Sun | Aug 20, 2017

'Romeo et Juliette' encores on Sunday

Published:Friday | January 27, 2017 | 1:00 AM
Janet Robinson (left), Bhavna Patel (centre) and Donna Bemen attending Romeo et Juliette Live in HD at the Carib 5 last Saturday.
Diana Damrau as Juliette in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette.
Vittorio Grigolo (centre) as Romeo in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette.
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After last Saturday's Live in HD transmission of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, it encores at Palace Cineplex on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The composer, Charles Gounod (1818 -1893), showed early promise as a musician and achieved commercial success with Faust in 1859, followed eight years later by the equally well-received Romeo et Juliette. Among his most famous works is a setting of the Ave Maria, based on a piece by J.S. Bach. Later in life he composed several oratorios.

Romeo et Juliette (or rather, Romeo e Giulietta) received a single performance in the Met's first season (1883 84), sung in Italian. The brothers Jean and Edouard de Reszke and the American soprano Emma Eames performed the work in 1891, which was the first performance of a French opera given in French at the Met. It proved so popular that the work opened the Met season six times between 1891 and 1906.

Eames shared performances with the Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba, who sang Juliette 33 times between 1894 and 1901. Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling and Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayao teamed up for only two performances of this opera, yet a recording of the 1947 broadcast continues to impress listeners today as one of the most memorable performances in this repertory at the Met.

A new production in 1967 featured Franco Corelli and Mirella Freni as the young lovers. Romeos in later seasons included Nicolai Gedda, Placido Domingo, Neil Shicoff, Alfredo Kraus, Roberto Alagna, and Ramon Vargas, opposite such Juliettes as Anna Moffo, Judith Blegen, Catherine Malfitano, Ruth Ann Swenson, Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay and Anna Netrebko.

This new production by Bartlett Sher, starring Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo and conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, opened on New Year's Eve, 2016.

Tickets are available at the box office or online at www.palaceamusement.com with a Palace Card or any major credit card.