Opera Zuid, with the successful Swiss director Julien Chavaz and the young Austrian conductor Philipp Pointner, once again opts for a fresh take at a classic story.
When Romeo and Juliet meet, it’s love at first sight. But their rival families do everything they can to keep the two apart. A battle that eventually kills the lovers. Charles Gounod based his opera Roméo et Juliette on the popular play by Shakespeare. The universal love story is interpreted in a contemporary fashion by director Julien Chavaz.
For Chavaz, this opera is about the constant tension between public and private. ‘In the stage directing, we play with these different perspectives. One moment you are witnessing the two families fighting each other in public. And then switch to the intimate perspective of Romeo and Juliet, who meet in secret.’ The decor is also based on this change of perspective. “Like looking out the window one minute and surveying the entire city, and peeking through a keyhole the next.”
Chavez creates a fantasy world for Roméo et Juliette with its own colours, rules and aesthetics, which does not resemble ours. “It is an extremely exciting process that starts with a sketchbook in which I create a new world with my regular set and costume designers.” Chavaz prefers to see the body language of the singers fully connected to the music and text. “What I hear, I want to see reflected in the bodies. This is the only way to get the energy across to the public.”
Opera by Charles Gounod
Stage director Julien Chavaz
Conductor Philipp Pointner
Orchestra philharmonie zuidnederland
Cast Anna Emelianova (Juliette), Nina van Essen (Stéphano), Maria Warenberg (Gertude), Peter Gijsbertsen (Roméo), Huub Claessens (Frère Laurent)