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Romeo and Juliet in Town

French composer Charles Gounod’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic love story premieres in the city on Tuesday

One of the most popular subjects of literature and folk lore, the story of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, who meet at a family party only to be separated later by feuding families, has served as an inspiration for songs, symphonic poems, Broadway musicals and film scores over centuries. Shakespeare’s tragedy adapted into an opera in five acts by French composer Charles Gounod, which premiered at Theatre Lyrique, Paris on April 27, 1867 and went on to be one of the most performed works in the repertory of worldwide operas, has crossed boundaries to premiere in the Capital on March 18, albeit with an Indian touch.

The Neemrana Music Foundation and the European Union in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has brought their eighth new production Romeo and Juliet with an Indo-European cast, that comprises 11 soloists from India and Europe, 44 musicians from Orchestra Les Musiciens d’Europe and 42 singers of The Neemrana Music Foundation Choir.

In the role of Romeo will be Indian singer Amar Muchhala while soprano Aude Priya will essay Juliet. The opera has been set to a French libretto, and Swiss orchestra conductor Jean-Marie Curti, who has staged more than 100 productions, says, “The language is not important. This story of love transcends
all barriers.”

Stage director Françoise Astorg, who designed the sets, has made arches and a white staircase, from where the balcony of the doomed lovers is clearly visible. She says, “I did not want elements which had to be moved for the changing scenes. There is a particular scene where there are 46 people on stage at the same time. Therefore, I have created different levels on stage so that everyone is visible.”

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The opera will be held at Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House from March 18 to 22. Passes available at The Neemrana Shop, Khan Market; The Rose, Hauz Khas Village; Quill And Canvas, South Point Mall, DLF 5, Gurgaon

First published on: 17-03-2014 at 00:38 IST
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