March is a fatally romantic month at the San Diego Opera, which kicked off its first performance of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette since 1998.
Using the beautiful traditional set and costumes from Utah Opera, Cynthia Stokes had a good company debut as stage director, as her well-rehearsed cast and stage crew moved the show like a well-oiled machine. The real life married couple Stephen Costello (Romeo) and Ailyn Perez (Juliet) exuded onstage chemistry and elicited some swooning with their pleasant voices.
I object to Costello's choppy phrasing and his habit of holding his high notes indecently long, but his acting nearly made up for it. Ailyn Perez is a beautiful singing actress to watch, though with iffy dynamics control.
Also scoring good impressions were David Adam Moore's Mercutio and Sarah Castle's delightfully boyish Stephano. Joel Sorensen was fine if a bit tentative as Tybalt. I love Susanna Guzman's versatile acting as Gertrude, though not her quaky voice.
Karen Keltner and the San Diego Symphony were in full French sound by the start of Juliet's Waltz and went uphill from there.
- Concert: Gounod's Romeo et Juliette
- Show date: March 13
- Venue: San Diego Civic Theater
- Seats: Orchestra U18