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Opera Abbreviated Podcast: Roméo et Juliette

Ken Howard/The Metropolitan Opera
Vittorio Grigolo as Roméo, Diana Damrau as Juliette and Mikhail Petrenko as Frère Laurent in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette";s

Charles Gounod's opera Roméo et Juliette was first performed in Paris in 1867. This year, The Metropolitan Opera is staging a new production of the opera, with Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo in the title roles. 

Roméo et Juliette will be shown in movie theaters around the world, as part of the Met's Live in HD series, 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21.

The opera captivated Paris, London and New York from the days of its first performances. It became the favorite vehicle of some of the 19th century's most glamorous singers, Jean DeRezke, Nellie Melba and Emma Eames among them.

Here's everything you need to know, backstage and front, to enjoy the Met's transmission of this operatic version of Shakespeare's tragedy:

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.