Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Opera gala time: Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra under Eduard Topchjan

The Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, performing at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, under the baton and artistic direction of Maestro Eduard Topchjan, never ceases to impress its summer audiences with the exceptionally entertaining and high-quality performances given. Featuring baritone David Babayants, soprano Ani Yorentz, tenor Liparit Avetisyan, soprano Hasmik Torosyan, bass Vazgen Gazaryan, and baritone Gianpiero Ruggeri, the Opera Gala produced an unforgettable effect upon the audience.
The program included selections from Leoncavallo, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Mascagni, Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti.

The spectacular gala opened with Gianpiero Ruggeri’s stunning performanc of Si puo? Si puo? Signore! Signori!, Tonio’s prologue from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Not only was the actual content of Tonio’s Prologue an ideal stage-warming number, it also manifested Ruggeri’s intriguing acting and smooth vocal production.

Next on the program was Ani Yorentz…

The Last Judgement: Verdi's Masterful Requiem and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

On September 14, 2017, the Armenian National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet after A. Spendiarian performed Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem, but with a visual twist of murals from the Sistine Chapel, done by Michelangelo. The pictures were projected by "innovative technologies of the future" which allowed to create a "three-dimensional reproduction of the images of Michelangelo's masterpieces". Conducted by San Francisco-born conductor Konstantin Orbelyan Jr. (nephew of the famous Armenian conductor Konstantin Orbelyan), soloists soprano Marine Deinyan, guest mezzo-soprano from the USA Eleni Matos, bass Hayk Tigranyan, and tenor Sargis Aghamalyan performed Verdi's Requiem in this new realization of the stunning centerpiece of classical music. The visual effects were created by Italian stage and visual director Paolo Micciche. In Micciche's own words, "[t]he music of Verdi's Requiem has the same dramaturgy and rhythm as the great frescos by M…

Pianist Hrant Bagrazyan in Concert: In Memory of Professor Igor Yavryan

On July 19, accomplished classical pianist Hrant Bagrazyan gave a summer piano recital at the beautiful venue of the Komitas Museum-Institute, a "museum in Yerevan, Armenia, devoted to the renowned Armenian musicologist and composer Komitas", in memory of Professor Igor Yavryan, who passed away earlier this summer on June 16. Professor Yavryan was Bagrazyan's teacher and mentor.

"He helped me love and appreciate classical music and shaped me as a musician", wrote Bagrazyan. "Without him I wouldn't become a pianist."

The house was completely full, even with the necessity of adding several extra chairs to the rows in order to fit everyone who showed up for the performance. This is not surprising considering the high quality of the performance given.

The stunning program consisted of Komitas'  Six Dances, Johannes Brahms' Sonata No. 3 Op. 5 in f minor, Arno Babajanian's Six Pictures, and Maurice Ravel's Reflections. 

Komitas wrote th…