Opera program prepares for classic 'Romeo and Juliet'

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The UNL opera program presents "Romeo and Juliet," Feb. 25 and 27 in Kimball Recital Hall. Performances are 7:30 p.m., Feb. 25 and 3 p.m., Feb. 27.

Shakespeare's classic love story is brought to life by compositions written by Charles Gounod. While many operatic composers have tried their hand at adapting "Romeo and Juliet," Gounod's rendition has enjoyed the most popular success.

Part of that success is Gounod's treatment of the title characters. While there are glorious choruses, ensembles, and solos, the opera is built upon a series of duets for the star-crossed lovers. Exquisite melodies capture the playful flirtatiousness of their first meeting in the Capulet ballroom, the wonder of their secret encounter at the infamous balcony, the passionate declarations of love in Juliet's chamber, and finally the tragic and heartbreaking death in the tomb.

The opera will be sung in French with projected English supertitles above the set.

Title roles feature graduate students Jeni Houser and Patrick O'Halloran.

William Shomos, professor of music and director of "Romeo and Juliet," will deliver pre-performance talks 45 minutes before each performance in Westbrook Music Building, room 119.

Tickets, $20 for adults and $10 for students, are available through the Lied Center for Performing Arts box office at (402) 472-4747 or 800-432-3231.