The second Houston premiere and Shakespearean operatic adaptation of Opera in the Heights' season tells the story of the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. When the opera begins the two young lovers have already met and fallen in love. The two families of the title lead rival political factions — the Guelphs and the Ghibellines — in Verona in the late middle ages.
The families' enmity is heightened by the death of a son of the Capuleti in a duel with the Montechhi Romeo. At the same time an unwanted marriage is arranged for Giulietta, the daughter of the Capuleti. With the help of Lorenzo in whom she has confided, Giulietta and Romeo try to find a way they can honorably marry and unite their families, but it is not to be.
The short-lived Vincenzo Bellini (33 years) gave to opera some of the most beautiful melodies in the repertoire. He was a standout among bel canto composers for this facility. The story in this opera was derived from the same Italian source that Shakespeare used, not directly from Shakespeare's play, which explains some of the minor differences.