Our rock adaptation of Shakespeare's timeless classic takes us to Verona where two mighty families live; the Montagues and the Capulets, who have been in dispute for years. They strongly hate each other and there's no end to their quarrels and fights. Prince Escalus, the ruling prince of Verona, is a really bad guy in this story. As it tends to be the case in all ruling classes world over, he's in fact quite pleased with the endless fights between the two families. As they pick on each other, he's left alone out of spotlight never to be questioned about his actions. So he does what he does best - he makes friends here and there, creates tension elsewhere, plots this and that but his main aim is to collect everybody’s taxes. He's against any influence from the outside and to keep all unwanted elements from entering the city he employs two killers and a spy. Those who misbehave are reported by his page-boy called Brat and those who refuse to conform are quietly taken care of by his personal bodyguards. Verona is not a city for a normal, peaceful life.
    
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As every year the Prince is organising a grand ball where everybody who is somebody must show their faces. It's guaranteed that the Montagues and the Capulets and their extended families will be there. It's a spectacular show of both sides pretending to love and care for each other while those who can see through this mask notice how much hatred there really is. Through copious amounts of alcohol and general merriness the two families become somewhat closer but it is a fleeting moment, so short in fact that it ends as soon as the alcohol vapours disappear and both parties sober up. Romeo, from the Montague family, is also at the ball along with his two friends Mercurio and Benvolio. He's looking for Rosaline whom he loves dearly but it’s a one-sided love affair. Rosaline is not interested. While searching for the lady of his heart he accidentally bumps into Juliet from the Capulet family. He instantly falls in love with her with his whole heart and soul. It's love at first sight. Two pure souls watch this whole ball madness from afar: Julia's nanny and a juggler who wandered into the city while journeying through the land.

Romeo and Juliet don't waste their time and are married by Friar Laurence the next day despite the unabating hatred between the two families. In fact, Laurence hopes that there can finally be peace between the two clans. The first act of our opera ends with the arrival of Count Paris, Escalus's riotous brother. He may be quite into the ladies and show egoistic self-indulgent behaviour but he somehow is a great influence on Prince Escalus so soon everybody is competing to be in his favour. Verona really isn’t a city for a normal, peaceful life!
    
The second act opens and the two clans are still at it - arguing and fighting for the most ridiculous reasons. Tybalt of Capulets quarrels with Mercurio and ends up killing him. Raging and thirsty for revenge Romeo then kills Tybalt. To set a precedent and to keep at least some order in the streets of Verona, Escalus sentences Romeo to death. But bribery does the trick - Romeo is spared and now sent to exile to Mantova.

The Capulets are happy, Juliet is desperate. Count Paris sees Juliet at the market, takes immediate liking to her and decides that she needs to complete his collection of trophy women. Without any shame he proceeds to buy her from the family. This makes the Capulets extremely happy as now, finally, they’ll be the relatives of the Count and thus will win any disputes with the Montagues. Nobody cares what poor Juliet thinks or feels.

Desperate, Juliet asks Friar Laurence for help. He provides her with a potion which, once ingested, will make Juliet look like she’s dead. Romeo will then be able to come to the Capulet family tomb and rescue her, at least that’s the plan. Juliet drinks the potion and seems dead indeed. Romeo finds out about her funeral but he fails to learn that Juliet is not really dead. He doesn’t know that it’s all only an act played out in order for the lovers to be together in the end.
    
Distraught Romeo buys a potent poison for himself, returns to Verona a goes to the tomb to give Juliet his goodbye kiss. There he meets the necrophiliac Paris and kills him in a duel. Then he sees his Juliet and confesses his love to her. It is then time to say goodbye to the world and Romeo drinks his poison. Moments after, Juliet slowly awakens only to find Romeo’s lifeless body next to hers. She grabs his dagger and takes her own life.

Both clans run to the scene. There they see what they caused. The Montagues and Capulets are in despair and mourning but it only lasts a little while. Already, during the requiem, they pick up where they left off and have a terrible fight. After all - money is money and power is power….. Only the juggler weeps. He is then killed by someone - there is no place for feelings and sensitivity in the politics of Verona. Verona really isn’t a place for a normal life!

Rock Opera, on the other hand, is THE perfect place for amazing music, big emotions, fantastic performances and unforgettable evening. So, shhhhh, be quiet and come to the funeral with us. Off to Verona we go!

Roman Stolpa, director
    

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Foto: Hana Brožková
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