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Thread: Romeo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera House - New Production

          
   
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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Romeo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera House - New Production

    Roméo et Juliette, opera in five acts, sung in French with Met Titles in English, German, and Spanish
    Music by Charles Gounod
    Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on the play by William Shakespeare
    Premiered at the Théâtre-Lyrique Impérial du Châtelet in Paris, on April 27, 1867

    Metropolitan Opera House, in co-production with Teatro alla Scala and the Salzburg Festival

    This is the Metropolitan Opera 335th performance of Roméo et Juliette, attended in person by Opera Lively on 1/17/2017

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda
    The Metropolita Opera Chorus, Chorus Master Donald Palumbo

    Production Bartlett Sher
    Set Design Michael Yeargan
    Costume Design Catherine Zuber
    Lighting Design Jennifer Tipton
    Choreography Chase Brock
    Fight Director B. H. Barry

    Cast

    Principal Roles

    Roméo - Vittorio Grigolo
    Juliette - Opera Lively interviewee Diana Damrau

    Other important roles

    Frère Laurent - Mikhail Petrenko
    Stéphano - Virginie Verrez
    Mercutio - Elliot Madore
    Capulet - Opera Lively interviewee Laurent Naouri
    Tybalt - Diego Silva

    Comprimarios

    Pâris - David Crawford
    Gertrude - Diana Montague
    Grégorio - Jeongcheol Cha
    Benvolio - Tony Stevenson
    The Duke of Verona - Oren Gradus

    -------------------

    I am a bit ambivalent about this production by Bartlett Sher, and I can't really pinpoint why. Usually I like stark and dark productions and this one definitely qualifies as such. The effects achieved with the long, wavy white sheet were beautiful. The lavish costumes were successful, no doubt. Still, it somehow left me cold, and the pun is intended because we had to brave the elements on a very cold, windy, and rainy night to see this show. The production collected ravish praise everywhere but I guess I won't add my name to the chorus of acclamation. I didn't really experience the "Wow!" factor. I guess one can't please everybody. But I can't put it down either. It does what it sets up to do, and it doesn't get in the way. It is handsome enough.

    Maybe it's just me. Maybe it felt too heavy, and even when it tried to lighten up like when Stéphano is swinging his sword around and everybody ducks, the bit felt out of place. It must be why Diana Damrau in her acting didn't display as much youthful exuberance in "Je veux vivre" like, say, Nino Machaidze in the Brian Large production available on DVD. Also, the single set for all acts made the entire thing less imaginative, and the lighting design didn't add much to the atmosphere (other than being, well, dark). The fight choreography on the other hand was very good, saving the day for a rather static blocking. There wasn't much of a concept other than updating the story to the 18th century, without any other elaboration (which is probably why like I said it doesn't get in the way).

    Now, the musical elements tonight were entirely satisfactory. Diana Damrau was great as usual with her agile coloratura and purity of tone, and oh boy, Vittorio Grigolo can sing! His tenor instrument is not only very precise but also very big, filling all nooks of the vast Met. Mikhail Petrenko and Laurent Naouri were also excellent, and the young Virginie Verrez is promising. The comprimarios were fine. Gianandrea Noseda did a fantastic job with the score, the Met Orchestra responded phenomenally well, and the chorus was exquisite.

    So, all things considered with the production values in B+ territory and the musical values reaching for A+, it is still a recommended show.

    Below, production pictures, courtesy of the Met Press Department, authorized use, credits Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.


    Damrau


    Grigolo


    Ensemble


    Damrau and chorus


    Silva and Verrez


    Grigolo and Damrau


    Fight scene


    Tomb scene


    Petrenko


    Grigolo and Damrau
    Attached Images Attached Images                    
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 18th, 2017 at 06:26 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Now, on a more personal note: it was very sweet that tonight my beloved daughter and her husband came to the opera with me for the first time. They did enjoy the show so I hope the seed has been planted and another Gazzola will become an opera lover. Here they are, the day before at Central Park:

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 18th, 2017 at 06:22 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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