[Met Performance] CID:283070
Roméo et Juliette {255} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/9/1986.

(Debuts: Andrew Wentzel, Sylvain Cambreling
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 9, 1986


ROMÉO ET JULIETTE {255}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Roméo...................Neil Shicoff
Juliette................Catherine Malfitano
Frère Laurent...........Paul Plishka
Stéphano................Hilda Harris
Mercutio................Brian Schexnayder
Benvolio................Anthony Laciura
Gertrude................Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Capulet.................Dimitri Kavrakos
Tybalt..................Allan Glassman
Pâris...................David Bernard
Grégorio................Norman Andersson
Duke of Verona..........Andrew Wentzel [Debut]

Conductor...............Sylvain Cambreling [Debut]

Production..............Paul-Emile Deiber
Stage Director..........Fabrizio Melano
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Milko Sparemblek

Roméo et Juliette received twenty performances this season.


Review of Bill Zakariasen in the New York Daily News


CHARLES GOUNOD'S "Romeo et Juliette" Thursday night re-entered the repertory of the Metropolitan Opera for the first time since 1974. Not surprisingly, the performing lineup was almost completely new-bass Paul Plishka's Friar Laurent was the only holdover.

French conductor Sylvain Cambreling made an auspicious Met debut. He is stylistically well-versed in Gallic tradition, his beat was exceptionally clear, he was consistently attuned to the singers without being led by them, and if he couldn't perform the miracle of making one believe "Romeo" is an earth-shaking masterpiece, Gounod's graceful melodies and theatrical acumen were allowed to make their points.

The star-cross'd lovers were for once essayed by singers almost young enough to pass for Shakespeare's teenagers-at least when viewed from a distance. Tenor Neil Shicoff's Romeo had plenty of ardent impetuosity, and he offered the finest singing he has yet given the Met. He phrased with admirable control and expressivity, the forcing that has sometimes marred his work in the past was nowhere to be heard, and at the end of Act II he interpolated a brilliant high C---a note I frankly didn't think he had.

Soprano Catherine Malfitano was no less convincing as Juliette, though on this occasion her lovely voice was too often subject to overdrive-stridency in high notes sometime resulted. By the way, for the first time in the Met's history, Juliette's third-act "Potion" aria was sung-not a terribly good piece, but one which dramatically is quite important.

In supporting parts, Plishka's Laurent was once again a rock-solid pleasure, and among newcomers, bass Dimitri Kavrakos sang an impressively resonant Capulet, mezzo Hilda Harris (who as yet hasn't got out of type-casting In trouser roles) shone nicely as the page Stephano, and Brian Schexnayder was a stalwart Mercutio though he forgot his backstage calls to Romeo at the beginning of Act II.

Allan Glassman's Tybalt was a pleasant surprise-he debuted a couple of seasons ago as an indifferent baritone, but he came back Thursday as a potent tenor of definite dramatic possibilities. The chorus sang robustly, the sets and costumes of Rolf Gerard remained impressive, and Paul Emile Deiber's staging (now supervised by Fabrizio Melano) moved with natural vigor.


Photograph of Catherine Malfitano as Juliet in Roméo et Juliet by Winnie Klotz/Metropolitan Opera.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).