The Juliet Letters

The Juliet letters

by Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet

“Musically delightful and demanding, the cast and orchestra unite soul deep to provide a non-stop web of sound and phrasing that arch, catlike, around the sinews of the heart.”

– Jim Pearson, DCMetroTheaterArts Click here to read the full review

“Soprano Melissa Wimbish was the standout of the small cast. Though she was only on stage for an hour, it was clear that Ms. Wimbish is a highly trained and highly dedicated singing actor. . . It is sometimes said that opera is a “growth industry”, and with performances from a small but mighty company, I am more convinced that is the case.”

– Callie Cooper, Schmopera Click here to read the full review

“Washington’s Urban Arias goes further, by commissioning new works, or finding pieces that are little known or rarely performed and infusing them with reliable company talent that can electrify their purposely small audiences. They’re doing that now by closing their latest season with a performance of Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters. . .”

– Roger Catlin, Broadway World Click here to read the full review

Images by C. Stanley Photography


The Juliet Letters is UrbanArias’ latest foray into musical mashups. Three accomplished young opera singers with flexible voices and acute acting sensibility will interpret Elvis Costello’s plaintive ballads and gritty up-tempo rock songs in a new conception by Cara Gabriel.

Inspired by a professor in Verona who took it upon himself to answer correspondence sent to the fictional (and dead!) Juliet Capulet, The Juliet Letters is a song cycle in which each of the songs is a letter: love letters, begging letters, suicide notes, Dear John letters, breakup letters, and even junk mail.

In Cara Gabriel’s intriguing staging, the piece is a series of vignettes with distinct characters who play out their various obsessions and affections (or disaffections). It is ultimately a work about how we communicate about love.

Elvis Costello describes The Juliet Letters as “a song sequence for string quartet and voice and it has a title. It’s a little bit different. It’s not a rock opera. It’s a new thing.” Released in 1993, The Juliet Letters, with its soulful lyrics and string quartet accompaniment rose to #18 on the UK Album Chart.


Melissa Wimbish

Robert Wesley Mason

Aryssa Leigh Burrs

Directed by Cara Gabriel

Conducted by Robert Wood

Scenic and Lighting design by Jason Arnold

Costume design by Nephelie Andonyadis

Featuring members of the Inscape Chamber Orchestra

CLICK HERE to read the lyrics to THE JULIET LETTERS

UrbanArias’ production of The Juliet Letters is supported by a very generous gift from the Arlington Arts Commission.