Eri Nakamura as Juliet and Tara Erraught as Romeo in the Bavarian State Opera production of Bellini's 'I Capuleti e i Montecchi.' Wilfried Hösl/Bavarian State Opera hide caption

itoggle caption Wilfried Hösl/Bavarian State Opera

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Bellini's Rare Bird: 'The Capulets And The Montagues' WDAV-FM

There are many failed operas based on Romeo and Juliet — Bellini created one of the rare successes.

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Saverio Mercadante's rarely performed opera Virginia from Wexford Opera Festival in Ireland. Clive Barda/Courtesy of Wexford Festival Opera hide caption

itoggle caption Clive Barda/Courtesy of Wexford Festival Opera

Katia Pellegrino performs the grueling role of Norma in this concert production of Bellini's opera. Wojciech Grzedzinski hide caption

itoggle caption Wojciech Grzedzinski

Elvira (Désirée Rancatore) thinks her fiance is cheating on her -- but he's really saving the exiled Queen. Zeininger/Wiener Staatsoper hide caption

itoggle caption Zeininger/Wiener Staatsoper

Amina (Natalie Dessay) isn't actually sleeping with another man -- she's just sleepwalking. Opéra national de Paris/ Julien Benhamou hide caption

itoggle caption Opéra national de Paris/ Julien Benhamou

More than 30 years after her death in 1977, Maria Callas' voice continues to thrill and divide fans and experts. EMI Classics hide caption

itoggle caption EMI Classics