Susanna Phillips and Joseph Calleja Sing 'Romeo and Juliet'

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Saturday, July 02, 2016

Joseph Calleja and Susanna Phillips star in 'Romeo and Juliet' at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Joseph Calleja and Susanna Phillips star in 'Romeo and Juliet' at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. (Todd Rosenberg/Lyric Opera of Chicago)

He's a Montague and she's a Capulet — families who have hated each other for centuries. Yet when Romeo meets Juliet, they fall instantly and rapturously in love. Secretly, they marry — but Shakespeare's famed young couple is ultimately doomed. Everything that could have been is lost as they die tragically in each other's arms. 

Saturday at 1 pm, tune in to hear soprano Susanna Phillips and tenor Joseph Calleja portray the star-crossed lovers in a production from the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Emmanuel Villaume conducts this performance of Gounod's timeless opera.

Cast:

Romeo: Joseph Calleja
Juliet: Susanna Phillips
Mercutio: Joshua Hopkins
Friar Laurence: Christian Van Horn
Stephano: Marianne Crebassa
Gertrude: Deborah Nansteel
Capulet: Philip Horst
Tybalt: Jason Slayden
Duke of Verona: David Govertsen
Benvolio: Mingjie Lei
Paris: Takaoki Onishi
Gregorio: Anthony Clark Evans

Conductor: Emmanuel Vallaume

Comments [10]

Les from Miami, Florida

It all looked so promising on paper. As fate would have it, the electricity went off again in my area --- an occurence at least four times a year --- for five hours, so I didn't hear any of it. Was it providential? Since my taste is like that of many if not all of the commentators here, I'm grateful I wasn't disappointed; and I'm sorry so many others were. I think we can agree that the opera itself is a beautiful one.

Jul. 02 2016 05:23 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Thank you Mr. Eisenberg.

Will not pass remarks as to the quality of the lead roles. I am trying to be a kindler, gentler Concetta.

Jul. 02 2016 03:46 PM
Madison from Manhattan

Calleja's a disappointment. I've seen him do better but that fast-paced vibrato seems to be getting worse. The Juliet is just bad. Of the numerous Met R&Js I've attended, the most moving was with Schicoff and Malfitano and most memorable with Corelli and Blegen. A few years back, Ramon Vargas was a wonderful Romeo. On the positive side, Romeo's not wearing a turtle neck with cardigan and it's not set in Bensonhurst with the Montagues and Capulets as two feuding Mafia families.

Jul. 02 2016 03:18 PM
Nick from Tampa

I have to agree that the lead singers are not up to par, and their French leaves much to be desired, at least on this performance. I've heard much better singers from Lyric Opera, but we have to consider that this opera is rarely performed, so singers who know the roles must be hard to fine. Sometimes, opera houses must take what's available.

Jul. 02 2016 02:59 PM
Mike from NYC

Awful. Calleja bleating nasally- as usual, and Phillips keeps making me wonder why does she have a career at all? Everything I ever heard her in (both live and over some media), sounded awful. Her Rosalinda at the Met was scandalously bad- without any top notes. This Juliet sounds anemic and debutant-like. With so many wonderful singers around (both young and already established) it leaves me totally baffled how casting is done and by whom...... Are the casting directors deaf??

Jul. 02 2016 02:02 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Les: who could ever forget Jussi. Years ago, my son came home from school and I was listening to the Golden Sweden and my son remarked: Mom, who the hell is that? Yes indeed.
@Uncle Charlie, you are being a little harsh as to Calleja sounding like a goat. But I have been as snarky with my remarks about different singers.

Jul. 02 2016 01:59 PM
Larry Eisenberg from NYC

Calleja as always in voice,
Ms Phillips not in equipoise,
But do not despair
The music's so fair,
All in all one ought to rejoice.

Jul. 02 2016 01:59 PM

The goat sounding tenor strikes again. And Susanna Phillips' Je veux vivre was just about the dullest, flattest rendition I've heard in a while. That's it for me, tah tah.

Jul. 02 2016 01:41 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

With a true lyric tenor and lyric soprano in the title roles and a master of French opera conducting (Villaume,not Vallaume), this promises to be an afternoon of delight. From photos, it looks like the attending audiences were afforded proper scenery and costuming, too. Recalling Met performances within memory of many, Richard Crooks and Bidu' Saya~o were Rome'o et Juliette; Jussi Bjo"rling (who said Rome'o was his favorite operatic role) and again Bidu' Saya~o were both incandescent in their performances (thankfully recorded) of their Met performances; and Franco Corelli and Judith Blegen with Alain Lombard conducting began the 1974 Saturday matine'es much of which I recall to this day. (Corelli and Lombard recorded the opera with Mirella Freni). It remains to be seen whether the ballet and Epithalamium (wedding procession, both often omitted, will be included. Whether yes or no, I won't feel short-changed.

Jul. 02 2016 09:35 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Balcony, wedding ceremony and wedding night have gorgeous music. The balcony scene ends with Romeo exclaiming And may the evening breeze bring a kiss. I think that is what he sings. I can be corrected on this and will not take offense.

Jul. 02 2016 09:25 AM

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