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April 23, 2010

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A teen opera Romeo and Juliet that really rocks

ITALIAN popular opera "Romeo and Juliet" mixes pop, rock and classical music and makes its China debut next month as one of Italy's contributions to World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

Thirty shows, in Italian, will be staged from June 18 to July 22 at Luwan Gymnasium.

The opera, which premiered in 2005, was created by composer Riccardo Cocciante and poet Pasquale Panella.

The story belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity and Shakespeare based his work on the Italian tale of star-crossed lovers.

The ending has been changed from Shakespeare's original in which Juliet commits suicide. In this version, she dies of a broken heart.

"This plot is more dramatic and romantic and will leave the audience with a more beautiful impression," says Cocciante.

In the opera involving around 50 performers, there is no dialogue, only singing.

In the original tales, Romeo and Juliet were very young, teenagers, and the average age of the opera performers is 16.

"The music is not traditional opera, but is combined with some pop music elements like rock and roll," says Cocciante, who was a singer before he became a composer.

"We should break the traditional ways of writing opera, creating works with more modern elements," he says.

After its premiere in Rome, the show toured Europe, including London and Paris, and was well received. From 2007-2008 the company gave 82 performances to 320,000 spectators around the world.

"Romeo and Juliet" will be Cocciante's third opera performed in Shanghai, after "Notre Dame de Paris" in 1992 and "The Little Prince" in 1997.

"I am sure that audiences in Shanghai, especially young people will like this popular opera very much," says Massimo Roscigno, consul general of Italy in Shanghai.

"Italy will present many aspects of its talent at the Expo, including culture, music and science. This opera is a very important cultural event for our country."

Date: June 18-July 22, 7:30pm

Venue: Luwan Gymnasium, 128 Zhaojiabang Rd

Tickets: 160-1,000 yuan

Tel: 6217-2426, 6217-3055


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