All of the main cast members in Opera in the Heights' production of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) are making their debuts in their roles. Camille Zamora and Julia Ebner appear for the first time ever as Giulietta (Shakespeare's Juliet), while Sarah Heltzel and Brandy Lynn Hawkins take on the trouser role of Romeo. Yes, you read that right, Sarah and Brandy Lynn will be Romeo. ''That's the way Bellini intended the role to be,'' OITH Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo tells us. ''It’s to give the impression that this is a very young man, young to the point that the voice isn't low enough to be a tenor, and at the same time maturity from every standpoint. This is not the typical Romeo. In this case, Romeo is not the young boy that is just another member of the family. He is the leader. He is presented as a full-fledged soldier that has incredible authority and maturity.''
Carreón-Robledo says he understands the pitfalls of women singing men's roles, especially of allowing the voice to sound too feminine. ''These two singers, they are both mezzo-sopranos, are really fantastic in that sense. It's hard sometimes to accept that a woman is playing a man, but in the realm of sound, which is where this opera lives first and foremost, they have each done an excellent job at impersonating a young man.''
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 18, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 8. Continues through Nov. 18, 2012