Composer Vincenzo Bellini

Wednesday, 06. April 2011
07:00 pm – 09:50 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 50 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 07:00 pm - 08:30 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:30 pm - 09:00 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 09:00 pm - 09:58 pm )

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Musikalische Leitung
Yves Abel
Vincent Boussard
Vincent Lemaire
Christian Lacroix
Guido Levi
Rainer Karlitschek
Sören Eckhoff

Tara Erraught
Eri Nakamura
Dimitri Pittas
Carlo Cigni
Steven Humes
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The title is deceptive, because the names are the only things Bellini’s tragedia lirica from the year 1830 has in common with Shakespeare’s drama. There may still be the feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, with their star-crossed offspring, but what Bellini and his librettist Felice Romani produced is a typically romantic tale of heroism, along the lines of Lord Byron’s epics, with a hero taking arms against restrictive social structures and remaining true to his emotional ideals as an outsider and a rebel.

Romeo is just such a rebel – not a tenor, but rather a mezzo-soprano, with no interest whatsoever in preordained family ties, an individualist following his feelings and eager to go his own way. The famous melodie lunghe, lunghe, lunghe lead directly to the tragic death with his beloved Giulietta. As horrifying and inexplicably revolutionary as it may have seemed to Bellini’s contemporaries, long practice has shown that replacing the final scene of the opera with Nicola Vanuzzi’s happy ending – is virtually unthinkable today.


Act One

Capellio is mourning the death of his son, who has been killed in a fight with Romeo, the son of the Montecchi family with which the Capuleti family has quarelled. Tebaldo has managed to gain Capellio’s trust and the latter promises him the hand of his daughter Giulietta in marriage. Lorenzo, a doctor, has been given the task of informing Giulietta that she is to be married  to Tebaldo that same day. Lorenzo, however, is the only person who knows that Giulietta has fallen in love with the family’s enemy, Romeo, and that both are trying to find a way out of the conflict which has estranged their families.

An unknown messenger from the enemy, nobody other than Romeo himself, suggests to Capellio an unusual way of making peace with his enemy: Capellio should give his daughter’s hand in marriage to Romeo, the son of the Montecchi, as a sign of  reconciliation and thus seal the peace. Capellio rejects the offer as pure provocation.

Giulietta, on the other hand, is extremely upset at the suggestion that she should marry Tebaldo. Lorenzo manages to calm her down: he tells her that Romeo has managed to enter the city without being recognised and wants to meet her. Romeo, who is very disappointed by Capellio’s rejection of his peace move, sees only one way out of their situation, namely that they should flee together and start a new life somewhere else where the quarrel between their families will no longer play a role. Giulietta cannot agree to this plan, however, and sends Romeo away.

During the preparations for the wedding with Tebaldo, Romeo tells Lorenzo that his supporters have managed to get into the city and are ready to fight at any time. Their disguise could be discovered any minute but Giulietta still refuses to flee with Romeo. When Romeo is
challenged as an enemy by Tebaldo and Capulet he admits who he is but manages to escape.

Act Two

Giulietta has no idea where her beloved is.  Lorenzo is able to reassure her: he tells her Romeo is safe. In order for her not to have to marry Tebaldo, however, he suggests that she should take a potion which will induce a death-like sleep. After a great deal of hesitation she finally makes up her mind to pretend to be dead. Her father, on the other hand, gives orders for Lorenzo to be followed so that he is unable to inform Romeo of his plan.

Romeo has returned to the city and is challenged to a duel by Tebaldo.  A choir singing in mourning announces Giulietta’s death. Romeo and Tebaldo are both in despair.

In order to mourn for his lost love, Romeo has gone to Giulietta’s tomb. At the sight of her lying dead he can no longer handle the situation and poisons himself. When Giulietta awakes from her apparent death she realises the fatal consequences of the entanglement and wants only to follow her beloved into death.

Lorenzo accuses her father Capellio of having murdered them both.

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Sören Eckhoff wurde in Hamburg geboren. Er war Chorleiter und Kapellmeister in Augsburg, am Ulmer und am Heidelberger Theater sowie am Stadttheater Würzburg, dort für kurze Zeit auch Operndirektor. Zudem arbeitete er u. a. mit dem Rundfunkchor Berlin, dem RIAS-Kammerchor, dem WDR- und NDR-Rundfunkchor und studierte u. a. die Uraufführung von Sofia Gubaidulinas Passion und Auferstehung Jesu Christi nach Johannes ein. An der Komischen Oper Berlin übernahm er die Choreinstudierung bei Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen, am Nationaltheater Mannheim bei Lohengrin. Außerdem hat er einen Lehrauftrag an der Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg inne. Von 2005 bis 2010 war er Chordirektor der Oper Leipzig. Seit 2010 bis Ende der Spielzeit 2018/19 ist er in derselben Funktion an der Bayerischen Staatsoper engagiert und seit 2019 ist er zudem Chordirektor des Staatstheaters Darmstadt.

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