Tacoma Opera’s final performance for the 2014-15 Season will be Charles Gounod’s achingly romantic and classic tale of star-crossed lovers, Roméo et Juliette, sung in French with supertitles projected above the stage. Performances are at Tacoma’s historic Pantages Theater on Friday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 12, at 2:00 p.m. There will be a free, pre-show lecture one hour before each performance. Tickets start at $29 and are on sale now.
Based on William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, the French operaRoméo et Juliette, premiered at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris in 1867, with libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. This was the same team that eight years earlier produced Gounod’s Faust to great acclaim. The new romantic tragedy, brimming with memorable duets and arias, was quickly proclaimed a major success for Gounod.
EMMY®-nominated Tenor Marco Panuccio makes his Tacoma Opera debut in the role of Roméo. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, this young tenor is much in demand as an exponent of the romantic repertoire. He appeared recently as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon at Opera Portland, and later as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut for Opera Grand Rapids, and as Manrico in Portland SummerFest’s production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Equally in demand as a concert soloist, Mr. Panuccio has appeared in the Puccini Gala with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Beijing Symphony, and was recently the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among many other engagements.
Soprano Ksenia Popova returns to Tacoma Opera to play the role of Juliette. Ms. Popova, a former Tacoma Opera Young Artist, recently received critical praise for her portrayal of Josephine in Tacoma Opera’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore.
Tacoma native and frequent Tacoma Opera guest performer, bass-baritone Benjamin Harris is Frère Laurent, a more sympathetic character than in his previous appearance as Dick Deadeye, which he portrayed in H.M.S. Pinafore. Another frequent Tacoma Opera performer and former Young Artist, baritone Ryan Bede, returns to Tacoma Opera in the role of Romeo’s friend Mercutio. He was last seen as Papageno in The Magic Flute. Two young singers will be making their Tacoma Opera debuts: mezzo-soprano Sheila Houlahan as Romeo’s page Stephano, and tenor Tim Janecke in the role of Tybalt, Lady Capulet’s nephew and the principal troublemaker who propels the plot to its heartbreaking conclusion.
Guest Conductor Keith Clark returns to lead this production musically. Maestro Clark last conducted Verdi’s La Traviata at Tacoma Opera in 2013. He is the founder of Portland’s annual SummerFest Opera and is currently the Artistic Director of the Astoria Music Festival. He is also the winner of the 2010 American Prize in Opera Conducting and has recorded with the London Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, Korean Symphony and other international ensembles.
After a great reception for the Salish-influenced production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute this past fall, General Director Noel Koran will return as stage director forRoméo et Juliette.
Tickets for Roméo et Juliette on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. and April 12 at 2:00 p.m. start at $29 and can be purchased by calling the Broadway Center Box Office at 253.591.5894 or at BroadwayCenter.org.