Last updated April 17th 2016

Many of Shakespeare’s plays have received an operatic treatment over the years. Charles Gounod’s take on Romeo and Juliet, premiering this week at the Israel Opera, is a timeless example. The opera mostly follows the play, in some places directly translating from the original text, but the music takes the familiar story to another level of experience.

Roméo et Juliette/Photo courtesy of PR

Roméo et Juliette/Photo courtesy of PR

This new production of Roméo et Juliette is directed by Jean-Louis Grinda, born in Monaco and now the general director of the Monte Carlo Opera. This production marks his return to the Israel Opera – he last directed a somewhat surreal Magic Flute in 2011, and before that Don Carlo in 2008.

In the conductor’s pit we will have Francesco Cilluffo, a multi-talented musician who has also composed two operas, and Karin Ben-Yosef, and Israeli conductor and the music director of the Ben-Dorit Symphony Orchestra.

The soloists are some of the Israel Opera’s best-loved stars: Aurelia Florian and Hila Baggio sharing the difficult soprano role of Juliette, tenor Gaston Rivero as Roméo. Newcomer Nagmiddin Mavlynov will join Rivero in the role.

Gounod composed the opera in 1867, shortly after the success of Faust, another opera based on a classic text. Faust remains more popular everywhere except for France, where Roméo et Juliette is considered Gounod’s best work.

Whether this is your first opera or your fiftieth, the Israel Opera offers plenty of opportunities to enrich your listening experience. Take your seat an hour before the performance and listen to a pre-performance lecture. For an even more intimate peek, pre-book a ticket to the backstage tour, given on some nights 90 minutes before curtain time, to learn about what goes into making an operatic production. After the opera, stick around for the Opera Talkback to meet the singers, comment and ask questions.

Performance dates are as follows:
Friday, April 15th at 13:00; Saturday, April 16th at 21:00; Monday, April 18th at 20:00; Tuesday, April 19th at 20:00 (Opera talkback after the show, backstage tour at 18:30); Wednesday, April 20th at 20:00 (Opera talkback after the show, backstage tour at 18:30); Thursday, April 21st at 20:00; Sunday, April 24th at 20:00; Monday, April 25th at 20:00 (Opera talkback after the show, backstage tour at 18:30); Tuesday, April 26th (Backstage tour at 18:30); Wednesday, April 27th at 20:00; Thursday, April 28th at 13:00; Saturday, April 30th at 21:00.

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