I love the story and the opera, which is every bit as good as Faust, also by Gounod. This production is a treasure and the best available version of the opera on DVD(the others being 1982, 2002 and the Met production). Some of the sets are sparse in look, but most of them are sumptuous especially the party scene and the gorgeously lit balcony scene. The costumes look lovely as well, and the technical values of the DVD with crisp picture quality and good sound are equally fine. Musically, I can't fault this production of Romeo Et Juliette, the orchestral playing is lyrical and sparkling especially in Ah Le-Toi Soleil, Je Veux Vivre and the ensemble of Act 3, and Charles MacKerras' conducting is done with respect to the emotional core of the score. The staging is always involving and often incredibly poignant, especially the emotionally shattering Tomb scene and the Wedding scene is sensual and moving also. The singing is wonderful. Roberto Alagna in my opinion gives his best performance on DVD, his diction is perfect, his singing is lyrical and sensitive and his acting is both strong and fragile, ardent and intense. Leontina Vaduva's facial expressions may take some getting used to, but as Juliette her voice is ideal for the role, she sings Je Veux Vivre with elegance and delicacy and she captures Juliette's vulnerability very well. Anna Maria Panzarella has great stage presence as Stephano and has an appealing mezzo-soprano voice. Francois Le Roux is a wonderfully carefree Mercutio and Robert Lloyd is a sincere and sympathetic Frere Laurent singing with his usual vocal richness. In a nutshell a real bon-bon. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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