Cyrano writes love letters to his cousin, Roxane, on behalf of another man, although he is crazy in love with her himself; too bad. If the silly bugger had written on his own behalf we could have all gone home from the opera a lot earlier. But then we would have missed some three hours of David DiChiera's music, some fine singing and a ton of Three Musketeers costuming. Ah, the way those chaps make a leg and sweep their hats to the ladies is indeed a delight. Sticking a feather in a baseball cap just doesn't do it.
We're in Paris in 1640 and the stage at the Arsht Center is jammed with Parisians anxious to see the famed actor, Montfleury, ham it up. It is Scene One of Florida Grand Opera's Cyrano and the beak himself has just arrived to kick Montfleury off the stage because he, Montfleury is lusting after Roxane. With Montfleury skulking away, two more suitors pop up. Christian, a young, dense (but awfully good looking) guardsman and the Count de Guiche, a blackguard of the first water. Hiss.
Cyrano confesses that he, too, loves Roxane, but being a little inhibited by his enormous honker and believing that no woman could love him, he declines to press his suit. He then exits, stage right, to slay one hundred potential assassins. Cleaning up nicely after the bloodshed, Cyrano meets Roxanne in a bakery (you will drool at the breads and pastries) where she tells him she fallen in a big way for Christian, the hunky Guardsman. Ever the gentleman, Cyrano pledges to look after the kid, and even agrees to ghost write those damned love letters for Christian.
As is the way in the opera world, things promptly go all to hell in a handbasket and in the second act Cyrano has to also woo Roxane vocally as the idiot kid, Christian, is somewhat lacking in speaking skills. They camp under a tree beneath Roxane's balcony for what seems a fortnight, until eventually, thanks to Cyrano's sweet talk; the kid gets promoted upstairs for the big kiss. Gnashing of teeth down in the garden. After more dubious plot machinations Roxane and Christian marry. Each other. More gnashing in the garden.
Follows then men at war, starvation, death, poor old Cyrano still writing the bloody love letters and at last, grieving, Roxane seeks solace in a convent. Fourteen years race by and here's Cyrano finally showing up to confess his love and admit that he wrote all those letters. And you'll never guess the ending.
A good evening at the opera, this Cyrano, marred a little by repetition and excessive singy/talky.
The voices were great, naturally, but I must confess to not understanding a word sung by Roxane. Perhaps the soaring quality of her performance replaced the diction.
Cyrano was played by Marian Pop, Christian by Sébastien Guèze and Roxane by Leah Partridge.
Stage direction by Bernard Uzan and the orchestra was conducted by Mark D. Flint.
Cyrano plays April 29 and May 1, 4 and 7 at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 786-468-2000 or www.arshtcenter.org