Tuesday 11 March 2014

I Capuleti e i Montecchi

Vincenzo Bellini
Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi is an occasional visitor to UK opera houses. Pier Luigi Pizzi's production at Covent Garden was last revived in 2009, and it has made appearances at Grange Park Opera and at Opera North. Chelsea Opera Group are performing the work for their next concert on 16 March 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. The work is conducted by the young British conductor Robin Newton. Newton conducted Verdi's La Forza del Destino Chelsea Opera Group in 2012. 

Giulietta is sung by the Romanian soprano Ana Maria Labin, whose previous UK appearances have included Armida in Handel's Rinaldo with Glyndebourne on Tour. Romeo is sung by the Australian mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby who sang Don Ramiro in Buxton Festival's La Finta Giadiniera last year and will be Soeur Mathilde in Covent Garden's forthcoming production of Poulenc's Carmelites.

During the 19th century, the last part of Bellini's opera was replaced by the tomb scene from the opera Giulietta e Romeo by Niccola Vaccai (1790 - 1848), an older contemporary of Bellini's.  The change, first made at the behest of Maria Malibran, probably made life a bit easier for contralto Romeos. Bellini also prepared a version of I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the role of Giulietta adapted for a mezzo-soprano.

The opera is based, not on Shakespeare, but on an Italian play which was based on earlier Italian sources.

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