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Thread: Romeo and Juliet and Music

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    Senior Member Avey's Avatar
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    Default Romeo and Juliet and Music

    To spare commentary on the written thing itself, I want to know:

    What composition do you prefer?

    Tchaikovsky's overture? Berlioz's dramatic symphony? Prokofiev's ballet? Gounod's or one of the other countless operas based on the poem? Maybe another less renown work re R&J?

    The thing seems to bring out some deep passion in composers, especially compared to Bill's other masterworks. Curious where TC's preference lies.

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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    I like Gounod´s opera a lot and I also like Riccardo Zandonai´s opera.

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    Objectively, Berlioz's "Love Scene" and "Mab" scherzo clearly demolish all the other contenders. Personally, I've always loved the drag king's serenade from Gounod's opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFprJXTVkr0&t=49s The sword fights that follow are a good time, too.
    Last edited by Harold in Columbia; Apr-15-2016 at 18:38.

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    Senior Member Cosmos's Avatar
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    Prokofiev's Ballet has been my favorite musical Romeo and Juliet for a long time. Though I admit I've never listened to the Berlioz symphony, maybe i'll check it out

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    Senior Member Chronochromie's Avatar
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    Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette by far, but Prokofiev's ballet is pretty great.

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    I can't profess to have heard all of these selections, but the Prokofiev ballet is probably my favorite as pure music. It is very Russian at times however isn't it? I'm not sure I would have gotten the subject matter from the music alone.

    Much as I find Tchaikovsky skirting close to maudlin, there is something fundamentally wonderful about his version of the love theme, now sadly a cliche. It does evoke those intense feelings very well.
    Last edited by Weston; Apr-15-2016 at 20:05.

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    I Capuleti e i Montecchi, though it's not coming from "Bill".

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    Senior Member Figleaf's Avatar
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    ^ The one where Romeo is a woman? It might be a treat for lovers of the female voice and/or Sapphic subtexts, but I wouldn't want to go there myself! (I do keep meaning to seek out a recording of the tenor version though.)

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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Figleaf View Post
    ^ The one where Romeo is a woman? It might be a treat for lovers of the female voice and/or Sapphic subtexts, but I wouldn't want to go there myself! (I do keep meaning to seek out a recording of the tenor version though.)
    If you mean I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Bellini Romeo is not a woman but only played by a woman. That is one of the great things with operas you can play something you are not.
    Something that makes it interesting is the fact that it is not based on Shakespeare´s play but on Italian sources.
    Last edited by Sloe; Apr-15-2016 at 20:39.

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    Yes, in the original version Romeo was a trouser role.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Figleaf View Post
    ^ The one where Romeo is a woman? It might be a treat for lovers of the female voice and/or Sapphic subtexts, but I wouldn't want to go there myself! (I do keep meaning to seek out a recording of the tenor version though.)
    Just to be clear, Romeo isn't a woman, but is played by a woman, just as Octavian and Cheribino are. Tenors have sung the role (an octave lower), but there is no tenor version as such. As far as I'm aware, Bellini never authorised a tenor version. In any case, it makes a nonsense of the duets, when the lower of the two lines is sung an octave down.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Dusapin's opera is my favorite of the available settings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    Dusapin's opera is my favorite of the available settings.
    Well, in this one we can't deny the importance of "Bill"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post
    Just to be clear, Romeo isn't a woman, but is played by a woman, just as Octavian and Cheribino are. Tenors have sung the role (an octave lower), but there is no tenor version as such. As far as I'm aware, Bellini never authorised a tenor version. In any case, it makes a nonsense of the duets, when the lower of the two lines is sung an octave down.

    Yes, you explained that before. The fact that Romeo (or whichever trouser role) simultaneously is a woman (because that's who is onstage and singing) and simultaneously a man/youth/boy is just weird and confusing. Of course, for a lover of female voices who isn't bothered by gender ambiguities, it's all good- but personally I like to keep women singers to a minimum, and operatic cross dressing disturbs me for some reason, though in any other context it would be a non-issue. For these reasons, I'm not concerned about nonsense duets: better a travesty of Bellini than mezzo sopranos en travesti.

    Luckily we still have Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. (Which has the gender bending page Stephano, but at least s/he's not the heroine's love interest, nor a major singing role.)

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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Figleaf View Post
    Yes, you explained that before. The fact that Romeo (or whichever trouser role) simultaneously is a woman (because that's who is onstage and singing) and simultaneously a man/youth/boy is just weird and confusing. Of course, for a lover of female voices who isn't bothered by gender ambiguities, it's all good- but personally I like to keep women singers to a minimum, and operatic cross dressing disturbs me for some reason, though in any other context it would be a non-issue. For these reasons, I'm not concerned about nonsense duets: better a travesty of Bellini than mezzo sopranos en travesti.

    Luckily we still have Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. (Which has the gender bending page Stephano, but at least s/he's not the heroine's love interest, nor a major singing role.)
    I prefer to see Romeo as a very feminine man.
    Trouser roles disturbs me by the way too. But I like to have female singers at a maximum.

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