Florida Grand Opera’s highly successful 2011-2012 season closes with a French classic, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, opening on April 21, 2012. Directed by David Lefkowich, making his FGO main stage debut, this production employs innovative light projection and multi-unit sets to drive the emotion behind the timeless tale of star-crossed lovers.
Of the many operatic treatments of Shakespeare’s play, Gounod’s has been the most enduring, with its perfect depiction of the unrestrained passion of youth and the bitter tragedy visited on the rival Capulet and Montague families. Lefkowich consulted the libretto, pulling from it fire and water imagery to complement each poignant scene. Inventive projections and a three-unit set designed by Erhard Rom work in tandem to bring these visuals to life on stage. This method of creating a sense of grandeur through simplicity allows the singers and the essence of the work to truly shine.
This exciting production stars French tenor Sébastien Guèze as Roméo. Called “one of the most promising young tenors of his generation” by Opera News, Guèze made his FGO debut in David DiChiera’s Cyrano at the close of the 2010-2011 season. There, he unveiled a new aria for the role of Christian, delivering it with “a real leading man’s voice … [and] a depth and emotional edge that gave the character a redeeming integrity,” according to South Florida Classical Review.
He is joined by the beautiful Mexican soprano María Alejandres as Juliette. Alejandres got her start in 2008, when she won Plácido Domingo’s internationally acclaimed opera and zarzuela competition, Operalia. She made her FGO debut as the lead in Lucia di Lammermoor in 2010 and has since sung the role of Juliette at La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera House in London, and San Antonio Opera, showcasing what the Intermezzo opera blog called a “naturally gorgeous … [and] a big lustrous lyric soprano.”
A former FGO Young Artist, baritone Jonathan Michie returns as Mercutio. Last summer, he performed the role of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia as a member of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program. The San Francisco Chronicle described it as a "true musical and theatrical supernova … a vehicle for both vocal mastery and theatrical panache. His singing was fluid, precise and full of burnished colors, and he brought a seemingly effortless charisma to everything he did." Michie is the 2011-2012 Morgan P. and Evelyn R. Gilbert Artist and his appearance is sponsored by Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz.
Known for his thoughtful and idiomatic interpretations, Joseph Mechavich makes his FGO debut as conductor. His work in Daytona Opera’s L’elisir d’amore is described as having “wrapped the whole performance in a kind of musically magic aura that resulted in one of the very best all-round productions ever…” says Opera News. Most recently, he conducted Calgary Opera’s Moby-Dick with critical acclaim.
FGO’s Box Office is located at the Doral Center on 8390 NW 25 St., Doral, FL 33122 and is open to the public from 10am to 4pm, Mondays through Fridays during the season. Offices are closed on Fridays in the summer. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at (800) 741-1010 or online at www.FGO.org.