Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

The Lighthouse at San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle

What more fitting memorial for composer Peter Maxwell Davies (d. 03/14/2016) than a splendid performance of The Lighthouse, the third of his eight works for the stage.

King’s Consort at Wigmore Hall

I suspect that many of those at the Wigmore Hall for The King’s Consort’s performance of the La Senna festeggiante (The Rejoicing Seine) were lured by the cachet of ‘Antonio Vivaldi’ and further enticed by the notion of a lover’s serenade at which the generic term ‘serenata’ seems to hint.

Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2016

Having enjoyed superb singing by a young cast of soloists in Classical Opera’s UK premiere of Jommelli’s Il Vogoleso the previous evening, I was delighted that the 2016 Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final at the Wigmore Hall confirmed the strength and depth of talent possessed by the young singers studying in and emerging from our academies and conservatoires.

Pacific Opera Project Recreates Mozart and Salieri Contest

On February 7, 1786, Emperor Joseph II of Austria had brand new one-act operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri performed in the Schönbrunn Palace’s Orangery.

Powerful chemistry in La Cenerentola in Cologne

Those poor opera lovers in Cologne have a never ending problem with the city’s opera house. Together with the rest of city, the construction of the new opera house is mired in political incompetence.

Tannhäuser: Royal Opera House, London

London remains starved of Wagner. This season, its major companies offer but two works, Tannhäuser from the Royal Opera and Tristan from ENO.

The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf

Dmitry Bertman’s hilarious staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s political sex-comedy The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf.

San Diego Opera Presents a Tragic Madama Butterfly

On April 16, 2016, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s sixth opera, Madama Butterfly, in an intriguing production by Garnett Bruce. Roberto Oswald’s scenery included the usual Japanese styled house with many sliding doors and walls. On either side, however, were blooming cherry trees with rough trunks and gnarled branches that looked as though they had been growing on the property for a hundred years.

Simon Rattle conducts Tristan und Isolde

New Co-Production Tristan und Isolde with Metropolitan: Simon Rattle and Westbroek electrify Treliński’s Opera-Noir.

San Jose’s Smooth Streetcar Ride

In an operatic world crowded with sure-fire bread and butter repertoire, Opera San Jose has boldly chosen to lavish a new production on a dark horse, Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

Roméo et Juliette: Dutch National Opera and Ballet seal merger with leaden Berlioz

Choral symphony, oratorio, symphonic poem — Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette does not fit into any mould. It has the potential to work as an opera-ballet, but incoherent storytelling and uninspired conducting undermined this production.

Donizetti : Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera House

When Kasper Holten took the precaution of pre-warning ticket-holders that the Royal Opera House’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor featured scene portraying ‘sexual acts’ and ‘violence’, one assumed that he was aiming to avert a re-run of the jeering and hectoring that accompanied last season’s Guillaume Tell. He even went so far as to offer concerned patrons a refund.

Five Reviews of Regina at Maryland Opera Studio

These are five very different reviews by students at the University of Maryland on its Opera Studio production of Regina — an interesting, informative and entertaining read . . .

Three Cheers for the English Touring Opera

‘Remember me, the one who is Pia;/ Siena made me, Maremma undid me.’ The speaker is Pia de’ Tolomei. She appears in a brief episode of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Purgatorio V, 130-136) which was the source for Gaetano Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei - by way of Bartolomeo Sestini’s verse-novella of 1825.

Andriessen's De Materie at the Park Avenue Armory

"The large measure of formalism which forms the basis of De Materie does not in itself offer any guarantee that the work will be beautiful," says Dutch composer Louis Andriessen of his four-movement opera.

Falstaff Makes a Big Splash in Phoenix

On April 1, 2016, Arizona Opera presented Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) in Phoenix. Although Boito based most of his libretto on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, he used material from Henry IV as well. Verdi wrote the music when he was close to the age of eighty. He was concerned about his ability at that advanced age, but he was immensely pleased with Boito’s text and decided to compose his second comedy, despite the fact that his first, Un giorno di regno, had not been successful.

Svadba in San Francisco

The brand new SF Opera Lab opened last month with artist William Kentridge’s staged Schubert Winterreise. Its second production just now, Svadba-Wedding — an a cappella opera for six female voices — unabashedly exposes the space in a different, non-theatrical configuration.

Benvenuto Cellini in Rome

One may think of Tosca as the most Roman of all operas, after all it has been performed at the Teatro Costanzi (Rome’s opera house) well over a thousand times since 1900. Though equally, maybe even more Roman is Hector Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini that has had only a dozen or so performances in Rome since 1838.

Handel : Elpidia - Opera Settecento

Roll up! A new opera by Handel is to be performed, L’Elpidia overo li rivali generosi. It is based upon a libretto by Apostolo Zeno with music by Leonardo Vinci - excepting a couple of arias by Giuseppe Orlandini and, additionally, two from Antonio Lotti’s Teofane (which the star bass, Giuseppe Maria Boschi , on bringing with him from the Dresden production of 1719).

Roberto Devereux in Genova

Radvanovsky in New York, Devia in Genoa — Donizetti queens are indeed in the news! Just now in Genoa Mariella Devia was the Elizabeth I for her beloved Roberto Devereux in a new trilogy of Donizetti queens (Maria Stuarda and Anne Bolena) directed by baritone Alfonso Antoniozzi.

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):