Romeo and Julia at Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Charles Gounod|Lyrics: Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after Shakespeares drama.
First performance: Paris, Théatre-Lyrique 27 april 1867. Swedish première: Stockholm, Operan 11 juni 1868. Seen the performance: 2011 Den Kongelige Opera Köpenhamn
The chorus relates the tale of the bloody feud between Capulet, the noble family of Juliet, and Montague, the noble family of Romeo, adding that,the only thing that could finally resolve this age-old rivalry would be the budding love and tragic death of the young couple.
Juliet’s birthday is celebrated with a grand masquerade in the palatial family home. Romeo is obviously not invited, but his friends Benvolio and Mercutio have persuaded him to join the festivities hidden behind a mask. Juliet’s marriage to Count Paris has already been arranged by her parents,but she would rather remain unmarried and sings a waltz aria about revelling in the zest of youth before it is finally quashed by the emotions of love and grief (”Je veux vivre”). Without knowing her identity, Romeo falls head over heels in love with Juliet, forgetting everything about his former sweetheart, Rosaline. And his wildfire infatuation is reciprocated. When it finally dawns on Romeo and Juliet that they belong on opposite sides of a family feud, it is all too late – the flames of passion have been kindled. They are disturbed by Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, who recognises Romeo by his voice and furiously demands revenge. But Juliet’s father calls for calm. This is Juhet’s party and it must not evolve into a scandal.
After the ball Romeo creeps into Juliet’s gardenwhere he sings a Cavatina about his love for her.5he comes out on the balcony, and Romeo decla-res his love for her. But Romeo quickly hides when;hey hear people approaching. Gregorio and someDther servants of the Capulet family appear. Theyire searching for Romeo’s page whom they haveseen in the vicinity. After this comic intermezzoRomeo and Juliet sing a love duet where theyDledge to marry. But they are disturbed yet again;:his time by Juliet’s nurse, who calls to her so ear-lestly that Juliet must eventually break away.
Romeo visits Friar Lawrence in his:ell at dawn and initiates him in his feelings forJuliet, who arrives soon after. The devoted couple; then wed by Lawrence while Juliet’s nurse keeps watch outside.
Outside the Capulet family home Romeo’s page sings a provocative song about the Capulet servant Gregorio, who rushes out to take revenge. The conflict escalates violently and the skirmishes between the two families culminate in a swordfight between Juhet’s cousin Tybalt and Romeo’s friend Mercutio. Romeo tries to stop them, but in vain. The battle ends with the death of Mercutio. Enraged by the death of his friend, Romeo challenges Tybalt to a duel in which Tybalt is slain. The Prince of Verona appears and as punishment for the killing Romeo is exiled exiled from Verona.
Despairingly, Romeo and Juliet bid farewell in Juliet’s chamber following a night of passion.Romeo must flee at daybreak. Shortly after,Juliet’s father and Friar Lawrence enter to convey the message that Juliet is to marry Count Paris at once. When Juliet’s father has left the room she pleads Lawrence for help. He gives her a sedative that is so strong that she will appear lifeless for all day. When she wakes up again, Lawrence will have ensured the escape of both Romeo and Juliet.
Friar Lawrence sends a page out to inform Romeo of the plan, but the message does not reach Romeo. As intended, Juliet falls into a deep sleep in her ancestral burial vault. When Romeo arrives and sees her lifeless body, he thinks she really is dead and takes poison. Shortly after, Julie regains consciousness and she and Romeo sing a love duet before the poison takes effect. And while Romeo’s life slowly but surely runs out, Juliet kills herself with a dagger. They die together.