Cobb County native Joseph Lattanzi performs as Anthony and Vanessa Becerra is Johanna in the Atlanta Opera’s production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” CONTRIBUTED BY JEFF ROFFMAN
Many musicals have roles in which success depends on how well the performer tackles a particular song: The role of Anthony in "Sweeney" depends on how well the performer sings the three-note name "Johanna," a repeating romantic melodic line that becomes the character's motif. Cobb County native Joseph Lattanzi's fine tenor voice fills this and other elements of the role with believable and touching yearning. He and Vanessa Becerra as Johanna provide a compelling romantic lift to the story in a subplot that, in less capable hands, can easily come across as dully sentimental and predictable. (Johanna is Sweeney's daughter from whom he was separated when she was a baby.)
Overall, the plot and music of “Sweeney Todd” are unusual in the realm of Broadway musicals, and Sondheim’s lyrics similarly have a rare sort of incisive wit, sharp cynicism and intelligence. Still, arguments about whether “Sweeney” is truly an opera are bound to be inconclusive. If “Sweeney” can be said to be “operatic,” it’s not so much in the style of music or even in the fact that the show is almost entirely sung through, but in the way the music, words, visuals and narrative work seamlessly together, and this is precisely where the Atlanta Opera excels. Call it opera or musical, the production inarguably provides an unforgettable conclusion to the Atlanta Opera season.
The Atlanta Opera presents “Sweeney Todd”
7:30 p.m. June 12; 8 p.m. June 15-16; and 3 p.m. June 17. $50-$156. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 404-881-8885, atlantaopera.org.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Behind-scenes tour of Fox Theatre?s Marquee Club