Boy meets girl…They fall in love…It turns out that both protagonists are from rival families… Cue one of the most tragic love stories of all time. There are numerous reasons why this tale has inspired the arts in the way that it has done; it’s language, memorable characters and symbolism trail blazed the theatre making world to follow and it’s heart lies the human condition. In 1830, Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini premiered his very own take on the tragic tale titled I Capuleti E I Montecchi.
Kicking off the Pop Up Opera season, James Hurley directs a vocally powerful operatic tale. Rather than recount the infamous meeting of the ‘star crossed’ lovers, the action picks up from the aftermath of Tybalt’s death, resulting in the capture of a Montecchi (Montague) family member. This scene has all the vital ingredients to heat up the evening, however the intensity never truly simmers until Flora McIntosh’s reckless turn as the ill fated Romeo.
I care about Romeo’s well being as he showcases his soul for the audience to see. beautifully nuanced, Romeo’s presence on stage never feels decorative, there’s a purpose for him being there. I am left wishing that Macintosh’s level of intensity could be equally matched seeing as this tragic tale demands for audience members to be on the edge of their seats, however characterise it sadly isn’t.
Alice Privett‘s Giulietta shines brightest when effortlessly performing Bellini’s musical compositions, however the chemistry between Romeo and Giulietta never stops me in my tracks, and this in my eyes is a crucial strand of the narrative as it’s the impetus for the event’s that are to follow. Cliff Zammit-Stevens Tebaldo (the Prince), Andrew Tipple‘s Capellio (Lord Capulet) and Matthew Palmer‘s Lorenzo (Nurse) all have the potential to be riveting characters, however they are all enigmatic.
Berrak Dyer‘s musical direction drives the performance. A never ending landscape of anguish, loss, romanticism and frustration gives the evening oxygen. The staging intrigues, situated in the basement of 71 Blandford Street, the sight that lies ahead is dramatic by its own means. Taking place in the round, various props are dotted around the space, the subterranean world giving the piece a grit that’s to be applauded but compromises sight lines. Projections beam on the walls to translate the evening’s vocals which adds a layer of poetry to the evening. 3.5/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
I Capuleti E I Montecchi is currently showing at 71 Blandfold Street until Saturday 7th May. For more information on the production, visit here…