Roméo et Juliette 2008

I watched TFO’s broadcast of a live performance of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, from a 2008 Salzburg production.

There was a bit of drama backstage, with Anna Netrebko’s cancellation, replaced by the unknown Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze.  Machaidze was only 25 at the time, with a hectic month to prepare.

Nino Machaidze

Georgian Soprano Nino Machaidze

She’s not as dark of voice as Netrebko, which is likely a good thing in this role, making her a very convincing Juliette (considering that the role is supposed to be a teenager).  She was much more than a pretty face, though, giving me the best Juliette i’ve ever seen.

She appeared opposite a surprisingly lyrical Rollando Villazon, sounding mostly excellent.  Yes, he did go off a bit in his big aria (flat on two of its three B-flats), but he got better as he went on.  There seemed to be a gentle romantic chemistry, a sexual tension between the two.  Even in close-up, their energies never dropped, the genuine passion kept me involved to the end.

Russell Braun? I’ve posted his Queen Mab aria before on this blog, a performance of wonderful intensity.  

I admire Braun’s approach.  His voice matches this rep very well.

At the controls, Yannick Nezet-Seguin gave us a reading of dignity and weight where required, the festival orchestra sounding wonderful throughout.

The production is available on DVD and Blue-Ray.

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