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Charles Gounod Roméo et Juliette

Opera in five acts
Text by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré after William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet 

New production
In French, with German and English surtitles

Duration of the performance: approx. 3 hours


  • 02 August 2008, 20:00


  • 06 August 2008, 20:00
  • 09 August 2008, 19:30
  • 12 August 2008, 19:30
  • 15 August 2008, 19:30
  • 18 August 2008, 15:00
  • 19 August 2008, 19:30
  • 22 August 2008, 15:00
  • 25 August 2008, 19:30

Print programme (PDF)


Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Conductor
Bartlett Sher, Stage Director
Michael Yeargan, Set Design
Catherine Zuber, Costume Design
Jennifer Tipton, Lighting
Chase Brock, Choreography
B. H. Barry, Battle scenes
Jörn Hinnerk Andresen, Chorus Master


Nino Machaidze, Juliette
Ailyn Pérez (18.08, 22.08), Juliette
Rolando Villazón, Roméo
John Osborn (19.08), Roméo
Mikhail Petrenko, Frère Laurent
Russell Braun, Mercutio, friend to Roméo
Cora Burggraaf, Stéphano, page to Roméo
Falk Struckmann, Le Comte Capulet
In Sung Sim (06.08, 18.08, 19.08, 22.08), Le Comte Capulet
Juan Francisco Gatell, Tybalt, nephew of Capulet
Susanne Resmark, Gertrude
Christian van Horn, Le Duc de Verone
Mathias Hausmann, Le Comte Paris
Jean-Luc Ballestra, Grégorio
Robert Murray, Benvolio, nephew of Montaigu

Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg


Shakespeare's extraordinary play, Romeo and Juliet, was a radical text in the Renaissance. In it, he took new ideas, popular in court among the neo-Platonists, and dramatized them. The neo-Platonists found a path to engage the world through individual love. Shakespeare expanded this to social tragedy, where love heals the public strife of two warring families.
Gounod, writing 250 years later, is interested in something completely different. Influenced by Wagner (particularly Tristan), he explores how individual love offers access to the divine, something blasphemous to Shakespeare's audience. His opera is an emotional dreamscape of the play, and placing it amidst the templar walls of the Felsenreitschule creates the opportunity to experience the ecstasy of falling in love through Gounod's music. But he pushes this choice further toward the radical implications of two young people finding meaning not only in love, but in death as a path to the divine.
That experience and its emotional implications for the society in which they live is the dreamlike journey of Gounod's opera, and the course of this production today.
Bartlett Sher