Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

J. C. Bach: Adriano in Siria

At this start of the year, Classical Opera embarked upon an ambitious project. MOZART 250 will see the company devote part of its programme each season during the next 27 years to exploring the music by Mozart and his contemporaries which was being written and performed exactly 250 years previously.

Bethan Langford, Wigmore Hall

The Concordia Foundation was founded in the early 1990s by international singer and broadcaster Gillian Humphreys, out of her ‘real concern for building bridges of friendship and excellence through music and the arts’.

Tansy Davies: Between Worlds (world premiere)

An opera dealing with — or at least claiming to deal with — the events of 11 September 2001? I suppose it had to come, but that does not necessarily make it any more necessary.

Arizona Opera Ends Season in Fine Style with Fille du Régiment

On April 10, 2015, Arizona Opera ended its season with La Fille du Régiment at Phoenix Symphony Hall. A passionate Marie, Susannah Biller was a veritable energizer bunny onstage. Her voice is bright and flexible with a good bloom on top and a tiny bit of steel in it. Having created an exciting character, she sang with agility as well as passion.

Il turco in Italia, Royal Opera

This second revival of Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser’s 2005 production of Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia seems to have every going for it: excellent principals comprising experienced old-hands and exciting new voices, infinite gags and japes, and the visual éclat of Agostino Cavalca’s colour-bursting costumes and Christian Fenouillat’s sunny sets which evoke the style, glamour and ease of La Dolce Vita.

The Siege of Calais
——
The Wild Man of the West Indies

English Touring Opera’s 2015 Spring Tour is audacious and thought-provoking. Alongside La Bohème the company have programmed a revival of their acclaimed 2013 production of Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais) and the composer’s equally rare The Wild Man of the West Indies (Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo).

The Met’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Mary Zimmerman’s still-fresh production is made fresher still by Shagimuratova’s glimmering voice, but the acting disappoints

Voices, voices in space, and spaces: Thoughts on 50 years of Meredith Monk

When WNYC’s John Schaefer introduced Meredith Monk’s beloved Panda Chant II, which concluded the four-and-a-half hour Meredith Monk & Friends celebration at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, he described it as “an expression of joy and musicality” before lamenting the fact that playing it on his radio show could never quite compete with a live performance.

St. John Passion by Soli Deo Gloria, Chicago

This year’s concert of the Chicago Bach Project, under the aegis of the Soli Deo Gloria Music Foundation, was a presentation of the St. John Passion (BWV 245) at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Fedora in Genoa

It is not an everyday opera. It is an opera that illuminates a larger verismo history.

The Marriage of Figaro, LA Opera

On March 26, 2015, Los Angeles Opera presented Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The Ian Judge production featured jewel-colored box sets by Tim Goodchild that threw the voices out into the hall. Only for the finale did the set open up on to a garden that filled the whole stage and at the very end featured actual fireworks.

The Tempest Songbook, Gotham Chamber Opera

Gotham Chamber Opera’s latest project, The Tempest Songbook, continues to explore the possibilities of unconventional spaces and unconventional programs that the company has made its hallmark. The results were musically and theatrically thought-provoking, and left me wanting more.

San Diego Opera presents Adams’ Riveting Nixon in China

Nixon in China is a three-act opera with a libretto by Alice Goodman and music by John Adams that was first seen at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987. It was the first of a notable line of operas by the composer.

Ars Minerva presents Castrovillari’s La Cleopatra in San Francisco

It is thanks to Céline Ricci, mezzo-soprano and director of Ars Minerva, that we have been able to again hear Daniele Castrovillari’s exquisite melodies because she is the musician who has brought his 1662 opera La Cleopatra to life.

An Ideal Cast in Chicago’s Tannhäuser

Lyric Opera of Chicago, in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, has staged a production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser with an estimable cast.

Madame Butterfly, Royal Opera

Puccini and his fellow verismo-ists are commonly associated with explosions of unbridled human passion and raw, violent pain, but in this revival (by Justin Way) of Moshe Leiser’s and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madame Butterfly, directorial understatement together with ravishing scenic beauty are shown to be more potent ways of enabling the sung voice to reveal the emotional depths of human tragedy.

Tosca in Marseille

Rarely, very rarely does a Tosca come around that you can get excited about. Sure, sometimes there is good singing, less often good conducting but rarely is there a mise en scène that goes beyond stock opera vocabulary.

Poetry beyond words — Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall

The Nash Ensemble’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations at the Wigmore Hall were crowned by a recital that typifies the Nash’s visionary mission. Above, the dearly-loved founder, Amelia Freeman, a quietly revolutionary figure in her own way, who has immeasurably enriched the cultural life of this country.

Arizona Opera Presents Magritte Style Magic Flute

On March 7, 2015, Arizona Opera presented Dan Rigazzi’s production of Die Zauberflöte in Tucson. Inspired by the works of René Magritte, designer John Pollard filled the stage with various sizes of picture frames, windows, and portals from which he leads us into Mozart and Schikaneder’s dream world.

