* Notes *
Los Angeles Opera's last performance of the year was the matinée of Roméo et Juliette today. The production, directed Ian Judge, ran smoothly. John Gunter's tiered set elegantly framed the space and moved easily. At times the transparency of this set did not serve to create much of an illusion, as we could easily discern entrances and exits of the principal singers. Tim Goodchild's lavish costumes seemed to be of the period that the opera was composed, could have easily been for La Traviata or La bohème.
The orchestra, under Plácido Domingo, had more lovely, fleet moments than muddy, sluggish ones. The brass was not always clear. Though not always perfectly with the orchestra, the chorus did sound pretty.
Renée Rapier made a charming LA Opera debut as Stéphano, sounding light and boyish. Vitalij Kowaljow's warm, rich voice served him well as Frere Laurent. Nino Machaidze (Juliette) made a convincing case for love at first sight. Her "Je veux vivre" was a bit harsh, though she has a pretty darkness to her voice and she never sounds strained. Vittorio Grigolo gave a rather physical performance as Roméo. His acting was exaggerated, but could be amusing when appropriate. His voice is pretty and strong throughout his range, from top to bottom.
* Tattling *
As usual, watch alarms and hearing aids were heard during the music. It sounded like something in Row O of the orchestra level was being deflated for most of the second entr'acte.