The classic story of boy meets girl; girl's family hates boy's family; boy's family hates girl's family; boy kills girl's cousin; boy and girl kill themselves.
Roméo and Juliette meet at a masked ball at the home of the Capulets. Her cousin Tybalt suspects that Roméo, a hated Montague, is behind the mask and plans revenge.
In the garden that night, Roméo and Juliette meet to exchange vows. They get married by Friar Laurent in hopes of reconciling the two houses of Verona.
A skirmish in the streets leads to the death of Roméo’s best friend Mercutio. Roméo, enraged, kills Tybalt and is subsequently banished from Verona.
Juliette, finding herself forced into marriage to Paris, asks the friar for help. He gives her a potion that will put her to sleep but also make her appear dead. She is to be laid in the family tomb where Roméo will find her. The two will then run off together.
However, Roméo is unaware of the plan as he has not been informed. Thinking Juliette dead, he enters the tomb and takes poison. Just then, Juliette awakens to find him dying. She stabs herself to die alongside her beloved.
"Romeo and Juliet"
Opera in 5 acts
Sung in French
About 2 hours 30 min + intervals
A short chorus sets the scene of the rival families in Verona.
A masked ball in the Capulets’ palace
Tybalt talks to Pâris about Juliette, who appears with her father. Roméo, Mercutio, Benvolio and their friends enter, disguised, and Mercutio sings a ballad about Queen Mab, after which Juliette sings a joyful waltz song. The first meeting between Roméo and Juliette takes place, and they fall in love. But Tybalt re-appears and suspects that the hastily re-masked Roméo is his rival. While Tybalt wants immediate revenge, Capulet orders that the ball continue.
The Capulets' garden
After Roméo's page Stephano has helped his master gain access, he reveals the two young lovers exchanging their vows of love.
Roméo and Juliette, accompanied by Gertrude, go to the cell, and the wedding takes place. Laurent hopes that reconciliation between the houses of the Montagus and the Capulets may thus take place.
A street near Capulet's palace
Stephano sings to attract the occupants into the street. Gregoire and Stephano skirmish as men from each family appear. The duel is first between Tybalt and Mercutio, who falls dead, and then between Roméo, determined to avenge his comrade, and Tybalt. Tybalt is killed by Roméo, who is banished by the Duke.
Juliet's room at dawn
Roméo and Juliette are together and, after a long duet, Roméo departs for exile. Juliette's father comes to remind her of Tybalt's dying wish for Juliette to marry Count Pâris. The friar gives Juliette a draught which will cause her to sleep, so as to appear as if dead and, after being laid in the family tomb, it is planned that Roméo will awaken her and take her away. [A ballet scene in the grand hall of the palace was inserted at this point.]
Roméo breaks into the tomb after having taken poison because he believes that Juliette is dead. When she awakes from the friar's potion, the lovers' last duet is heard before the poison takes effect on Roméo. As her bridegroom weakens Juliette stabs herself, to be united with her lover in death.
Juliette - Soprano (lyric coloratura)
Daughter of Capulet
Roméo - Tenor (lyric)
Son of Montague
Frère Laurent - Bass (lyric)
Mercutio – Baritone (lyric)
Stéphano – Mezzo-soprano (lyric)
Count Capulet – Bass (lyric)
Tybalt – Tenor
Lady Capulet's nephew
Gertrude – Mezzo-soprano (lyric)
The Duke - Bass
The Duke of Verona
Pâris - Baritone
A young count
Grégorio - Baritone
Benvolio – Tenor
Frère Jean – Bass
Place of birth: The Latin Quarter, Paris, France
Place of death: Saint-Cloud, Paris, France
Charles Gounod was a French composer. He wrote twelve operas, of which the most popular has always been Faust (1859); his Roméo et Juliette (1867) also remains in the international repertory. He composed a large amount of church music, many songs, and popular short pieces including his Ave Maria (an elaboration of a Bach piece), and Funeral March of a Marionette.
“My opinion changes rapidly - one minute I can think it is very good and the next time I look at it, I see all the flaws and weaknesses therein.”
Most prominent operas
Barbier and Carré co-wrote the libretto for Roméo et Juliette based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
Jules Barbier was a French librettist, poet and writer. He wrote the libretto for Les contes d'Hoffmann by Offenbach. He also co-wrote librettos together with Michel Carré. Their most prominent works include Gounod's Faust and Roméo et Juliette, and Thomas' Hamlet and Mignon.
2, 2, 2, 2 - 4, 2, 3, 1
timp, perc, harp, strings, organ
Roméo et Juliette premiered at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, in 1867.
Aria - Je veux vivre (Juliette)
Duet – Ange adorable (Roméo, Juliette)
Aria - Ah! Lève-toi soleil (Roméo)
Duet – O nuit divine! Je t'implore! (Roméo, Juliette)
Aria – Que fais-tu blanche tourterelle (Stéphano)
Duet – Nuit d'hyméné (Roméo, Juliette)
Aria – Amour, ranime mon courage (Juliette)
Aria – C'est là... Salut! tombeau sombre et silencieux! (Roméo)
Duet – Finale (Roméo, Juliette)