March 06, 2019

Love is in the Air as Sparks Fly in "Romeo and Juliet"

The reviews are in for Lyric’s Romeo and Juliet, which opened in a new-to-Chicago production on February 22. With performances just through March 19, the classic Shakespearean love story of star-crossed lovers from feuding families is romantic and thrilling all at once. Celebrated Broadway director Bartlett Sher and French conductor Emmanuel Villaume have audiences raving about the production, which coincides with the Shakespeare 400 Chicago initiative, a year-long festival that commemorates the 400-year anniversary of the playwright’s death. From soaring arias and duets to electrifying fight scenes choreographed by legendary fight director B.H. Barry and stunning costumes designed by Catherine Zuber, this Romeo and Juliet is simply thrilling. See for yourself what the experts are saying! 

“Sher's detailed direction of Phillips and Calleja allows these appealing singing actors to penetrate deeply into the music.” — John von Rhein/Chicago Tribune

“Emmanuel Villaume is almost without peer in this repertory, and the French conductor brought crackling vitality as well as Gallic elegance to the score.” — Chicago Classical Review

“This Romeo and Juliet is a revelation—a fresh performance of a timeless tale.” — Barbara Gaines, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

“This production is both a feast of grand opera and a cinematic story that invites the uninitiated to take a seat at the table.” — New City

“Joseph Calleja's and Susanna Phillips's voices are warm and full.” — Hedy Weiss/Chicago Sun Times

“Gounod’s delightful interpretation of the Shakespearean classic should be seen and enjoyed by all.” — Stage and Cinema


“Susanna Phillips voice was inviting and precise; she brought depth to Juliet’s youthful infatuation.” — Bachtrack

“Calleja produced a big, bright, effortlessly clarion sound that rang to thrilling effect. He poured robust passion into his portrayal of the doomed hero.” — John von Rhein/Chicago Tribune

“This Romeo and Juliet delivers a lavish close to Lyric’s 2015/16 season.” — New City

“The love is legendary. And the singing is too.” — The Fourth Walsh

“The tragic love affair has never been more compelling.” — Le BonTravel and Culture

 “Sher’s production kept the action fast-paced.” — Parterre

 “The rich fabrics and textures of Catherine Zuber's costumes glimmer in the lighting designs of Jennifer Tipton.” — John von Rhein/Chicago Tribune

“The fencing choreographed by B.H. Barry is among the most thrilling seen on any stage.” — Chicago Critic

“The Lyric Opera Chorus has been raised to a new level under chorus master Michael Black.” — Chicago Classical Review

“Calleja lended his honeyed tenor and sang with surpassing beauty.” — Parterre

Romeo and Juliet has enticing flow, thrilling action, and fantastic imagery.” — Le Bon Travel and Culture 

“One has yet to see operatic swordplay as fast, exciting and precisely executed as what choreographer Chase Brock and veteran fight director B. H. Barry provided.” — John von Rhein/Chicago Tribune

Romeo and Juliet comprises a gorgeous combination of Elizabethan drama and French Romanticism.” — Stage and Cinema

“Phillips and Calleja ignite the stage with their steamy flirtation.” —The Fourth Walsh

“Phillips and Calleja complement each other nicely and merge affectingly.” — John von Rhein/Chicago Tribune 

“Stunning period costumes by Catherine Zuber.” — Le Bon Travel and Culture

“As Romeo, Joseph Calleja delivered plenty of fire and ample passion in the role, singing with his big, vibrant voice.” — Chicago Classical Review

 “The Lyric Opera Chorus was a lesson in precision and skill, making the choral opening to the opera a thing of beauty and clarity.” — Parterre

“Costume Designer Catherine Zuber fills the stage with eclectic vibrance.” — The Fourth Walsh

“French conductor Emmanuel Villaume moves the music forward ever so deftly, keeping it wonderfully lithe and lively.” — Stage and Cinema

Lyric Opera presentation generously made possible by the NIB FoundationJulie and Roger BaskesMr. and Mrs. W. James Farrell, and PowerShares QQQ.

Production owned by The Metropolitan Opera.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg