Romeo and Juliet are secretly devoted to each other in love, but a common happiness seems denied to them. Romeo, from the house of the Montagues, has killed the son of Capellio, the leader of the Capulets. Tebaldo wants to kill Romeo as a partisan of the Capulets, at the same time winning Juliet’s hand. Lorenzo, doctor and confidant to the Capellios, advises a peace pact with the Montagues; he is the only one who knows about Juliet's love for Romeo. Romeo repeatedly tries to get his beloved to flee - in vain: the family ties seem too strong, preparations are made for the marriage of Juliet and Tebaldo. In dire need, Lorenzo plans a dangerous cunning to deceive the clan of the Capulets and finally unite the lovers. The tragedy takes its course.
Bellini's opera tells the story of the most famous couple in the world. However, Felice Romani 's libretto is not based on the tragedy of Shakespeare which, at beginning of the 19th century was largely unknown in Italy, but was based primarily on Luigi Scevola's 1818 drama "Giulietta e Romeo". Bellini received the commission for his sixth opera from the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, where he was in early 1830 for the new production of his "Il Pirata". In addition to the incomparable melodic lines, it is not least the charming cast of the protagonists with mezzo-soprano (Romeo) and soprano (Juliet), which lend the score of "Capulets and Montagues" its special colour.