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Suffolk: the home of great Romeos

PUBLISHED: 17:48 26 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:10 03 March 2010

ROMEO - wherefore art thou, Romeo? Forget fair Verona, you stand a very good chance of finding him - and Juliet - in Suffolk.

For two versions of the star-cross'd lovers' epic struggle are heading towards stages in Suffolk in two very different formats.

FORGET fair Verona, you stand a very good chance of finding Romeo and Juliet in Suffolk.

For two versions of the star-cross'd lovers' epic struggle are heading towards stages in Suffolk in two very different formats.

An opera version of Shakespeare's famous tale of tragic love opens tonight in the beautiful surroundings of the Tudor Hall at country house Priory Hall, near Hadleigh.

Bellini's Romeo and Juliet – otherwise known as I Capuleti e I Montecchi – is being staged until Saturday by Suffolk-based Opera Live, featuring Bury-based Adrian Marple and harpist Brian Davis

Swedish soprano Ditte Fahie and mezzo soprano Yvonne Dorsey take the title roles. Yes, two women – giving the leads to two female voice parts is just one of the Italian composer's innovations on the Shakespearean original.

"There's no ballroom scene and in this version the lovers have been together for quite some time," explained Cyndy Hilton, one of the organisers of the Priory Hall "But there's still the same feuding and tragedy. The acoustics in the hall are superb – itgoing to be amazing."

Guests will dine al fresco on picnics during the interval amid the 22-acre estate, a style of musical appreciation made famously alluring by the Glyndebourne music festival in Sussex.

Doors open at 6.30pm with curtain up at 7.15pm. For tickets call 01473 823185 – there's still some left for Friday's performance.

Meanwhile, a more traditional rendition of the warring families from Verona is arriving in the county next month.

The critically-admired Heartbreak Productions brings their nationwide tour of Romeo and Juliet to Ipswich on July 4 after appearing first at the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, on July 3.

This time the greatest love story of them all is the original article – and the theatrical group acclaimed for their brilliant open-air stagings can be enjoyed in the atmospheric setting of the lawn outside Christchurch Mansion in Christchurch Park.

You can book tickets on 08700 600 100 or at www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk.

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