Roméo et Juliette is an opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. This opera is notable for the series of four duets for the main characters and the waltz song "Je veux vivre" for the soprano.
An opera buffa, it was influenced by Mozart's Così fan tutte, which was performed at the same theatre shortly before Rossini's work. The strangely harmonized overture, though infrequently recorded, is one of the best examples of Rossini's characteristic style.
Based on two German legends: Tannhäuser, the legendary medieval German Minnesänger and poet, and the tale of the Wartburg Song Contest. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love, a theme running through much of Wagner's mature work.
Archibaldo, the blind king, conquered the kingdom of Altura forty years before the opera begins. After forty years, the Alturan people openly object to the reign of the Germanic Archibaldo. Archibaldo recounts his memories of the thrill of conquest, and his reminiscence equates the invasion of Italy to the winning of a beautiful woman.
In 1889, Umberto Giordano saw Sardou's play Fédora at the Teatro Bellini di Napoli, with Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. He immediately asked Sardou for permission to base an opera on the play, and Sardou initially refused because, at the time, Giordano was a relatively unknown composer.
Victim of a failing distribution, the work encountered, during its creation, the misunderstanding of the public, baffled by a romantic drama intimate, deprived of the traditional heroic distance and served by an unusual musical realism. But, recognized at its fair value from the following representations, traviata became in the twentieth century one of the most performed works in operas around the world.
Rossini's last opera in the Italian language (all of his later works were in French) premiered under the title Le voyage à Reims, ou l'Hôtel du Lys-d'Or. It was commissioned to celebrate the coronation of French King Charles X in Reims in 1825 and has been acclaimed as one of Rossini's finest compositions.