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2023-2024 Season

Roméo & Juliette

REVIEW: Roméo & Juliette TUCSON

REVIEW: Roméo & Juliette TUCSON
Das Opernglas

R. Del Bonta

Medium: Print

ENGLISH Translation

Arizona Opera's new production of Charles Gounod's Roméo & Juliette in Tucson was a real hit. The production, conceived by soprano Patricia Racette with designs by Barry Steel and costumes by Connie Furr, offered both fabulous singing and impressive visuals. Arizona Opera's LED video screen, which consists of large panels arranged in a curved arc, allowed for instant scene changes. Racette set the opera in the 1960s, inspired by the films of Federico Fellini, and the video sets started in shades of gray and magically transformed into full color. The opening tableau was a panorama of the city of Verona. An interesting video was used for Mercutio's aria from Queen Mab and later for the bedroom scene and Juliette's aria when she takes the drug that makes her appear dead: first a phantasmagoria with a flying Italian sports car, knives and an airplane, then with billowing ones Curtains and finally with pictures of the dead Tybalt, scaring poor Juliette.

Conductor Stephanie Rhodes Russell, making her debut, gave a wonderful, fast-paced performance with excellent playing from the orchestra. The entire performance featured first-class singing from the main cast. Jacqueline Echols, also making her opera debut, sang Juliette with the requisite coloratura for "Je veux vivre" and a consummate performance - she brought the house to life with her magic potion aria "Dieu! quel frisson court dans mes veines!" practically fun to play with. As Roméo, Terrence Chin-Loy offered a beautiful tenore di grazia sound and excellent French diction. He had a lot of power for the dramatic moments, and the four duets for Roméo and Juliette made it clear how well their two voices blended together, particularly beautifully in "Niot d'hyménée!", which was performed against the backdrop of a huge full moon. The singers' youth was particularly well showcased, and Racette had them act as rambunctious teenagers who only became more active in the wake of tragedy. Their death scene was incredibly moving, and the fact that they didn't quite make it hurtled in the end was a brilliant idea. The bass Matthew Anchel was a convincing Frère Laurent, a commanding presence with a ringing tone. Yazid Gray, making his debut, sang Mercutio with great confidence and physical presence. The other roles were all well sung, and the choir not only sang well, especially in the opening narrative, but also mastered Jennifer Seigle's demanding choreography perfectly.