Justin Hopkins as Lorenzo, Sarah Heltzel as Romeo (Photo: Kinjo Yonemoto)
Camille Zamora‘s Giulietta is one of most well-acted and gorgeously sung roles of the season. Will we ever forget her stunning Anna Bolena from Donizetti’s masterpiece last season? Ms. Zamora’s colorful and powerful instrument soars to the heavens as she takes us on the final journey of this tragic tale emblematic of young lovers and doomed love. Her expressive acting is the stuff legends are made of. Ms. Zamora boldly and confidently takes us into the many a capella moments of the score and delivers us safely back to Bellini’s magnificent orchestrations with the exquisite blessing of a perfect ear and perfect pitch.
Mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel is absolutely stunning as Romeo. Her robust tones strike the perfect balance of power and subtlety. The gorgeous Ms. Heltzel makes quite a handsome and beguiling Romeo and her acting is so convincing and authoritative that we believe without a shadow of a doubt that she is Romeo.
Lázaro Calderón‘s Tebaldo is strong and bright, fueled by a lovely tenor instrument that is pure and meritorious.
Daymon Passmore as Capellio seems rather bored here yet comes through with a strong basso.
The charismatic Justin Hopkins stands out considerably as Lorenzo and his resonant and jubilant baritone-basso reverberates with expression and confidence to the last row of the balcony of Lambert Hall. I can state with assurance that we are anxious to hear much more of Mr. Hopkins’ glorious baritone-bass instrument in the near future.
The profoundly stirring mens chorus takes center stage here, with Bellini’s rousing choruses being brilliantly and buoyantly executed under the expert guidance of Chorus Master C. Vincent Fuller, Jr. Patricia Bernstein and Traci Davis stand out as ladies in waiting, the only women in the chorus.
Maestro Enrique Carreón-Robledo is always an absolute joy to watch as he brilliantly conducts an orchestra that is unparalleled in its expert musicianship. Individual musicians stand out as they provide enchanting solos in Bellini’s intriguing score: Patricia Card, clarinet;Debra Rathke, horn; and Scott Card, violincello.
Scenic designer Rachel Smith creates a beautiful predominately wooden set with two arched double doorways upstage with a balcony between them and a hand-painted icon beneath the balcony. Simple set pieces are moved on and off and strike the perfect balance.
Costume designer Dena Scheh creates ravishing and gorgeous highly detailed costumes in a multitude of fabrics and textures.
Lighting design by Kevin Taylor perfectly captures the mood and intrigue of one of the greatest family feuds and love stories of all times.
The Ruby Cast I have reviewed here plays two more performances, Thursday, November 15, 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.
The Emerald Cast, with Julia Ebner as Giulietta and Brandy Lynn Hawkins as Romeo, plays Friday, November 16, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 18, 2:00 p.m.
I believe that you will be as mesmerized as I was with this glorious production of this rarely produced Bel-Canto masterpiece.
For tickets, please click on: http://operaintheheights.org/