Romeo et Juliette (from The Royal Opera House) 2010
Distributed by Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by Produced by Nicolas Joël
Directed by Directed by Brian Large
DVD, color, 88 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers
Date Entered: 03/10/2011
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Gerald Notaro, University Librarian, Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
Both opera and Shakespeare need great companies to produce great productions. Luckily we still have The Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) production of Romeo et Juliette to enjoy on DVD. Originally filmed in 1994, this is not a new release. And unfortunately, though the cover reads French with English subtitles, there are none. But everything about the production, filming, sound, acting performances, and conducting by Sir Charles Mackerras are all world class. Only the stagy movements such as paced walking like a bride down an aisle or groups moving as from clicks from Mother Superior seem Old World and weigh down an otherwise contemporary style. The DVD’s soundtrack is very good two channel stereo, though listening in Pro Logic increases the hall sonics and spacing well. The acting and singing from both Roberto Alagna as Romeo and Leontina Vaduva as Juliette is glorious, sweet, and believable. The leads of Gounod’s opera need not be the youths Shakespeare penned; they need only fresh and clear tone to portray proper innocence. The sets put the grand in Grand Opera, and are surprisingly well integrated, especially the lowered balcony that services the drama better than the traditional taller one. This Romeo et Juliette serves as an essential title representing the opera, or just as easily, an additional performance in any collection.