The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0214  Tuesday, 2 February 2005

From:           Louis W. Thompson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2005 17:15:09 EST
Subject: 16.0189 Romeo and ... what's her name
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0189 Romeo and ... what's her name

I was in the audience for this performance, the opening night of
Gounod's Romeo and Juliet with Anna Netrebko, the young, beautiful
Russian soprano as Juliet, and Rolando Villazon, the beautiful, young
Mexican tenor as Romeo.

Gounod's Romeo and Juliet is a trashy piece composed for French
socialites, and it is unusual to see it done with two great singers who
actually look the parts.  I saw it with a 300-pound Juliet a few years
ago and it is something I will never forget.

My guess is that Shakespeare would be appalled at Gounod's take on his

The Los Angeles Times review, quoted here, heaps praise on Villazon's
Romeo. I found it to be a grandstanding performance. Rolando Villazon is
a wonderful singer with a light tenor voice, but watching him prance
around the stage, seeing the awful direction, gazing at the industrial
sets....Shakespeare must have been composing, at that moment, yet
another angry note to Mr. Gounod's quarters in Hell.

However....when Anna Netrebko settled down and wrapped her gorgeous
voice around the opera's cheesy tunes, I'll bet Shakespeare tore up the

To say that Miss Netrebko is physically beautiful understates the case.
She is the dream Juliet and...yes...quite an actress. Her Juliet was
sensual, understated, non-operatic and entirely beyond the workaday
sensibilities of a newspaper critic.

For about an hour and a half, everything was all right.

Louis W. Thompson

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