She reached her pinnacle in the Act IV scene in which she commits to Frère Laurent’s questionable strategy that she drink a potion to make her appear dead, a scene that climaxed in her commanding rendition of the taxing aria “Amour, ranime mon courage” … In recent years Pérez has been honored with some of the opera world’s top awards. It is easy to understand the acclaim when, on learning that the lad she loves is a member of the rival family, she renders her line “Ah! Je l’ai vu trop tôt sans le connaître” (Too early seen unknown and known too late) with luxuriant tone and affecting emotion … their Act IV duet (“Nuit d’hyménée!”) achieved a level of musical eroticism that matched the action onstage. Their moving death-scene in Act V inspired the surrounding members of the two families, posed as a tableau vivant, to come to life and lay down their arms as the lovers expired.
James M. Keller – Santa Fe New Mexican