I love ROH

Thank you, the Royal Opera House, for your Student Standby scheme!

Roméo et Juliette”, opera in five acts, music by Gounod, sang in French, for £10? Yes, please!

Don’t ask me if it was good. I can’t tell you whether the performers were skilful or the orchestra played well. I have no right or knowledge to judge that. All I can say is that I liked it, very much, and would like to see and hear it again.

That’s the end of my review of the performance, basically.

The following is a set of random observations I made during the night.

• “Roméo et Juliette” is a French opera inspired by an English play which was based on an Italian novella that has traces of antique tale, sang by international cast. Just listen to some of the names: Piotr Beczala (a Polish Romeo), María Alejandres (his Mexican Juliet), Alfie Boe (a British Tybalt), Zhengzhong Zhou (a Chinese Paris), Stéphane Degout (a French Mercutio), Ketevan Kemoklidze (a charming Georgian pageboy Stéphano), Vitalij Kowaljow (a Ukranian frère Laurent), Diana Montague (a British Gertrude, Juliette’s nurse), etc.

Isn’t it a great example of international cooperation?

• I got several culture shocks during that night.

Say, someone wants to get to their seat in the middle of a row, and you happen to sit on their way. Then it is considered polite in Russia to turn your face to other theatre lovers while you are squeezing through. Here, you turn your back, which seems very awkward to me. What about your country? (that’s my subtle way of saying “Leave a comment” :))

Another severe culture shock happened during the interval. Everyone got up and went… to have an ice-cream!!! Halls were full of dignified people, holding little cups of the treat. That was so cute! And weird! In Russia, they drink wine and eat chocolate, or have something more nourishing, but it’s usually children who get ice-cream.

And when the cast took the bow, I was surprised again. The curtain dropped, and then the principal performers started to come out of it one-by-one, getting their portion of applause and then disappearing behind the curtain again.

After that, all of the principals and the conductor formed a line and made a general bow. But they never raised the curtain again! And the audience didn’t get a chance to thank the choir and supporting actors…

• I am always amused by changes different nations make to the archetype. The French (of course!) decided to make the ending even more emotional. Their Romeo and Juliet get a chance to meet one more time and die literally together, because Juliet wakes up a little bit earlier than Shakespeare planned it, and meets Romeo who has already drunk the poison, but is still alive.

And a very tragic and beautiful scene follows…


2 responses to this post.

  1. The Student Standby Scheme sounds great! Excellent post!


  2. Thanks, Lynsey! The scheme is great, I wish musicals had smth like that :)


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