The opera “Romeo and Juliet” presented last week by European and Indian actors was a hit with the audience in the Capital

The Neemrana Music Foundation and European Union, in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, presented the opera “Romeo and Juliet” by the French composer Charles Gounod at Kamani auditorium last week. The Shakespearean tragedy is a story of love and pain suffered you two young persons whose affection is hampered by the rivalry between their two noble families, the Montagues and the Capulets. The two lovers do not give up and decide to get married in secret, defying fate. It is a love story where the family matters and tries to influence the choice of the youngsters.

Jean-Marie Curti, artistic director and conductor of Les Musicien d’Europe Orchestra, said that the choice to represent this work in India is not casual, since the topic is extremely current. Furthermore, Romeo and Juliet is an opera that, due to the strong presence of love and its dilemmas, can be represented all over the world. Everyone has suffered for love and done something crazy or brave for the beloved.

Costumes, lyrics, music, vocals and stage design were classic, faithful to the original without modern reinterpretations. The surprise came from the acting company, a mixed group comprising Europeans and Indians with all their expressions. Among the choristers there was even a Sikh who was wearing his pagadi with elegance, despite the Italian style renaissance dresses. The shape of the stage helped to make the atmosphere informal: part of the orchestra was positioned in the audience, just a few inches from the front row.

The preparation work was very intense and the language was a considerable obstacle: many actors did not speak French and it is not easy to transmit emotions if you do not understand what you are singing. Some individual lessons were necessary, but the great passion of the Indian actors made everything simpler, said François Astorg, the stage director. However, despite some moments in which the expressive power of the actors was a little weak, the representation was applauded by the audience. The conductor commented that there are excellent voices and actors in India that can improve; they just need the opportunities.

Representing operas in India, in fact, is also a way to improve local acting and singing skills without going abroad as the actors are able to learn in the course of the rehearsals, as well as pick up useful tips. A useful workshop for participants went a long way in adding to the success of the production.