Gounod Romeo Et Juliette Analysis Essay

Ms. Damrau and Mr. Grigolo were especially inspired during the four duets that form the dramatic crux of Gounod’s opera. During the balcony scene duet (“O nuit divine”), they shifted subtly between passages of tremulous romantic abandon and affecting melodic intimacy.

Though this is Gounod’s finest opera, a more sophisticated score than “Faust,” the music can still seem a little precious and cloying, even during the crucial love duet on the couple’s only night of wedded bliss. But Ms. Damrau and Mr. Grigolo infused it with a winning combination of emotional nakedness and vocal refinement that brought out the subtleties and depths of the music. Their efforts were aided all night by the nuanced, richly textured and vibrant conducting of the always impressive Gianandrea Noseda.

Mr. Sher must have been a little emotionally torn on this occasion. The same day his “Roméo et Juliette” opened at the Met, his revelatory production of “Fiddler on the Roof” had its final performance on Broadway.

The “Roméo,” a production of La Scala in Milan, was initially presented at the Salzburg Festival in 2008. It’s not Mr. Sher’s best work. The stage is dominated by a single set (designed by Michael Yeargan) to suggest the imposing, three-tiered outer walls of a Veronese palazzo. During the prologue, after the teeming orchestra depicts the longstanding animosities between the Capulet and Montague families, an assembled throng (the great Met choristers) sings the grave chorus summarizing the tragedy about to occur. Mr. Sher opts for the obvious: The choristers sit and stand with faces forward, stern and motionless, as they intone the music.

From then on, slightly abstract, sometimes surreal touches are added to this realistic backdrop. The Capulets’ masked ball becomes a madcap affair. Attendees appear in costumes (by Catherine Zuber) with garish colors and extravagant headpieces. An enormous white sheet serves as an all-purpose symbol, first unfurled as a canopy over a crowd scene, then turned into a covering atop a platform to suggest the bed the secretly married lovers share, then becoming the suffocating bridal veil Juliette must wear to her forced marriage with Pâris, which never takes place.

The minimal use of props allows for fluid scene changes, and the symbolic white sheet creates some dramatic stage images. Still, it might have been better to push the concept more toward the abstract. Those looming walls in the background dominate everything. And the set winds up looking like something old fashioned, both monumental and a little dusty.

The crowd scenes are inventively handled, however, especially the street brawl in front when Tybalt (Diego Silva, an appealing young tenor in his Met debut) gets into a sword fight with Roméo’s hotheaded friend Mercutio (the dynamic baritone Elliot Madore), and Roméo intervenes. The encounters were executed with Errol Flynn flair, thanks to the work of the fight director B. H. Barry.

The acting of the entire cast complemented the consistently strong singing. The bass-baritone Laurent Naouri combined sure French style with an appropriate touch of stuffiness as Capulet, a family head mired in pointless grudges against the Montague clan. The formidable bass Mikhail Petrenko conveyed the hearty good will of Frère Laurent, the friar who also subscribes to dangerous potions. The mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez brought youthful sass and a bright voice to the male role of Stéphano, Roméo’s page, who is like a sidekick. Diana Montague as Gertrude, the nurse to Juliette, and David Crawford as Pâris were other standouts.

But the evening belonged to Ms. Damrau and Mr. Grigolo, who during the long ovation at the end joined their strong voices to shout out “Happy New Year” to the audience. They remain in the cast only through this month.

What lies ahead for them at the Met? I’m sure Peter Gelb is already on the case.

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schema:about ; # Operas--Vocal scores with piano
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schema:contributor ; # Jules Barbier
schema:contributor ; # William James Henderson
schema:contributor ; # William Shakespeare
schema:contributor ; # Michel Carré
schema:contributor ; # Theodore Baker
schema:copyrightYear "1925" ;
schema:creator ; # Charles Gounod
schema:datePublished "1925" ;
schema:description "Act II. Mysterieux et sombre -- L'amour, oui, son ardeur a trouble -- Helas! moi le hair!" ;
schema:description "Ballet. O Juliette, sois heureuse! -- Ma fille, cede aux voeux." ;
schema:description "Act I. L'heure s'envole -- Mab, la reine des mensonges -- Je veux vivre dans le reve -- Ange adorable -- Quelqu'un! C'est mon cousin." ;
schema:description "Act IV. Va! je t'ai pardonne -- Juliette! ah! le ciel soit loue! -- Mon pere! tout m'accable! -- Die! quel frisson!" ;
schema:description "Act III. Mon pere, dieu vous garde! -- Dieu, qui fis l'hommer a ton image -- Depuis hier je cherche en vain mon maitre -- Ah! ah! voici nos gens!" ;
schema:description "Overture-prologue. Verone vit jadis deux familles rivales." ;
schema:description "Act V. Entr'acte -- Eh bien! ma lettre a Romeo? -- Juliet's slumber -- C'est la! Saluet! tombeau!" ;
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