Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity: Romeo and Juliet at Pocket Opera

Sunday 2:00 p.m. Florence Gould Theatre. The performance has not yet begun. People are gathering, and the ones already here are chattering with friends and neighbors. The lights slowly dim and the audience goes quiet.

3:15 p.m. The first part was enjoyable. I only had a problem with them all singing too loudly. Or maybe the auditorium is small. I don't know. Lindsay Roush's (Juliet) high notes were louder than the rest of them.  J. Raymond Meyers' (Romeo) high notes were also very loud. I suspect that this was because the hall itself was very small. Overall, I did not feel that attachment to the stage that one sitting in the audience should possess. At some points, I must admit, I felt a bit bored; other times it was too loud to fall asleep. I have high hopes for the second half of the performance. We'll see how it will be. 

5:19 p.m. The opera itself is fascinating. I loved the last scene, where Romeo and Juliet die together. I felt as if the singers became rather tired to the end, and wanted to end the performance sooner. Other than that, I enjoyed it. Not the best performance I have heard before, but it was entertaining. 

The cast included Lindsay Roush (she was Aline in Lamplight Theatre's Gilbert & Sullivan's The Sorcerer) as Juliet, J. Raymond Meyers as Romeo, Samuel Rabinowitz (Giovanni in Pocket Opera's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni) as Mercutio, Samuel Palmer as Benvolio, Johnathon Hansen as Tybalt, and Cliff Romig (Leporello from Pocket Opera's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni) as Friar Lawrence.

The storyline of Charles Gounod's opera follows William Shakespeare's play up until the point where Juliet is asleep and Romeo finds her. Shakespeare separated the two star-crossed lovers even at their deathbed, while Gounod allowed them to die together. This made the opera even more dramatic than the play, causing the audience to shed tears over the couple's misfortunes followed by a series of unfortunate events. 

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
Whose misadventures piteous overthrows 
Doth with their death bury their parent's strife;
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. 

Written by: Rubina Mazurka


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