This opera shares the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet but set in a civil war not just a family feud. The tragic ending is slightly different and there are fewer characters giving opportunities for wonderful duets.
Sarah-Jane Brandon was an excellent Guilietta with her outstanding soprano voice. Stephanie Marshall, mezzo soprano, was totally convincing and impressive in the demanding role of Romeo. Their duets were exquisite. Luis Gomes was a strong and moving tenor as Romeo’s rival, Tebaldo. The Buxton Festival chorus and the Northern Chamber Orchestra performed with skill and power, as always. The set worked as ballroom, chapel, military headquarters, battlefield and tomb: one large room with chandelier and formal chairs but made of wire mesh and topped with coils of barbed wire. It became increasingly battered as the story unfolded.
The whole performance was riveting. The action was fast moving and the singing and acting of a very high standard.
The music is beautiful and gets better as the opera goes on. The instrumental music in the last act is haunting and interacts wonderfully with the voices.
This is an exciting production of a well loved, moving and lyrical opera. Set in a conflict ridden era which is not defined, it feels strikingly modern. It holds the attention for every moment of the performance and is well worth seeing.
The run continues tonight (Wednesday, July 13), July 16, July 20 and July 23.