In this retelling of Shakespeare's story, two families in Verona, the Capulets and the Montagues, are bitter enemies. Conflict ensues when Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, fall in love. The two young lovers exchange secret vows, but within hours a fight has broken out between the two families, once again. Romeo's friend, Mercutio, is killed by Count Capulet's nephew, Tybalt. Despite his newfound alliance with the Capulets, Romeo, distraught over the loss of his friend, fights Tybalt and murders him. As a result, Romeo is forced into exile. Forced by her father to marry Paris when she is already secretly married to Romeo, Juliet takes a potion that will make her appear dead so as to fool her family. Tragically, Romeo, who is unable to receive a message from the Friar relaying this information, thinks she is in fact dead and kills himself before discovering the truth. Romeo et Juliette is a masterpiece of the French composer Charles Gounod and is a Grand Opera. The style of Grand Opera was often in five act structure and almost always featured a ballet because many theaters had their own ballet company. This piece is no exception and has a stunning ballet in the fourth act; however, it is often cut nowadays. This opera is a grand and sweeping retelling of one of the best and most tragic love stories of all time, and illuminates the passion of the young lovers.