with the major role being played by melodies. For more than 150 years, Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet have pined for each other, sung and died on stages all over the world. Why does the opera have such perennial appeal? The answer is simple: splendid solos and four mesmerising duets of the two protagonists, Mercutio’s elegant Ballad of Queen Mab, engrossing ensembles, including the lament on the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt, a colourful and highly emotional atmosphere.
Owing to Bedřich Smetana, a great champion of Gounod’s music, Roméo et Juliette got to Prague merely two years after its world premiere in Paris, and its Czech staging at the New Town Theatre on 29 August 1869, with Smetana conducting, was the very first in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Estates Theatre presented Gounod’s opera on 11 September 1873, in German translation, followed by the National Theatre on 6 January 1886, in Czech, and the Neues deutches Theater (today’s State Opera), again in German, on 20 October 1889. Our current production was created by the Slovak director and performance artist Sláva Daubnerová, with the music explored by the renowned Italian conductor Marco Guidarini.
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