Boston Lyric Opera Partners with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company for ‘Romeo & Juliet’

By Logan Martell

On August 11, 2022, Boston Lyric Opera will open its 2022-23 season with a free, public staging of Gounod’s “Romeo & Juliet.”

The production comes in partnership with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and the City of Boston. CSC Artistic Director Steven Maler will direct, with BLO Music Director David Angus conducting the chorus and orchestra. The cast features Ricardo Garcia making his company debut as Romeo, alongside Vanessa Becerra as Juliet; the cast also includes mezzo Mack Wolz as Stephano, tenor Omar Najmi as Tybalt, tenor Fred C. VanNess Jr. as Paris, mezzo Arielle Rogers-Wilkey as Gertrude, bass Joshua Conyers as Lord Capulet, and more.

This staging will play to both company’s strengths to create a unique adaptation where the Gounod’s opera is supplemented by spoken text from the original play, as well as some of Shakespeare’s sonnets for additional context. The production will also feature a 47-piece orchestra in view, along with a 20-plus chorus to bolster scenes such as the masked ball, town plaza, and more.

“This bold interpretation of the classic tale of star-crossed lovers, told under a starry New England sky, celebrates the rich legacy of this opera in a modern context,” Vernatter says. “In collaboration with our friends at CSC, we are creating something completely unique for our city, something neither company could make on its own.  These performances demonstrate the creative power of the performing arts in Boston and the importance of coming together as a community.”

The performance will run on August 11 and 13 at 8pm, held at the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Stage in the Boston Common. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to picnic during the performance.