Dayton Opera is preparing to open Charles Gounod’s supreme opera Romeo and Juliet to be performed during the month of love on Friday, February 24 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 26 at 3 p.m. in the Schuster Center. “Romeo and Juliet” has been adapted into countless films, plays and dance but no medium better expresses the love, longing and ultimate tragedy of this fated pair than Charles Gounod’s stunning opera,” said Thomas Bankston, Dayton Opera’s General and Artistic Opera. “This opera hasn’t been performed in more than 15 years and we are excited to assemble such a talented and beautiful group of singers.”
Acclaimed soprano Joanna Mongiardo, recognized for her effortless coloratura, makes her Dayton Opera debut singing the title role of Juliet. Her recent performance as Rosalina in Giordano’s rarely performed work Il Re with Teatro Gratticielo at the Lincoln Center was chosen in David Shengold’s selections for Das Opernwelt’s “Best of Year” 2011 issue.
Singing the role of Romeo is tenor Ryan MacPherson, also making his Dayton Opera debut. He is one of the most in-demand young tenors of this generation, well-known for his captivating stage presence and expertise with modern and contemporary music. He performed along with Mongiardo in a recent production of The Rakes’ Progress with Toledo Opera.
Baritone William McGraw, most recently performing in last season’s Fidelio, returns as Count Capulet, and baritone Chad Sloan as Mercutio and bass Nathan Stark as Friar Lawrence make their Dayton Opera debuts. Members of the Gem City Ballet choreographed by Barbara Pontecorvo, and the Dayton Opera Chorus, under the direction of Jeffrey Powell, will also be featured.
Albert Sherman, stage director for New York City Opera, returns to direct his fifth production for Dayton Opera, the most recent being 2009’s The Merry Widow. At the podium will be Patrick Reynolds, Assistant Conductor for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, who conducted La Traviata in 2009.
“$15 Friday Nite Tweet Seats” returns thanks to the sponsorship of Dayton Power and Light. This initiative for young professionals, a first in U.S. opera, received regional and national press coverage and is being adopted by other arts organizations. The Tweet Seats are located in the balcony so the light from smart phones are not distracting to others.
“Yes we are tweeting and facebooking but not so much during – apparently it’s all too riviting. J At the pause between Act I and Act II, the lights of many devices came out like fireflies in the dark. It was great!” posted by Charity F., a Tweet Seat ticket holder at last October’s performance of Dayton Opera’s La Boheme.
Tickets are on sale now at Ticket Center Stage by calling 228-3630 or visiting www.daytonopera.org. Dayton Opera has teamed up with Veleta Wines on a special promotion. While supplies last, purchase two regular priced tickets to Romeo and Juliet and receive a complimentary bottle of Veleta Tempranillo wine at the performance. Use the code “Veleta” when ordering tickets.