“Roméo et Juliette”
Concert performance of Charles Gounod’s opera on November 28, 2013 at the Estonia Concert Hall
World premiere on April 27, 1867 (Théâtre-Lyrique)
The success of “Faust” in 1859 had motivated theatre director Léon Carvalho to commission a subsequent opera from Gounod. The road to “Roméo et Juliette” was not a smooth one. The lead tenor role, with its extreme high tessitura (as exemplified in the difficult “Salut, Demeure” from “Faust”), proved difficult to cast, and according to rumour Gounod felt compelled to write the last act twice.
Nevertheless, Gounod’s splendid version of Shakespeare’s tragic story is graceful, dramatic, and supremely melodic. It is famous for its deeply emotional love duets, its beautiful orchestral colours and its heart-stirring choruses. Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name, about the forbidden love between two young people who belong to warring families, has inspired many operas, none of which have followed the original as faithfully as that of Gounod. This work was justifiably almost as popular as “Faust” and one of the huge hits of 19th century French opera. “Je veux vivre” or “Juliet’s Waltz” is one of the famous arias in this operatic masterpiece.
Conductor: Vello Pähn
Thursday, November 28, 2013