Roméo et Juliette at the New Met

January 12th, 2017

Sheer glamor—nothing less will do for Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the new Met. As Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau dazzle audiences this season as the beautiful lovers in Bartlett Sher’s new production of the opera, they echo the excitement of its first new production at the Met’s new Lincoln Center home in the fall of 1967. Opera’s most exciting matinee idol of the day, Franco Corelli, was Roméo, opposite the lovely and beguiling Mirella Freni (both pictured, in a 1967 publicity photo), in performances so riveting they restored the opera to the Met’s repertoire after an absence of 20 years. Since then, the Met’s Roméos have included Nicolai Gedda, George Shirley, Plácido Domingo, Neil Shicoff, Alfredo Kraus, Richard Leech, Roberto Alagna, Ramon Vargas, and Piotr Beczała. Among the Juliettes have been Anna Moffo, Judith Blegen, Catherine Malfitano, Ruth Ann Swenson, Hei-Kyung Hong, Natalie Dessay and Anna Netrebko.