Giulietta e Romeo(i) (‘Giulietta and Romeo’)
- Maria Caraci Vela
Opera seria in three acts by Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli to a libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa after Luigi da Porto’s novella (1530); Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 30 January 1796.
Also known as Romeo e Giulietta, the libretto draws upon G. della Corte, Shakespeare and J. F. Ducis. Of the six characters, Romeo, Giulietta, Matilde (her confidante) and Gilberto (mediator between the rival Cappelli and Montecchi) and are soprano parts; Everardo Cappello (Giulietta’s father) and Teobaldo (Giulietta’s unloved suitor and betrothed) are tenors. The opera, typical of Zingarelli’s style during the 1790s, centres on effective dramatic situations realized in solo and choral forms of some complexity, such as the finale to Act 1, in which Romeo unintentionally kills Teobaldo in a skirmish between the two rival factions, and the dialogue between Everardo and the chorus (2.xi) when Giulietta is believed to be dead. Also especially noteworthy are some of the solo outbursts of great pathos, which have become justly celebrated, among them Romeo’s prayer (2.vi) and ‘Ombra adorata’ (3.i). The latter became famous not in Zingarelli’ original version (found in some sources) but in that created by Girolamo Crescentini, which was soon widely distributed in manuscript and printed form. Crescentini was the first of many great interpreters of that role, among whome were Guiditta Pasta and Maria Malibran. The part of Giulietta was written for Josephina Grassini, who long kept it in her operatic and recital repertory....