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In this version of the story, the role of Friar Lawrence is transformed into Lorenzo, simply a member of Capellio's 'family', but one who has sympathy with Romeo and Juliet's plight. Andrew Conley cut a very stylish figure and sang with a sympathetic baritone voice.

Ptolomy Christie's direction enabled the young singers to achieve strong performances. There was much detail in both the principals' and the ensemble's performance. All came together to create a strong period atmosphere. Christie seems to have calmed the production down somewhat, greatly to its benefit; I seem to remember that Act 2 of Cooke's original production had a considerable amount of running about in it.

The men of the chorus have obviously benefitted from performing the whole of the summer season together at Grange Park and have formed a fine cohesive ensemble, but one which has room for individual quirks of character.

Sergio la Stella was in charge. I could have wished that he had had rather more strings in his orchestra, but he did very well with the tools at hand. Tempi were apt and he has a nice feel for the sweep of long Bellinian melodies.

I Capuletti e I Montecchi is a relatively short opera, but in this performance it was highly charged and profoundly moving. These are definitely performers to watch.

Copyright © 12 July 2007 Robert Hugill, London UK




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