An Opera by CHARLES GOUNOD
THE WIRELESS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conducted by PERCY PITT
Leader, S. KNEALE KELLEY.
THE WIRELESS CHORUS
Chorus Master, STAFFORD ROBINSON
IT is just Rixty years this week since Romeo
and Juliet was first heard in Paris. Two librettists, Barbier and Carre, prepared the words from Shakespeare's play.
The Libretto is published by the B.B.C. A brief account of the story is here given.
A short choral Prologue gives a tiny glimpse of the plot, showing us the background of the drama
-the feud between the houses of Capulet and Montague.
ACT 1. A masked ball at Capulet's house in Verona. To this have come Romeo (Tenor), his friends, MERCUTIO (Baritone), and the page, BENVOLIO (Soprano). They are of the enemy's house--that of Montague. Romeo sees JULIET (Soprano), daughter of CAPULET (Bass). She comes attended by her Xurse GERTRUDE (Mezzo-Soprano), and Romeo at once loves the maiden, who, however, is betrothed to Count Paris.
TYBALT (Tenor), Capulet's nephew, recognizes
Romeo, and would attack him and his friends, but Caputet will not allow hospitality thus to be abused.
ACT II. The Capulets' garden, in which takes place the famous love duet between Romeo and Juliet. The voices of Capulet's retainers. Gertrude and GREGORIO (Baritone), are heard momentarily ; the Act is really a version of the Balcony Scene in the play.
ACT III. Friar LAWRENCE (Bass), in his cell, marries Romeo and Juliet (who is attended by Gertrude).
The scene changes to a street near Capulet's house. STEPHANO (a male part, sung by a Mezzo-Soprano) seeks Romeo, who he thinks may still be in Capulet's garden. In order to cause a diversion, and give Romeo a chance to escape, he sings a provocative song. The Capulet household comes out, friends of the Montagues appear, and a quarrel develops. Tybalt kills Mercutio, and is himself fatally stabbed by Romeo. For this, Romeo is banished from his native city by the DUKE OF VERONA (Bass).
ACT IV. Juliet's room. Romeo bids her an impassioned farewell, and leaves her. Gertrude comes to tell her that her father and Friar Lawrence are coming. Tybalt, dying, begged that the marriage between Juliet and Paris should take place at once, and Capulot has decided that this shall be so. The Friar gives Juliet a potion, on drinking which she will fall apparently lifeless, but in reality only in a sleep.
In the hall of the palace, prepared for the wedding, she drinks the potion, and is presumed to be dead.
ACT V. The Tomb of the Capulets. Romeo has heard of Juliet's supposed end, and comes to look upon her once more. In despair, he takes poison. Juliet, recovering from her sleep, finds him dying, and with a dagger stroke takes her own life.