Directed by Shakespearean specialist Bernard Uzan, he balances the grand theatrics of an opera with a more natural, realistic setting and atmosphere.  The staging of the leads are appropriate and interesting, while the staging of the chorus members are just thrown together in clumps and not given much action.

As with most French operas, there is usually a scene that involves ballet.  In this production, the ballet portion was cut for reasons I can imagine being money, as well as making the opera a little bit shorter in length.

Sarah Joy Miller, whose singing voice is as strong as her character, tells the MD Theatre Guide on playing Juliette that “It means a great deal to me to sing this role. It’s an honor to sing this beautiful music, to be given the chance to bring my own voice to what Gounod wrote so beautifully. There’s something sacred about performing the music of a composer that is no longer living. You cannot ask them what they would like here or there, you must read carefully over and over what is in the text and the music and hope to see clearly their intention while also bringing your self to the character. It’s somewhat of a balancing act but also one of the most satisfying parts of singing opera. Juliet is an extremely satisfying character to play. She has quite a journey from young, innocent girl, to one who loves another so much she is willing to take enormous chances and ultimately sacrifice her life. Her courage is inspiring and I love getting to live her on the stage.”

The role of Juliette is complemented by charismatic American tenor Jonathan Boyd as Roméo.  Boyd is able to play with each of the notes, adding life and vigor, while showing his vocal range as it goes from low to high in a seemingly effortless manner. Together, Boyd and Miller turn up the heat on the stage, causing members of the audience to hold up their opera glasses to get a close up of these young lovers.

Other stand-out roles include versatile Mexican-American baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco as Mercutio and dynamic bass Kevin Langan as the kindly Father Laurent.

Romeo et Juliette is a fine season-closer for Lyric Opera Baltimore.  Next season is sure to be just as wonderful and exciting for opera lovers.