“The great success, five years earlier, of Illinois soprano Ailyn Pérez’ Santa Fe Opera debut as Marguerite in Stephen Lawless’ “Faust” – the company’s first performance of a Gounod Opera ever [see Santa Fe Opera Gets Gounod At Last: Hymel, Pérez Soar in Spectacular New Production of “Faust” – July 1, 2011] – led to her being teamed again with director Lawless.

This production emphasizes Juliette’s willful adolescent defiance of her father’s wishes. At the Capulet’s ball, in which champagne is served to the red-uniformed Capulet men and their hoop-skirted women, Juliette takes a champagne-filled glass, which her father (Oklahoma baritone Tim Mix as Count Capulet) instantly takes from her hand and returns it to the serving tray. Moments later, the Count distracted elsewhere, Juliette gets hold of an entire bottle of champagne, which she opens and partially consumes.

Juliette is a role that displays Pérez’ shimmering coloratura in the cleverly staged Je veux vivre and the lyric legato of the love duets with Guerrero’s Roméo. This role is a particularly felicitous fit for Pérez’ voice and an obvious favorite of hers.”

William Burnett – Opera Warhorses