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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Classical Preview

Countless plays, operas and movies have been based on the works of the great Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), varying from word-for-word adaptations to loose borrowing of plot or characters. Among those who owe a debt to Shakespeare is Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35), whose I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and Montagues) is based on the Bard’s immortal tale of love and death, Romeo and Juliet (1595), albeit several times removed. The libretto by Felice Romani that Bellini used was a reworking of Shakespeare’s legendary tale as first intended for use as Giulietta e Romeo by the composer Nicola Vaccai; and in doing so, Romani drew upon the 1818 play Giulietta e Romeo by Luigi Scevola!