"I Capuleti e i Montecchi" is Bellini's masterpiece that combines love, tragedy, and the musical virtuosity of a great master. Librettist Felice Romani, a famous poet and one of the finest libretto writers of his time, crafted his version of the story of the world's most famous lovers based on the 16th-century tale of Giulietta e Romeo and Luigi Sceola's 1818 drama of the same name. The elegance of form and melody, expressive music, and profound lyrical expression skillfully depict the inner struggles and passions of Bellini's characters. "Bellini is not a composer about whom treatises can be written; there is no philosophizing in him, nor does he offer opportunities for grand experimentation. He simply needs to be sung as beautifully as possible (...). The beauty of his music will captivate those who seek elevation in art, not just truth. It sounds simple, but it is very difficult." (Marija Barbieri)
Can love successfully oppose violence and intolerance?
Shakespeare's famous tragedy is just one of thousands of different interpretations of the Italian Renaissance story of Romeo and Juliet, the ill-fated lovers of Verona. This story has become an emblematic tale of love crushed by the hatred between two opposing families, a theme that art has explored since ancient times. Bellini's opera, "I Capuleti e i Montecchi," portrays the final day of Romeo and Juliet's lives, their desperate attempts to escape from their families and the war they found themselves involuntarily embroiled in. Despite Romeo's efforts, peace cannot be achieved; violence prevails, and the bloody conflict continues. Aware that their options are dwindling, conscious that time is running out, Romeo and Juliet intensely experience the last hours of their relationship filled with emotional turmoil, willing to risk even their lives. Bellini and librettist Felice Romani have expertly shaped the character of Juliet, a young woman who feels trapped in a world of male warfare and violence, torn between a sense of duty and obedience to her father and her passion for her lover. This early masterpiece of bel canto contains all the recognizable hallmarks of Bellini's style: endless melodies, a close connection between music, text, and psychological character portrayal, and virtuoso vocal passages that will showcase the talents of the soloists of the Split Opera. The ending is well known. But we cannot help but wonder – can it be different after all? Can love successfully oppose violence and intolerance? Today? Every love?