Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Looking forward to Gounod's Romeo et Juliette with Cast Discussion

The San Diego Opera is staging Gounod's Romeo et Juliette at the Civic Theater this month with the first performance on this coming Saturday night (I've bought my ticket, of course, woe to you if you haven't!!!). It's customary for this company to put up a roughly hour long roundtable artists discussion the week before the show and putting the video of it on Youtube.

I always check it out, though find some of them a bit slow-going (especially when the foreign cast members have hard to decipher accent). This production of Romeo et Juliette has an almost all American cast, though (the exception being beautiful Sarah Castle returning to do another trouser role, Stephano), and the program is really quite informative and entertaining.

Added later:
Well, I went to the first performance of the run and must say that this is a show worth paying to see live. My full review of the performance is posted at AssociatedContent. Bravi to most of the cast and crew for putting on a good show.

One thing that quite bugged me, though, is Stephen Costello, the Romeo who is well endowed with a beautiful voice, secure technical control, and even a very handsome stage presence, but who also seems rather overly addicted to the sound of his own voice. I'm no prude when a tenor in good voice decides to milk one or two high notes during a 3 1/4 hrs opera. But this guy did it no less than 6 times even when he was sharing a scene with his co-stars. That, my friend, is decidedly unneighborly to your colleagues and infuriatingly intellectually insulting to many fans who don't consider ourselves brainless suckers to tenor high notes. This is San Diego, California, not La Scala in the mid 50's.

If you think I am being harsh, have a watch at this cast discussion clip and note how this is not an isolated incidence. One can make a silly faux pas like this and joke about it if one only does it once... but not when one keeps on steamrolling other singers who are trying to help create a good dramatic opera performance. At least the first mistake was unintentional. The second was really childish and inexcusable. One of these days those high notes won't come as easily as they do now... then what?

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