My bounty is as endless as the sea, my love as deep;
Verona, 14th century.
the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.
Romeo meets Juliet in a crowded ballroom, setting in motion a chain of events that will change both their families. Shakespeare's classic tale of star-crossed lovers comes to the stage of Overture Hall in its most famous operatic setting.
With soaring arias, impassioned scenes, and plenty of sword fights, Gounod's gorgeous opera brings this tragic tale of young love to vivid life.
|Duke of Verona
Andrew F. Turner*
Learn more about our cast!
* Madison Opera debut
Conductor: John DeMain
Director: Doug Scholz-Carlson
Sung in French with projected English translations
Friday, November 4, 2016 | 8pm
Sunday, November 6, 2016 | 2:30pm
Performances last approx. 3 hours; including 1 intermission
Opera Novice: Shakespearean Opera | October 14, 2016
Opera Up Close: Romeo & Juliet preview | October 30, 2016
Opera Talks: Pre-Opera Talk and Post-Opera Q&A session
The Story of the Opera
A chorus introduces the story of the endless feud between the Montague and Capulet families, and of the love between their children, Romeo and Juliet.
At a masked ball at the Capulet palace, Tybalt waits for his cousin Juliet and assures her suitor, Paris, that her beauty will overwhelm him. Lord Capulet presents his daughter to the guests and invites them to dance. The crowd disperses and Romeo, a Montague, enters with his friends Mercutio and Benvolio. He tells them about a strange dream he has had, but Mercutio dismisses it as the work of the fairy Queen Mab. Romeo watches Juliet dance and is instantly entranced with her. Juliet tells her nurse that she is not interested in marriage, but when Romeo approaches her, both feel that they are meant for each other. Just as they discover each others' identity, Tybalt returns. Romeo masks himself and rushes off. Tybalt identifies the intruder as Montague’s son, but Capulet restrains him, ordering the party to continue.
Later that night, Romeo enters the Capulets’ garden, looking for Juliet. When she steps out onto her balcony, he comes forward and declares his love. Servants briefly interrupt their encounter. Alone again, they vow to marry.
Romeo comes to Frère Laurent’s cell at daybreak, followed by Juliet and her nurse, Gertrude. Convinced of the strength of their love, the priest agrees to marry them, hoping that the union will end the fighting between their families.
Outside Capulet’s house, Romeo’s page, Stephano, sings a mocking song. This provokes a fight with several of the Capulets. Mercutio protects Stephano and is challenged by Tybalt. Romeo appears and tries to make peace, but after Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo stabs him. The Duke of Verona arrives, and both factions cry for justice. Romeo is banished from the city.
Romeo and Juliet awake after their secret wedding night. She forgives him for killing her cousin, and after they have assured each other of their love, Romeo reluctantly leaves for exile. Capulet enters and tells his daughter that she must marry Paris that same day. She is left alone, desperate, with Frère Laurent, who gives her a sleeping potion that will make her appear dead. He promises that she will wake with Romeo beside her. Juliet drinks the potion. When Capulet and the guests arrive to lead her to the chapel, she collapses.
Romeo arrives at the Capulets’ crypt and discovers Juliet. He believes her to be dead and drinks poison. At that moment, she awakens, and the lovers share a final dream of a future together. As Romeo grows weaker, Juliet takes out a dagger that she has hidden in her clothes and stabs herself. The lovers die praying for God’s forgiveness.
~Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera
Check out our Click, Listen, Watch Read Guide for more information on the opera!