Roméo et Juliette can be described in two words: beautifully tragic. Staying true to Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliet, director Paul Curran took the audience on an extraordinary journey with his cast of the UMSMTD University Opera Theatre students. And the University Symphony Orchestra led by conductor and music director Martin Katz certainly did not disappoint!
I have never been to an opera before so I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew going into it is that operas are extremely long and I’ve heard many stories of people falling asleep during them! But that was not the case with Roméo et Juliette. Sure, the opera was five acts with two intermissions, but the cast kept the show moving right along. The audience was captivated by the French singing (subtitles in English), the elaborate costumes, and the incredible set.
I honestly have nothing negative to say about the leading couple. Juliette (played by Janel Speelman on 11/10 and 11/12, and Kara Mulder on 11/11 and 11/13) not only looked stunning, but her voice was stunning as well. And Romeo (played by Tom Cilluffo on 11/10 and 11/12, and Darius Gillard on 11/11 and 11/13) was as charming and handsome as ever. These two were hard not to fall in love with. The talent between these two leads was out of this world.
Not only were the characters of Romeo and Juliette wonderful, but the whole cast truly did not disappoint. Juliette’s nurse, Gertrude (played by Helen Hass on 11/10 and 11/12, and Olivia Johnson on 11/11 and 11/13), helped Juliette run into the arms of her loved one. Friar Lawrence (played by David Weigel on 11/10 and 11/12, and Samuel Kidd on 11/11 and 11/13) was loveable in every way. His emotions were captured perfectly throughout the whole show. Stephano (played by Isabel Signoret on 11/10 and 11/12, and Blair Whiteside 11/11 and 11/13) may have gotten the biggest applause after her solo that opened up Act III, scene 2. And Mercutio (played by Yazid Pierce-Gray on 11/10 and 11/12, and John Daugherty on 11/11 and 11/13) found any humorous moment that he could and soaked it in, leaving the audience in lengths of laughter. As I said before, the whole cast was truly phenomenal.
The show of Roméo et Juliette runs on November 10 at 7:30pm, November 11 and 12 at 8:00pm, and November 13 at 2pm in the Power Center. Student tickets are $12 each (or FREE with a passport voucher!) and general tickets are $22-$28.