The librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré did not draw upon Shakespeare directly but its French adaptation by the poet Gérard de Nerval. Hence, the action also contains a few situations not found in Shakespeare’s play, for instance, Juliet’s aria “Ah! Je veux vivre”, which Gounod additionally composed upon the request of the French soprano Marie Miolan-Carvalho, the first to portray the role.
Owing to Bedřich Smetana, a great champion of Gounod’s music, Romeo et Juliette got to Prague merely two years after its world premiere, and its Czech staging at the New Town Theatre, with Smetana conducting, was the very first in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The National Theatre first presented the opera on 6 January 1886, in Emanuel František Züngel’s Czech translation.
The immortal story of Romeo and Julie really captured us, especially with the outstanding vocals and orchestra. The setting is very modern yet it doesn´t interfere with the overall feeling. We are happy to recommend.