- Callie Swarbrick
- Rosie Clifford
- Natalie Burch
Shakespeare has long been a prolific quarry for the writers of opera librettos and Romeo and Juliet is no exception. There are about two dozen written on the great love story, the most famous being Bellini and Gounod’s interpretations. There is some controversy over Bellini’s source material – his Capuleti e Montecchi certainly differs greatly in the narrative from the Bard’s. The Italians at the time argued that Shakespeare visited their country for inspiration first, and Bellini was working from the ‘original tale’ before Shakespeare immortalised it.
Focusing on Bellini and Gounod’s operas we will examine what makes this story so popular for musical interpretation and examine how it’s themes of passion, jealousy and rivalry are interpreted. We’ll also dig deeper into the true genesis of the lovers’ story, and how Bellini’s departure from Shakespeare’s telling had a detrimental effect on the operas popularity.