Derived from the same 1530 Italian novella as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Bellini’s opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi packs all the romantic tragedy into the lovers’ final 24 hours. Although the drama in the familiar story tracks the very real political violence that roiled medieval Italian cities, the undertone of melancholy is belied by the aching beauty of Bellini’s gloriously melodic music.
Bellini, a consummate composer for soprano, cast Romeo as mezzo-soprano; as a result, the demanding and challenging duets between the lovers are exquisitely lyrical and doubly touching; listeners are left in no doubt where the “bel” in “bel canto” comes from.
While I Capuleti e i Montecchi is thankfully no longer quite the relative rarity it was in the 20th century, Bellini’s masterpiece will be the Hong Kong premiere and an opportunity to see — and hear — new life breathed into this ancient and ever-popular story.
A Semi-staged Opera in Two Acts Performed in Italian with Chinese and English Surtitles
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Libretto by Felice Romani
# With the kind support of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
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The presenter reserves the right to change the programme and substitute artists.