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Romeo et Juliette review at Grand Theatre Leeds

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Success is following success in Opera North’s season of Shakespeare inspired operas. This brand new production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette is tense, sharply defined and really quite sexy.

Bernarda Bobro as Juliette enchants and captivates. She sustains the intensity of her solos with admirable control. Her soaring, passionate soprano is complemented by the virile and often heroic tones of Leonardo Capalbo’s Romeo in their extended duets. Both singers look agreeably young enough to play these parts.   

Just when the production is seeming floor bound, Juliette steps on to a dais and the dais is raised quite high to become her bedroom. Excellent balance is another of Bobro’s skills. This becomes even more apparent when she and Capalbo are on her bed. The lovers are in white, she sporting Baz Luhrmann wings, in the monochrome and often gloomy design of Johan Engels. Much else is black and steely blue except for certain splashes of colour. Mercutio is allowed a heavy red coat and Stephano spray paints in red. Frere Laurent marries the lovers on the dais, which has been lowered and covered with lime green, knee high grass.

The fighting scene is thrillingly staged in a walled thoroughfare with a wide expanse of white where there should be sky. That expanse is gradually reduced in height as the bodies are taken away.

Peter Savidge as Juliette’s father makes a strong contribution. An interesting characterisation has Juliette’s nurse, here played by Yvonne Howard, as a voluptuous, eye-winking type who could pull a decent pint.

The Opera North chorus reacts impressively to the drama and the company’s orchestra sets an inspiring emotional tone.

Production Information

Grand Theatre, Leeds, May 17, 20, 23 then touring until June 20

Composer
Charles Gournod
Director
John Fulljames
Producer
Opera North
Cast includes
Bernarda Bobro, Leonardo Capalbo, Peter Savidge, Stephan Loges, Peter Wedd, Nicholas Sharratt
Running time
3hrs

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