Romeo und Julia (Sutermeister opera)

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Romeo und Julia is an opera in two acts by Heinrich Sutermeister. The composer wrote the libretto, after William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Erik Levi explains that the opera: "presents a synthesis of Romantic and impressionist elements. It marks a ... return to the conception of opera as a sequence of closed forms, incorporating ... stylistic features related to madrigal, oratorio and pantomime."[1]

Performance history[edit]

It was first performed on 13 April 1940, at the Semperoper, Dresden, under the musical direction of Karl Böhm, who also commissioned the work, with Maria Cebotari as Julia, and was a considerable success.[1] It was also performed at Sadler's Wells in London in the mid-50s.[2]


Role Voice type Premiere cast,
13 April 1940
(Conductor: Karl Böhm)
Julia, daughter of the Capulets soprano Maria Cebotari
Romeo, son of Montague tenor
Balthasar, Romeo's servant baritone
Nurse soprano Inger Karén
Capuleti (Capulet) bass Kurt Böhme
Countess Capuleti (Lady Capulet) contralto Helena Rott
Father Lorenzo (Friar Laurence) bass Sven Nilsson
Escalus, Prince of Verona baritone
Servant tenor
Montague, Romeo's father spoken
Count Paris ballerina


Sutermeister's version follows Shakespeare's plot. In the final scene, a celestial chorus celebrate the union in death of the two lovers.


Sutermeister: Romeo und Julia – Bavarian Radio Chorus, Tölzer Knabenchor, Munich Radio Orchestra