A Tale of Star-Crossed Lovers: Romeo and Juliet in Opera and Art

 In Future Exhibitions

A Tale of Star-Crossed Lovers: Romeo and Juliet in Opera and Art


April 1 – September 10, 2023

The story of Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers from rival families, is an old tale which has been retold by writers and dramatists from the 1500s to the present day. What started as an early Italian novella has been recreated in many forms—in theater, opera, ballet, musical, and film.

Most famously, and the inspiration for subsequent productions, is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Published in 1597, the play contains some of the most recognizable scenes and lines in theater, perfect operatic material for 19th-century composer Charles Gounod. His music for Roméo et Juliette captures the drama of young love, clandestine meetings, a secret marriage, and death scene, all through his radiant melodies. First performed on April 27, 1867, at the Theatre Lyrique in Paris, the opera debuted in New York City at the old Metropolitan Opera House in 1891. Well-known performers, including Placido Domingo and Queena Mario whose costumes are seen here, have brought the star-crossed lovers to life on the Metropolitan Opera stage.

Visual artists have also been inspired by Romeo and Juliet. Originally commissioned to accompany a translation of the famed Shakespeare play, the Romeo and Juliet Suite, created in 1979, exemplifies Hungarian artist Adam Wurtz’s technical exuberance. It also relates to a familial association with theater which started with his father and grandfather’s work in the Metropolitan Opera’s costume department in the 1920s. In Romeo and Juliet, Wurtz sets the stage with an opening scene of Verona, framed by figurative renditions of the characters who, in the subsequent prints, act in a play which is of Wurtz’s own making, their activities paralleling Shakespeare’s revered text. Opera and theater inspired much of Wurtz’s work, characterized by wit, whimsy, and his own unique sense of the fantastic.

This season Glimmerglass Festival presents this “classic tale of feuding families and fateful love” with a stellar cast and a contemporary production from the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.


Start typing and press Enter to search


HOURS: Daily, 10am-5pm


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required