Monday, March 24, 2014

Neemrana Music Foundation presented excellent Opera "Romeo & Juliet" in Capital

As homage to the pioneer of Opera in India, Francis Wacziarg, The Neemrana Music Foundation is staging its eighth Opera.

“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

More than in any of his other plays, the dramatist William Shakespeare excelled when he wrote the tale of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. Whether we quote “parting is such sweet sorrow” or “What’s in a name”, it is the bard of Avon who continues to be quoted so often almost four hundred years after his death in 1616. In the likes of the line “Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly, then your love would also change” perhaps we see the most brazen expression of love.

The Neemrana Music Foundation and European Union in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations presented the opera Romeo & Juliet by Charles Gounod (French composer) on 18th, 19th, 21st at 7.00 pm and on 22nd March at 4.00 pm at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. The show got a huge attendance & appreciation of Indian Audiences on the opening day of the Opera. 

A symphonic instrumental concert on the theme of ‘Destiny’ is also being presented by the Neemrana Music Foundation and European Union on 20th March at 7.00 pm at Kamani Auditorium with the Orchestra of the Romeo & Juliet opera, joined by Indian musicians. This will feature Verdi – Overture of Forza Del Destino, P-I. Tschaïkowsky, Overture of Romeo and Juliet, and L. Van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5.

Charles Gounod who composed the music of the Opera had long been interested in turning the Shakespeare play into an opera. His librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré had managed to turn Goethe’s FAUST into an opera for him and so began their work on transforming the play. They purposefully chose to adhere closely to Shakespeare’s play as seen in the choral prologue which contains the words of the dialogue from the play.

The opera was first performed at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris on 27th April 1867 and it became the most popular opera of the season and for all times to come. It remains one of Gounod’s best known and most performed works in the repertory of worldwide operas.

A French opera presented with an Indo-European cast, 44 musicians from Orchestra Les Musiciens D’Europe & 46 singers of The Neemrana Music Foundation Choir, this is the eighth opera production by the Foundation after pioneering opera in India with The Fakir of Benares in 2002 (New Delhi) and 2003 (Mumbai).

The orchestra Les musiciens D’Europe comprises of musicians from France, Belgium, Switzerland, England, Germany and Spain.

The Opera is in five acts: The Capulets’ Ball, The Garden of Juliet, the Cell of Friar Laurence and a Street near the Capulet’s Palace, Juliet’s Room at Dawn, and Juliet’s Tomb.

The cast includes Indian singers Amar Muchhala (tenor) from London as Romeo, Aude Priya (soprano) who has been a part of many other productions by TNMF, as Juliet, Vikrant Subramanian (baritone) as Mercutio, Sparsh Bajpai (soprano) as Stefano, Toshanbor Singh Nonbet (tenor) as Benvolio, Prabhat Chandola (tenor) as Tybalt, Madhav Raina Thapan (baritone) as Paris, Clifford Afonso (baritone) as Gregorio,  Ramya Roy (Mezzo Soprano) as Getrude, and visiting singers from France Paul Medioni (Bass) as Friar Laurent and Bernard Ohanian(baritone) as count Capulet.

The artistic director of the opera, Jean-Marie Curti is a Swiss conductor based in Geneva and directs the Opera Studio of Geneva. He has previously staged upto 100 productions.

Stage Director is Françoise Astorg, Set designer is Patrick Astorg, Lights Designer is Jean Grison, and costumes are by Françoise Boitard.

The Production team for this opera includes Antoine Redon, Emmanuelle Vassal, Akash Vincent and Mallika Taneja.


The Neemrana Music Foundation continues its work in promoting Western Classical Music in India by training local singers and musicians through master-classes by accomplished visiting conductors and voice coaches. TNMF has been committed to building an opera repertoire for performance in India and abroad and has been promoting cultural exchanges between the East and the West for the last 10 years which has just got the recognition and support of the European Union for this year.