“I can altogether empathize with Giulietta. She is one of the personalities I love most.” With these words of homage Katia Ricciarelli begins the documentation of I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Vincenzo Bellini’s opera in two acts. When he composed the opera in 1830, he did not base it on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, for the drama was barely known in Italy at the time; instead, he was inspired by various Italian sources, among them the novella La sfortunata morte di due infelicissimi amanti (the unfortunate death of two unhappy lovers). The Italian composer set to music the story of Romeo Montecchi and Giulietta Capuleti, lovers from two hostile Veronese families, for the La Fenice Opera company in Venice. Since two tenors were not available, he wrote the role of Romeo for a mezzo-soprano. In the 1991 performance at the Teatro La Fenice shown in the film, the role is sung by the British mezzo-soprano Diana Montague; not only is her surname a happy coincidence, she also harmonizes perfectly with Katia Ricciarelli as Giulietta. The Italian soprano Katia Ricciarelli has been frenetically acclaimed for her Giulietta, the role seeming to have been written for her. It is among the highlights of her career.
In addition to showing a selection of the best scenes from the opera, the film also provides deep insight into the whole production process at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in 1991, including the sets and the rehearsals. Katia Ricciarelli is joined by Diana Montague, the conductor Bruno Campanella and the director and set designer Pier Luigi Pizzi, and they provide interesting insights into their work.
Opera material shot at the Palais de l'Ancien Archevêché
Conductor: Bruno Campanella
Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro la Fenice