For anyone who saw the movie version of Sweeney Todd, with Johnny Depp talk-singing his way through the title role, and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim's powerful chorus numbers dropped from the score, the St. Petersburg Opera production is an opportunity to experience the musical in all its sonic glory.
"This will be beautifully sung," says Mark Sforzini, artistic director of the company, which is opening its 2012-13 season with the Sondheim potboiler that puts madness and mayhem to song and dance. Along with 10 principal singers, the cast includes a chorus of 17, and Sforzini will conduct a 23-piece orchestra.
Playing Todd is Peter Kendall Clark, making his role debut as the demon barber. Buffy Baggott (who played Desiree and sang Send in the Clowns in the company's previous Sondheim staging, A Little Night Music), is Sweeney's partner in crime, Nellie Lovett, maker of the worst pies in London.
Together, they cook up a diabolical scheme. Todd gives his customers the closest shave in London before slitting their throats, and then Lovett bakes the corpses into confections that turn her shop into the toast of the town.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg. $21.50-$64.50. (727) 823-2040; stpeteopera.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic