Maria Teresa Elena, Anna Del Bianco, Ilaria Massagli, Marco Sodini, Maria Vittoria Nervi
Romeo and Juliet has been given form by overlaying Bellini’s opera The Capulets and the Montecchi onto the Shakespearean tragedy, with the elements from Mateo Bandello’s Mediterranean novel adding further strains of colour to the original myth.
The two protagonists, adolescents fashioned out of wood and papier maché, in the lightness of their enchantment clash head on with the cumbersome presence of the masked actors to whom is given the task of evoking the weight of the adult world, at once dull, hypocritical and clumsily war-mongering.
A chorus of minor characters, jesters, awkward and out-of-proportion actors, takes the place of the witty interchanges – often untranslatable. The din and doltishness of their jokes visually underlines the comic traits of the plot in a stage setting which is apparently essentially plain but which, with its trapdoors, tables and illusionistic backdrops, recalls the expressive creativity of the Commedia dell’Arte (and of Elizabethan drama) and is a device capable of constant transformation.
In his melodrama Vincenzo Bellini sets original and parodistical music in ironic contrast with the action, alternately increasing and releasing the tension. The vocal parts, which tend to follow the musical base more than they are literal, with the other dramatic elements aim at a rhythmical homogeneity which seeks also to reinforce the lyricism of the libretto.
Maria Grazia Cipriani