I Capuleti e i Montecchi
Opera in two acts.
Libretto by Felice ROMANI.
Music by Vincenzo BELLINI.
First performance: 11 March 1830, Venice.
Inspired by the famous Shakespearean tragedy, the opera tells the story of the secret love between Romeo and Juliet. Their love is hindered by their respective Veronese families, the Capulets and the Montagues, who have always been rivals in a never-ending conflict that causes disagreement, intrigue and the tragic death of the two lovers.
In Act II, Romeo is alone with his beloved and, believing her to be dead, says a love prayer before drinking the poison that will kill him.
The poignant words of this dramatic aria are the work of Felice Romani, author of 7 of Bellini’s 10 works and in fact, Bellini believed him to be one of the greatest librettists of the period.
Juliet Capulet falls in love with Romeo Montague, son of a rival family in 13th-century Verona. In a world of intrigue, struggle and rivalry Juliet challenges everyone and everything for love, to the extent of pretending to be dead in order to flee with her beloved. The great success of Bellini’s opera brought Shakespeare’s previously unknown tragedy to the attention of the public in Italy.
Vincenzo Bellini, originally from Catania, Sicily, has come to symbolise his home city, thanks to his music. In fact there are numerous monuments dedicated to him: from the theatre that has borne his name since the famous performance of "Norma", to Villa Bellini, one of the most beautiful public parks in Europe, and the monument in Piazza Stesicoro. However, Bellini, who left Catania to seek his fortune in Naples, then Milan, London and Paris, was not only admired by his fellow citizens for the beauty of his works, but also because he encouraged the hopes of all those who left the city to realise their dreams elsewhere.