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“The Italian opera world of the 19th century obeyed the same principle that governs Hollywood: a composer was only as good as his last opera. […] Bellini had to erase the failure of Zaira by producing a successful opera on the spot.” Piotr Kamiński, Mille et un opéras, 2003.
LOVERS OF VERONA
Libretto by Felice Romani
In the beautiful Verona of the 13th century, the Capulets (Guelphs) and the Montagues (Ghibellines) clash mercilessly. Despite the hostile context, Giulietta, who is to marry Tebaldo, is in love with Romeo, a young man from the opposing clan. But the hatred between the enemies is stronger than love. The young lovers will find death, the final point of this terrible tragedy.
In search of new success, Bellini agreed, in the harsh Venetian winter of 1830, to compose a new opera in the space of six weeks for the La Fenice Theatre. Working with the excellent librettist Felice Romani, the subject chosen was the forbidden love between two young lovers from opposing families and political parties, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, a libretto already set to music under the title Giulietta e Romeo by Nicola Vaccai, a rival of Bellini.
I Capuleti e i Montecchi thus returns to the sources of the fifteenth-century Italian story, including that of Matteo Bandello, which had inspired Shakespeare himself. The story narrated here is therefore significantly different from that of the Stratford master.
The urgency of the work obliges Bellini to take up, as was common practice at the time, extracts from his forgotten or neglected works. Thus we find a large number of arias from Adelson and Salvini (1825) and Zaira (1829). But the work triumphed and the composer regained international fame. When the great Maria Malibran took on the role of Giulietta in 1832, she replaced Bellini’s finale, which was too daring for her taste, with one by Nicola Vaccai, which was more conventional. Fortunately, this ‘betrayal’ is no longer practised today…
- LAST PERFORMANCE AT THE ORW
- NEW PRODUCTION
OPÉRA ROYAL DE WALLONIE-LIÈGE
- WITH THE SUPPORT OF TAX SHELTER OF THE FEDERAL BELGIAN GOVERNMENT AND BEL ARTS FUND