Susanne and I went to the opera last night - plenty of drama before the curtain rose, but all ended well, with a little help from friends, neighbours and cleaning ladies!
Opera Ireland's production of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette was sold out most of the nights of its short run, I think. We got seats in the Grand Circle, about 4th row and bang in the centre. Great seats, though you don't want to suffer from vertigo. And not recommended for anybody with long legs - even Susanne and I, who are not extremely tall, suffered from the lack of legroom. But a great view and the voices carried perfectly.
And a great spot to admire the Gaiety Theatre's wondeful chandelier.
It was a "victorian" production, apparently - all the costumes were victorian all right, apart from the last act (in which, very strangely, Roméo is wearing a hoodie, and Juliette a little cotton slip). The Irish Times had described it as "gothic" - although they define gothic as Tim Burtonesque. The set was dark, with peeling wallpaper and a big chest that was used for all sorts of purposes, including balcony and Juliette's bedroom - with a mini-bed. I found that chest a bit clumsy. One of the reviewers on The View complained about the fact that the curtains had to come down every time it had to be moved, turned, opened and closed. I agree - compare that to the production of Rigoletto of a good few years ago, where a swooshing curtain was enough to take you from the dark street into Rigoletto's home - light and breezy and imaginative.
And Roméo was too fat - sorry Michael Spyres! He did have perfect French diction, though, and sang and moved nicely, except when he was wearing that hideous hoodie.
You must think I hated it - far from it. I really enjoyed it.
Nathalie Manfrino sang Juliette very nicely - a powerful voice. And from a distance, I think she did look young enough to play 16-year-old Juliette.
The music and singing was of a high standard - Marcel Vanaud sang a convincing Count Capulet, with perfect diction too (but then again, being Belgian, that shouldn't be too hard for him!). The lighting was good, and added to the dark atmosphere.
Photos and comments on Opera Ireland's Facebook page.