Sunday, September 10, 2023

ROMÉO & JULIETTE - Arizona Opera - March 2-10, 2004

Composer: Charles Gounod | Libretto by Jules Barbier & Michel Carré 

Phoenix: March 2-3, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: March 9-10, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall

Gounod's romantic and rapturous music sets the stage for this tale of star-crossed lovers, based on Shakespeare’s timeless play about the power of love, set amidst the feuding of the Montague and Capulet families in Verona.
Roméo Montague and his friend Mercutio don masks to sneak into the Capulet’s ball, where Juliette Capulet has been presented to the party guests. Roméo falls instantly in love with Juliette, who fervently loves him back despite being pledged to marry Count Parîs. Juliette’s cousin Tybalt recognizes Roméo as he shares a tender moment with Juliette but is prevented from attacking as Roméo and his friends flee.

Roméo and Juliette affirm their forever love in the iconic balcony scene. Outside the Capulet palace, Roméo breaks up a fight between Mercutio and Tybalt, asking him to forgive the feud between families. With nothing but scorn, Tybalt kills Mercutio and Roméo stabs Tybalt. Knowing their families will never get along, Roméo and Juliette plan to fake their deaths in a desperate attempt to be together, culminating in an ending for these lovers that is as tragic as it is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Playing the role of Juliette are sopranos Jacqueline Echols (Mar. 2, 9, & 10) and Caitlin Gotimer (Mar. 3).

Echols, who has been praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice) in theaters across the United States. This past season, Echols’ appearances have included Julie at Los Angeles Opera in the new work, Omar; Clara in Porgy and Bess in her debut with Des Moines Metro
Opera - a role which she has also performed recently at Metropolitan Opera; her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert, and her return to Cincinnati Opera for a special performance alongside Morris Robinson in Morris and Friends; and Juliette in Roméo & Juliette with Opera San Antonio.

Praised for her "full, focused soprano," Gotimer, originally from Malverne, NY, is an alumna of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. Most recently seen on Arizona Opera’s stage in the title role of last season’s Tosca, Gotimer’s previous performances with the company include Micaela in Bizet's Carmen, Mrs. Anderssen in Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte. Gotimer performed a variety of scenes and arias during Arizona Opera's Reimagined 2020/21 Season, including highlights from Madame Butterfly, La Rondine, and Pagliacci.

Playing the role of Roméo are tenors Mario Chang (Mar. 2, 9, & 10) and Terrence Chin-Loy
(Mar 3).

Named “a born bel canto tenor” by The New York Times, Chang’s 2022/23 Season saw his debut with Hong Kong Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata, as well as debuts at Ópera de Oviedo as the title role in Ernani and his role debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca with Teatro de la Maestranza. The Guatemalan tenor’s additional engagements included Verdi’s Requiem with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl - conducted by music director Gustavo Dudamel, along with the South Florida Master Chorale. Chang was a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at Metropolitan Opera and holds an Advanced Diploma in Opera Studies program at The Juilliard School.
Chin-Loy returns to Arizona Opera to play the role of for his second assignment in the 2023/24 Season, having opened the year as Victor in the company’s world premiere of Frankenstein. Chin-Loy's “beautiful lyric tenor voice” (Opera News) pairs passionate performance with a full, sweet sound. In the 2020/21 Season, Chin-Loy sang a series of concerts with Arizona Opera as a Resident Artist of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. Chin-Loy opened the 2021/22 Season in his solo debut at Metropolitan Opera in Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones. He returned to Arizona Opera for his second and final season as a Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio artist where he performed Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. In the 2022/23 Season, Chin-Loy's roles included Tamino in The Magic Flute with the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan as well as at Arizona Opera.

Conducting Roméo & Juliette is Stephanie Rhodes Russell. Rhodes Russell is an alum of the Dallas Opera’s Institute for Women Conductors, the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program. Rhodes Russell was a Conducting Fellow with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra from 2019-2021, where she appeared regularly with the ensemble leading education, family, and community concerts while serving as Cover Conductor for the symphonic subscription series. Rhodes
Russell’s 2022/23 Season included company debuts with Austin Opera (The Barber of Seville) and Utah Opera (La fille du régiment), as well as a return to Madison Opera (The Marriage of Figaro). During the summer of 2023, Rhodes Russell makes her Cincinnati Opera debut conducting performances of The Knock.

Patricia Racette will serve as Stage Director for Roméo & Juliette. One of our generation’s most celebrated sopranos, Racette returns to Arizona Opera following her debut last season on stage as Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Racette has appeared in the most acclaimed opera houses of the world including Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Royal Opera House, La Scala, Paris Opera, Theater an der Wien, Gran Teatro del Liceu, and the Bayerische Staatsoper. Established as a great interpreter of Janáček and Puccini, Racette has gained particular acclaim for her portrayals of the title roles of Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Jenůfa, Kátya Kabanová, and all three lead soprano roles in Il Trittico, among others. She made her directorial debut with a new production of La Traviata at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the summer of 2018. Racette planned to direct Susannah at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and a production of La voix humaine starring herself at the Dallas Opera in the spring of 2020, but they were unfortunately cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

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