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The Capulets and the Montagues

Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
14 Sep 2018

One night in Verona

Love and tragedy intertwine in Bellini’s take on the original heartbreaker. Unmistakable melodies soar with rich lyricism and sublime beauty as inevitable devastation unfolds on stage.

The ultimate tale of doomed love marks the thrilling finale to Victorian Opera’s Bellini concert series. The rarely- heard masterpiece draws two of Australia’s finest singers home as Romeo and Juliet; internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup and superstar soprano Jessica Pratt.

Experience the exhilaration as pure electricity fills Hamer Hall for one night only.


Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

Friday 14 September 2018, 7:30pm

The running time is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, plus interval.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Opera in Concert

Last chance to experience Bellini virtuosity

The Capulets and the Montagues concludes our critically-acclaimed concert series of major Bellini operas, following on from Norma (2014), I Puritani (2015) and La Sonnambula (2017). With electrifying performances in front of packed houses, the Bellini concerts have become a highlight of each season.

Expect a night of vocal fireworks with a phenomenal cast of international and Australian talent never before heard on the same stage. The Capulets and the Montagues is filled with some of the greatest showpieces for soprano and mezzo-soprano and homegrown international stars Jessica Pratt and Caitlin Hulcup are two of the best in the business. They will be supported by the superbly talented Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Carlos E. Bárcenas and David Parkin.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to hear the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Mills, 40 years after his first appearance with the TSO.

If last year’s ecstatic audience response to La Sonnambula is anything to go by, we might see The Capulets and the Montagues lift the roof off Hamer Hall.

The Story

Bellini’s opera is based on a 16th century Italian story rather than the Shakespeare play we’re more familiar with. Verona is torn apart by conflict between two rival clans – the Guelfi (supported by the Capuleti) and the Ghibellini (supported by the Montecchi). To make matters worse, Romeo of the Montecchi, has killed the Capuleti’s oldest son. Capellio promises his daughter Juliet’s hand in marriage to Tebaldo who has vowed to avenge the murder. Romeo, pretending to be an envoy, visits the house of the Capuleti and suggests a truce to be sealed by his marriage to Juliet, with whom he is secretly in love. Capellio rejects any idea of peace and calls for war on the Montecchi.

Romeo visits Juliet in secret and tries to convince her to elope. She refuses in the name of honour and duty. As the wedding of Juliet and Tebaldo approaches, Lorenzo, the family doctor, devises a plan for Juliet to regain her freedom. She will drink a sleeping potion which will make her appear dead and Lorenzo will arrange for Romeo to be in the tomb when she wakes up. However, Lorenzo is arrested by Capellio before he can reach Romeo.

As Romeo and Tebaldo are about to fight a duel, they are interrupted by Juliet’s funeral procession. Romeo enters Juliet’s tomb and believing his beloved is dead, drinks poison to end his own life. Juliet wakes up to discover that Romeo is dying. It is more than Juliet can bear and she also dies. The Capuleti and Montecchi rush into the tomb to discover the two lovers lying dead in each other’s arms.


The Music

Bellini wrote the music for The Capulets and The Montagues in six weeks reusing material from Zaira and borrowing an aria from his student composition Adelson e Salvini, extending and improving on his previous compositions. In keeping with the times, he wrote Romeo as a ‘trouser’ role to be sung by a mezzo-soprano. 

The opera marks the beginning of Bellini’s mature period as a composer, demonstrating his melodic gifts, distinctive dramatic abilities and elegiac bel canto style. Through tender, melancholic melodies and long vocal lines the young lovers’ passion is beautifully conveyed contrasting against the warring atmosphere between the two families. Musical highlights include the powerful duet between Romeo and Tebaldo ‘Stolto! a un sol mio grido’ and Juliet’s anguished aria ‘Oh! quante volte’.

From left to right: Jessica Pratt (Giulietta), Carlos E. Bárcenas (Tebaldo) and Caitlin Hulcup (Romeo) / Photo: Alessandro Moggi, Charlie Kinross and Robert Catto

Cast & Crew

Composer Vincenzo Bellini
Librettist Felice Romani
Conductor Richard Mills


Tebaldo Carlos E. Bárcenas
Capellio David Parkin
Lorenzo Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Romeo Caitlin Hulcup
Giulietta Jessica Pratt

Jessica Pratt’s appearance is generously supported by Hans and Petra Henkell


Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Presented in association with The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

From left to right: Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Lorenzo), Richard Mills (Conductor) and David Parkin (Capellio) / Photo credits: Cal Crary, Charlie Kinross, Marcus Walters

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“Jessica Pratt could bring the house down in her sleep.”

Limelight, 7 May 2017

“Victorian Opera's annual concert opera presentations have become a highlight of Melbourne's opera scene. ”

Opera Chaser, 7 May 2017