‘Romeo et Juliette’

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On Saturday afternoon I attended “Romeo et Juliette,” the Repertory Opera Company production in Pomona. (In my column item last week I referred to it by its more familiar English title so as not to scare off the Francophobes.) My count showed about 120 people in the audience.

The troupe did a nice job of it. Some of the actor-singers are better than others; Romeo was vocally underwhelming, especially compared to the powerful Juliet. Mercutio, Stephano and the Duke also impressed me.

There were technical issues: The Shakespearean dialogue projected on a screen was difficult to read (perversely, the top line was fainter than the others; I felt like I was reading an eye chart in reverse) and at the end of the first act, one of the backdrops toppled forward. Oopsie.

But those are small objections. They let me in for free, and I like them anyway, so whether the show is worth your $30 is for you to decide. Personally, I think they should charge $20 and try to fill the place instead of charging $30 and having the room half to two-thirds full, but economics and marketing aren’t my specialties. (Prompting the reasonable query: What is my specialty? I have no good answer.)

The show repeats Saturday and concludes Feb. 19, both times at 2 p.m. It runs about 2 1/2 hours. The venue is First Christian Church, 1751 N. Park Ave.

If you saw it, what did you think?

Here’s a video from a dress rehearsal:

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  • William C. Domb, DMD

    Had a chance to view the early dress for the performance and was quite impressed with the quality of the voices and the clever, sensitive and thoughtful staging.

    One hardly needs the supertitles to follow the action.

    I was also happy to see some new, younger voices coming onto the opera scene. The chorus, though small, was particularly well-prepared and energetic. Far from the wooden statues of many small company productions.

    As to costs, sure $30 is significant pocket change, but compare that to a plastic theater movie for ten bucks. This is all very live. And even though the accompaniment was piano not full orchestra, it was impeccably executed.

    We have to recognize the costs of staging a show like this. And we also need to understand how we are breeding the talents of the future.

    bill domb

  • http://www.repertoryoperacompany.org LizBeth Lucca

    Thanks for sharing information about Romeo et Juliette. Just to clarify we did have $20 tickets on opening night for seniors, students and groups of 10 people or more. And then part each ticket goes to our wonderful hosts, First Christian Church.

    Great to see you.


    [Likewise. And like I said, perhaps the $30 price is unavoidable, or even shrewd marketing. For whatever it’s worth, my guess is that it does price out all but the most committed, though. — DA]

  • Jim Gallivan

    The performances are worth the money to me.

    Mainly it is a privilege to support such wonderful arts in the Pomona Valley. Personally I saved money with a season ticket, but the money is quite secondary to being able to have and patronize those who bring out the living art in our local area.

    Would lowering the price help? I am clueless about marketing and selling the sizzle. Yes it would be terrific to have many more people attending the performances, enjoying the thrills of operatic singing and music and enjoying neighbors who unite in celebrating local culture.

    The troupe is quite talented, and also importantly the performers willingly give to the community in many ways, like their performances at the Miss Pomona event.

    I am not not one who wants to pay for perfection in music, but enjoy the privilege of knowing such a group is giving thrilling, wonderful contagious excitement to those who attend. The world is better because of the Repertory Opera Company.

  • DiDi Dinah

    Perhaps “reviewers” do not understand the costs of putting on live performances…..

    First there is the accompanist…… who plays not just on the performance dates…. but for ALL of the many preparation rehearsals. They are paid by the HOUR. The work of this music also involves language coaching…. Italian, French, German…. and what wonderful exposure no longer offered in public schools THIS affords! Then there is storage and rent cost for safekeeping of costumes, properties, tools, etc. Many costumes and props have to be made or purchased for each production. Keeping the costumes dry, and safely stored is protection of investment and many have been carefully collected from major opera houses around the world.

    There are costs for printing programs, negotiating publicity and promotion, etc. Every one of the singers, choristers and the Opera Company staff is taking things out of personal hide…. some driving nightly from as far away as Calabassas…. some parents accompanying the younger cast rehearsals and sitting through long evenings because they care about the safety and development of talented offspring with potential…. Many of the singers participate in coaching and are moving up from chorus to principal roles…some going on to the major opera houses…

    Here through the “Pomona Experience” local talent is able to sing alongside professionals….get reviewed…receive encouragement and experience. There are no salaried ROC staff…. it’s all for the love of it.

    And so, Mr. Allen…. I’ll put my $20-$30 in gladly as far better value than a 3-D movie or cage wrestling venues offered as competing entertainment in the local area.

    [Thanks for your thoughts and the insights into the production, DiDi. Hope I haven’t offended anyone in ROC! My thought wasn’t that ROC was taking a cruise on the Riviera with the proceeds, only that perhaps more people would attend if the price were lower. This might not affect the bottom line a bit (if, say, you lowered the price by half and drew twice as many people) and would broaden your base of support. But like I said: What do I know? — DA]