Romeo und Julia
- Erik Levi
Opera in two acts by Heinrich Sutermeister to his own libretto, after William Shakespeare ’s play; Dresden, Staatsoper, 13 April 1940.
The action takes place in Verona at the beginning of the 14th century and follows closely the plot of Shakespeare’s play. There is a feud between the Montague and Capulet families, but because of an oversight Romeo (tenor), the son of Montague, receives an invitation to a ball at the Capulet palace. There he meets and falls in love with Julia [Juliet] (soprano), Capulet’s daughter, though to his consternation he discovers through Juliet’s Nurse (contralto) that his loved one has been promised to Count Paris (female danced role). Juliet and Romeo are wed in secret by Father Lorenzo [Friar Laurence] (bass), and even Juliet’s Father (bass) is ignorant of their relationship. Friar Laurence gives Juliet a herbal drink to make her sleep deeply for 32 hours, in which time he hopes to have found a solution to the problem. Juliet’s apparently lifeless body is dragged down to the Capulet family vault where she is discovered by Romeo. Believing her to be dead, he kills himself with a dagger. Juliet awakens to find Romeo’s corpse next to her. She prays for redemption through death and to the accompaniment of a heavenly female chorus becomes transfigured with her loved one....