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Archive for November 18, 2014

Romeo and Juliet in Drag?

Giuditta Grisi played the first Romeo in Bellini's opera

Remember John Madden’s film Shakespeare in Love in which men had to play all the women’s roles due to Elizabethan standards of decency? In opera, that tradition swings both directions. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has captured the imaginations of many composers; the story is timeless, even as a readers’ biases change – and they’ve changed a lot. When Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli composed his opera on Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo e Giulietta (1796), his image of Romeo