Roméo et Juliette

Opera in 5 acts
by Charles Gounod

Libretto by

Jules Barbier e Michel Carré


Music by

Charles Gounod



3.15 Hours approximately - Intervals included


Arena Opera Festival

This performance has been staged during the Opera Festival 2015. Visit the program page to see what's scheduled for the next Opera Festival!


From 8th August 3 dates are confirmed for Charles Gounod’s essential Roméo et Juliette in Francesco Micheli’s partly medieval and partly rock staging which has reached its 5th consecutive season, with sets by Edoardo Sanchi, costumes by Silvia Aymonino, choreography by Nikos Lagousakos and lighting by Paolo Mazzon. Daniel Oren’s expert baton conducts.

Conductor Daniel Oren

Director Francesco Micheli

Set designer Edoardo Sanchi

Costume designer Silvia Aymonino

Lighting designer Paolo Mazzon

Choreography Nikos Lagousakos

Chorus Master Salvo Sgrò

Corps de Ballet Director Renato Zanella

Director of Technical Operations and Stage Design Giuseppe De Filippi Venezia

Arena di Verona Orchestra, Chorus, Corps de Ballet and Technical team


A chorus evokes the story taking place: a drama which, as often happens, starts with a party.

We are at the home of the Capulet family in Verona. The guests are all wearing masks, among them Tybalt and Paris, cousin and fiancé respectively of Juliet, daughter of the host. She is a beautiful girl; her father is proudly presenting her to society and all the guests find her enchanting.

Another group of young people arrive incognito, one of whom is Romeo -heir to the Montagues, a

rival family- along with his friend, Mercutio. Romeo has an awful presentiment. He wants to go. Mercutio, jokingly, seeks to calm his friend’s fears.

When Romeo meets Juliet, they are instantly attracted to each other. He doesn’t know her identity

yet. Meanwhile, Gertrude, Juliet’s confidante, seeks to convince her that Paris is an optimum choice for a husband, but the girl admits she does not feel ready for marriage just yet. Then Romeo stops her. His initial approach is formal but the two gradually open up to dialogue, finishing in real harmony. The spell is broken by Tybalt who recognises Romeo’s voice. The two now discover they belong to families that have been divided by hatred for centuries. Before a riot breaks out, Mercutio

drags Romeo away while Juliet’s father calms Tybalt and invites the guests to stay. The party will continue.


That night Stephano, Romeo’s page, helps Romeo to enter the Capulets’ garden secretly. Below Juliet’s illuminated window, he expresses his passion for her, comparing her beauty to the rising sun. Juliet appears at the balcony, dreamingly admitting that she, too, loves this young man. At this point Romeo reveals himself. A passionate dialogue follows, interrupted though by some servants who suspect that Romeo’s page is in the vicinity and they want to give him a lesson. Gertrude, however, decides to lead them off the track by calling Juliet inside. In vain. Juliet reappears at the balcony and they take up their dialogue once more, swearing eternal love. They wish to stop time, delaying the moment of separation. Finally they part, promising to see each other the following day.


Friar Lawrence is in his cell and welcomes the young couple. The two ask him to unite them in marriage. He agrees to marry them, hoping that their love will serve to end the enmity between the two families. Gertrude witnesses the marriage.

Meanwhile, Stephano is looking for Romeo in the vicinity of the Capulet home. It will, in fact, be he who triggers off the tragedy: with the bold foolhardiness of youth, he provokes the servants of the Capulet household by singing a song which recounts the story of a white dove held prisoner. This infuriates Gregorio, a valet, who challenges him to a duel. Mercutio intervenes to help Stephano while Tybalt takes Gregorio’s side. Romeo’s arrival in the middle of the brawl serves only to increase the tension. Tybalt challenges his rivals while Romeo refuses the provocation, declaring that he has good reasons for not fighting. His intervention, however, does not calm the waters. Tybalt insults him, strikes Mercutio and slays him. This is enough to bait Romeo who now enters the scene and stabs Tybalt. The scuffle attracts the attention of the people nearby. Then a fanfare announces the arrival of the Duke of Verona who harshly criticizes the behaviour of the rival families and decrees that Romeo be banished from Verona.


Romeo spends his last night before exile in Juliet’s bedroom. She forgives him for killing her cousin. Their love is stronger than anything else; than the deaths, than worry, than their fear of separation as announced by the song of the skylark. In giving into love, as if it were the height of madness, the two lovers go beyond their personal gestures and intentions: they reverse constituted order, accepting the extreme consequences.

As Romeo leaves, the Capulets and Friar Lawrence enter. Juliet’s father reveals his insensitivity, confirming that his daughter will marry Paris that very day. Juliet remains alone with Friar Lawrence for a while and tells him she would prefer death to separation from her Romeo. He reveals his plan to free her of this duty: she will have to drink a potent sleeping potion just before her proposed wedding to Paris. She will go into a trance and everyone will think she is dead. He will then inform Romeo and the following day when she awakes, he will come and they will be

able to flee together.

The moment of the wedding arrives. The ceremony seems to proceed normally until, at a certain point, Juliet succumbs to the effects of the love potion and sinks, unconscious, into her father’s arms, creating general consternation. All the guests think she is dead.


Romeo has not received Friar Lawrence’s message explaining the ruse to sabotage Juliet’s marriage to Paris. He arrives and when he walks into the Capulet crypt and sees his beloved Juliet lying there lifeless yet beautiful as always, he is convinced she is dead. Beside himself with grief, he swallows a vial of poison.

Juliet, however, wakes up and sees Romeo beside her. But their happiness will be briefly lived. Romeo tells her he will soon be dead and Juliet, realizing that life without her Romeo will be impossible, draws out a dagger and stabs herself. In death they will always be together.

The young lovers die in each other’s arms, asking for God’s mercy.

Irina Lungu

Nino Surguladze

Alice Marini

Giorgio Berrugi

Leonardo Cortellazzi

Francesco Pittari

Michael Bachtadze

Nicolò Ceriani

Marcello Rosiello

Enrico Marrucci

Giorgio Giuseppini

Deyan Vatchkov