This ROH production of 1994 succeeds on a number of levels: costumes,sets,supporting cast,excellent orchestration and conducting from Sir Charles Mackerras, and, not least, its two leading stars Roberto Alagna and Leontina Vaduva.
How refreshing to have a Romeo and Juliette who actually look youthful and can be believable portraying the the tremulousness and naievety of first love. Roberto Alagna,early in his career, is in magnificent voice-clear,soaring up into the gods,his Romeo believable,shy,vulnerable and innocent.As Juliette, Leontina Vaduva finds the purity of the teenage girl who has fallen so headlong in love with Romeo.Her voice is perfection as she moves effortlessly through the intricacies of 'Je veux vivre' to the rapturous responses to Romeo's 'Ange adorable'.
The lovers tentative touching of hands and mutual shock at their instant attraction ends with the briefest of brushes of mouth on mouth,a kiss which scares them as much as it seals their fate. A gorgeously lit balcony scene is the backdrop to Romeo's 'Ah!leve-toi soleil' sung beautifully by Alagna. The wedding night scene is both poignant and VERY VERY sensuous....who would not want such a Romeo?
I challenge you to find another version of the opera to match this (even the Alagna/Gheorghiu film version).....highly recommended.