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Houston Voice, April 29, 2005
File 015
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Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 015. 2005-04-29. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 17, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2994.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2005-04-29). Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 015. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2994

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 015, 2005-04-29, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 17, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2994.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, April 29, 2005
Contributor
  • Crain, Chris
  • Fisher, Binnie
Publisher Window Media
Date April 29, 2005
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 015
Transcript M APRIL 29,2005 www.houstonvoice.com HOUSTON VOICE opera rich arenschieldt A lyric delight OPENING HOUSTON GRAND OPERA'S much-touted 50th anniversary season's spring repertory is Gounod's rendition of Shakespeare's much adapted "Romeo and Juliet." This offering is a reinvigorated remount of a previous, somewhat sluggish production presented eight years ago. This time HGO gets it right on all counts. Gounod's classic, second only in popularity to his "Faust," is one of the two compositions that cemented his music firmly into the worldwide operatic repertoire. The work has its shortcomings in that sometimes the action doesn't come fast enough, but it also contains some splendid opportunities, each of which this cast, designer and director take complete advantage. Making their role debuts as the doomed lovers are HGO Studio alumna Ana Maria Martinez and the reigning king of the lyric tenor repertoire, Ramon Vargas. With four significant duets throughout the opera, audiences hear a lot of music from these two. This continuous musical dialogue sustains the production. French conductor Emmanuel Joel, a maestro with every single major French opera under his belt, leads the ensemble in an interpretation guided by subtlety and understatement. Neither Martinez nor Vargas possesses a particularly huge voice, and this offering benefits from a continuous "triolike" performance, equally balanced between tenor, soprano, and orchestra. No contests among singers or orchestra are evident here. Each vocal line is gently respected and perfectly shaped to fit within a completely lyric framework. As one would expect, there are moments of great passion, but the finesse with which these characters communicate is never obscured by overblown emotionalism. Other singers in this work play minimal roles but among these, American baritone Daniel Belcher shines dramatically and vocally as Romeo's ill-fated friend Mercutio who, before bleeding like a stuck pig, offers a delightful version of the vocally challenging "Queen Mab" aria. DirectoriaUy, the same evenhanded- ness is evident on stage. One of the dangers of the genre is that sometimes, the pace of mid 19th century theatrics tend to somnificate 21st century audiences. LIKE AN ART FILM, GOUNOD OFFERS us plot and action at a relaxed pace. This production gets "jacked" as the result of a redo from German director Christian Rath, whose work was last seen here in ft MORE INFO Romeo and Juliet' Houston Grand Opera Through May 8 Wortham Center 550 Prairie St. 713-228-0PERA www.houstongrandopera.org Romeo and Juliet (Ramon Vargas and Ana Maria Martinez) are married by Friar Lawrence (Nikolay Didenko). (Photo by Brett Coomer) the visceral staging of Benjamin Britten's nearly homo-erotic "Billy Budd." Rath used the spartan but cool mausoleum-inspired set designed by Bruno Schengle to its full advantage. Guys in euro-trash inspired costumes gallop around the stage fighting and carousing just as you'd expect young roguish renaissance nobility to do. Additionally, there are also some poignant moments — Romeo bestows a tender kiss upon Juliet's shoulder during an aria - a small motion that speaks volumes. The chorus and principals are always in motion but not in a manner that draws inordinate attention. Fight scenes staged by Brian Byrnes possess realism usually not seen in most productions, especially in those with more "well rounded" casts. This cast is nimble, and the suspense they initiate reinforces the veracity of the feudal family feud. The dichotomy of love and hatred is omnipresent in this production. The passion and adoration that Romeo and Juliet possess is sharply contrasted by the mistrust and contempt experienced by their respective families, the Capulets and The Montagues. The stage is often split in two depicting the irreconcilable chasm existing between these two clans. Life and death are represented by two fates who serve as superfluous distractions to an otherwise well-conceived visual presentation. French composer Camille Saint-Saens - also known for setting another famous pair to music with his opera "Samson and Delilah" - wrote of his elder, Gounod: "His aim was to achieve the maximum effect with the minimum of apparent effort." In this "Romeo and Juliet," HGO's combined forces have accomplished that precise effect - a great blend of musical lyricism and dramatic action.
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