Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette
at l’Opéra de Montréal
The most famous love story at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts, May 19, 22, 24 and 26
From the time it was first told, the tragic story of the forbidden love between Romeo and Juliet, two young lovers from rival families, has enchanted audiences the world over and inspired a multitude of literary, stage, film and, of course, operatic adaptations. By far the most popular version, Roméo et Juliette by Charles-François Gounod, offers a powerful and captivating interpretation of the story—presented here in sets, designed by Claude Girard, that have travelled the world.
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette brings the characters to life as only opera, a genre that combines theatre and music, can do.
Tenor Ismael Jordi (Roméo), who is making his debut at our company, and coloratura soprano Marie-Ève Munger (Juliette) will join together to bring our production to life, building on their successful careers, which have already seen them appear on major European and American stages. A native of the Saguenay region, Marie-Ève Munger has quickly gone on to become one of the most highly sought-after singers in France—she is a member of the Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique’s new Troupe Favart in Paris and is a regular guest of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence—while also making her debuts at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and at the Minnesota Opera.
Spanish singer Ismael Jordi has been praised for his impeccable technique, his refined performances, and his rich voice: he appears at some of the most prestigious companies in Europe, including the Royal Opera House (London), Teatro San Carlo (Naples), La Fenice (Venice), the Deutsche Oper (Berlin), and the Opéra de Paris. Ismael Jordi and Marie-Ève Munger have already enjoyed great success on the international scene for their performances in the title roles of this opera—the Toledo Blade described Munger’s Juliette as “in short, perfection.” Appearing alongside the two leads will be another rising opera star, Quebec baritone Hugo Laporte—a “prodigious baritone” who “fills the entire stage with his charisma” (L’Opéra)—in the role of Mercutio.
Current and former artists-in-residence from the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal complete the first-rate cast: Katie Miller is young page Stéphano; Alexandra Beley is Gertrude, Juliette’s nurse; Alexandre Sylvestre is Count Capulet, Juliette’s father; Scott Brooks is the Duke of Verona; Alain Coulombe is Frère Laurent; Sebastian Haboczki is Tybalt, Juliette’s cousin; Max Van Wyck is Grégorio, the Capulets’ valet; Rocco Rupolo is Roméo’s friend Benvolio; and Nathan Keoughan is Paris, a young count. The Orchestre Métropolitain and the Opéra de Montréal Chorus will bring out every nuance in Gounod’s score under the “expert baton” (Il giornale di Vicenza, July 8, 2013) of Giuliano Carella. Tom Diamond, one of the most sought-after opera directors in North America, brings us his very first staging of Roméo et Juliette.
‘… a powerful and captivating interpretation of the story—presented here in sets, designed by Claude Girard, that have travelled the world.’
The Work: “The” operatic version of Romeo and Juliet
While there are numerous operatic versions of Shakespeare’s famous story of Romeo and Juliet, Gounod’s work immediately established itself as “the” operatic version of the story, right from its premiere performance during the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1867. This tremendous success can be explained by the orchestral colours Gounod uses for expressive purposes, the captivating melodies peppered throughout the work, and the duets that so poignantly and sincerely convey the lovers’ passion. Gounod also demonstrates great finesse in his character development. Over the course of the opera, we watch as Juliet completely transforms from the carefree girl who sings the waltz-arietta “Je veux vivre” (“I want to live”) into a woman ready to face her fears in the heroic aria “Amour, ranime mon courage” (“O love, revive my fond devotion”).
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette brings to life the characters of Romeo and Juliet as only opera—a genre that combines theatre and music—can. “O joie infinie et suprême/De mourir avec toi! Viens! un baiser! je t’aime!” (“O infinite, supreme joy of dying with you! Come! One kiss! I love you!”): this is Juliet’s final utterance, set to music with remarkable tenderness and gentleness, as the lovers sing together one last time before uniting eternally in death. This tenderness expressed through music reveals the depth of Juliet’s words and feelings. The union of the two lovers in a final duet, in which their voices are united even though their bodies cannot be, is incredibly powerful, showing us that, while they may be mortal, their love story will live forever.
Roméo et Juliette : Opera in five acts by Charles-François Gounod, in French, with English and French surtitles. Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, after Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
Single Tickets, starting at $20
Opéra de Montréal box office: 514-985-2258 • 1 877 385-2222
Place des Arts box office: 514-842-2112 • 1 866 842-2112
LET’S TALK OPERA – FREE
The Opéra de Montréal emerges from its confines to talk to you about opera. Let’s Talk Opera! is a new series serving as an introduction to each opera in our season. Join musicologist Pierre Vachon (Ph.D.), a pianist, and singers to get to the heart of each work in just 90 minutes (including a coffee break): history, music, voices, cultural context, composer, style…
In English: Sunday, May 13 at 10:30 am
Venue: Victoria Hall
In French: Sunday, May 13 at 2 pm and 4 pm
Venue: Grande Bibliothèque Auditorium
Guest: Ici Musique’s Frédéric Cardin
Images: Opéra de Montréal
L’Opéra de Montréal, founded in 1980 and based in Montreal, is the largest francophone opera company in North America. Each season, close to 50,000 spectators make their way through the company’s doors. Under the direction of General Director Patrick Corrigan and Artistic Director Michel Beaulac, the Opéra is a key player in the city’s economic, cultural, and social development as, each season, it maintains working relationships with over 360 local businesses, and hires no less than 800 artists and craftspeople. Close to 80% of the artists appearing at the company are Canadian.