“Puccini’s 1896 masterpiece is flat-out gorgeous, and when it is sung with the clarity and sincerity that Arizona Opera’s cast brought to it Friday night at Symphony Hall, it is impossible to resist.
Danielle Pastin and Jason Slayden played Mimì and Rodolfo, the titular “bohemians” getting by on love and not much else in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. They woo, fight, part and reunite in a series of aching arias and duets that evoke moonlight on a still lake: a chiaroscuro of velvety blackness and crystalline luminescence coming slowly into focus, never hurried and certainly never boring [...] when the penniless poet and the demure beauty meet in a humble flat to light each other’s symbolic candles, there is nothing to move the drama forward but the conviction of the performances — and, of course, their impeccably expressive voices.”
–Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic
Tune in to Iowa Public Radio this weekend for another chance to hear Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of Romeo et Juliette from their 2013 Summer Festival Season, featuring Jason Slayden in his debut of the title role. The broadcast will air Saturday, Oct 5th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 6 at noon and can be streamed online.
“Matching [Gartland's] accomplishment was Jason Slayden’s idiomatic, coltish Roméo, characterized by glinting high notes and a beautiful tenor instrument. Mr. Slayden cut a handsome, boyish figure and paired beautifully with his love interest. His singing was imaginative and varied, and his interpretive skills are wide-ranging. … his top is a thing of beauty (especially in tandem with Ms. Gartland).
…for musicality, gorgeous singing and dramatic credibility, Des Moines has fielded an impressive pair for their title roles.”
–James Sohre, Opera Today
“The Houston tenor Jason Slayden traces a similar arc as Romeo, from his swooning serenade under the balcony (the equivalent of Tony’s “Tonight” on the fire escape in “West Side Story”) to the doleful arias in the following acts, when he’s forced into exile and then returns to find his new bride in the tomb.
In the three-hour show with four big love duets, Gartland and Slayden do most of the heavy lifting. But they’re well prepared – both sang excerpts of the roles as apprentice artists in 2008 – and they have excellent help from the orchestra, led by the Greek conductor Kostis Protopapas’ flair for the dramatic.”
–Michael Morain, The Des Moines Register
Read the full review here.