Henry Purcell: A Retrospective

There are some concert programmes which are not just wonderful in their execution but also delight and satisfy because of the ‘rightness’ of their composition. This Wigmore Hall recital by soprano Carolyn Sampson and three period-instrument experts of arias and instrumental pieces by Henry Purcell was one such occasion.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Zach Borichevsky as  Roméo and Corinne Winters as Juliette [Photo courtesy of Arizona Opera]
23 Nov 2012

Roméo et Juliette by Arizona Opera

French composer Charles Gounod wrote his five-act opera  Roméo et Juliette  to a libretto that Jules Barbier and Michel Carré based on William Shakespeare’s  Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

Roméo et Juliette by Arizona Opera

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Zach Borichevsky as Roméo and Corinne Winters as Juliette [Photo courtesy of Arizona Opera]

 

The opera had its world première at the Théâtre Lyrique Impérial du Châtelet in Paris on April 27, 1867. It was Gounod’s biggest hit after Faust, which was first seen in 1859, and it was sorely needed. Faust had been performed 300 times since its premiere, but his next operatic compositions: Philemon et Baucis, La Colombe and Mireille, were nowhere near as successful.

After its Paris opening, Roméo was seen in Italian at Covent Garden in London on July 11, 1867 and in French at the Academy of Music in New York on November 15 of that year. The opera was originally thought to be most notable for its exquisitely constructed duets and for Juliette’s first act waltz song, ‘Je veux vivre’. Since then, however, her dramatic Poison Aria ‘Amour ranime mon courage,’ which was sometimes omitted in earlier performances, has become one of the work’s centerpieces. 

On November 16, 2012, Arizona Opera presented Roméo et Juliette at Phoenix’s Symphony Hall in a mostly traditional production by Candace Evans. She told the story in an easily understandable manner that brought out the personalities of the work’s many characters. The one controversial aspect of Evans’ production was her use of narrators to present some of Shakespeare’s original lines. They spoke over the orchestral music during the overture and the interludes. Fight director Andrea Robertson had the young men dueling quite realistically. The fact that every move was carefully choreographed was never evident. The scenery, originally designed by R. Keith Brumley for Lyric Opera of Kansas City, was dark and colorless, but functional. Corinna Rose Bohren’s costumes, fashioned after the work of Peter J. Hall, added the necessary color to the stage picture. Douglas Provost’s lighting design, too, served to add some spice to the stage picture.

It was the inspired conducting of James Meena that held this production together. His tempi were taught but he always allowed the singers any leeway they needed. Zach Borichevsky and Corinne Winters, a couple in real life, sang Roméo and Juliette most convincingly. Tall and slim with an exciting sound to his tenor voice, Borichevsky was perfect for his part, while Winters, a petite Juliette, had both the lustrous vocal timbre for the Waltz Song and the bold dramatic colors for the Poison Aria.   Both these singers can act, too, and that added measurably to this performance. Borichevsky sang a small part in Richard Strauss’ Arabella last summer in Santa Fe but even that few minutes onstage were enough to alert the audience to his significant talent.

Jamie Offenbach was a stentorian and commanding pater familias as Capulet and David Adam Moore sang his technically difficult Queen Mab Aria with pizzazz. Contralto Meredith Arwady is a talented comedian and her scenes afforded considerable relief to the otherwise unrelenting tragedy of the story. Singing the dual roles of Frère Laurent and the Duke of Verona was the sumptuous-voiced Jordan Bisch who created believable characters in both cases.

In her portrayal of Stéphano, resident artist Laura Wilde sang her aria with robust tones that could have had a bit more dynamic variation. David Margulis and Thomas Cannon, also members of the company’s young artist program, were thoroughly committed to their roles of Benvolio and Grégorio. Henri Venanzi’s chorus is always a delight and this performance was no exception. They French was good and so was their musical performance. The staging had them sometimes standing as a block, but when they did move they were individual family members and townspeople. This was a well though out production that gave the Arizona audience a chance to appreciate some fine new singers. 

Maria Nockin


Cast and Production

Roméo: Zach Borichevsky; Juliette: Corinne Winters; Capulet: Jamie Offenbach; Mercutio: David Adam Moore; Frère Laurent and The Duke of Verona: Jordan Bisch; Gertrude: Meredith Arwady; Stéphano: Laura Wilde; Benvolio David Margulis; Grégorio Thomas Cannon; Narrators: Sterling Beeaff, Peter Oldak, Natalie Sanchez; Conductor: James Meena; Director: Candace Evans; Chorus Master: Henri Venanzi; Fight Director: Andrea Robertson; Scenic Designer: R. Keith Brumley; Costume Designer: Corinna Rose Bohren; Lighting Designer: Douglas Provost. Arizona Opera at Phoenix Symphony Hall November 17, 2012.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):