Saturday, July 20

Tag: Carmen

Carmen – Royal Opera House
London

Carmen – Royal Opera House

Director Damiano Michieletto’s desire to get away from 19th-century Seville sadly results in the loss of more than a picturesque background with its relocation to a small town in a remote and rural Spain in the 1970s and I still can’t fathom why he has chosen to introduce the character of Don José’s widowed mother to the stage when she is only ever referred to in the libretto. Thankfully for the audience the performance from the two charismatic leads salvages some of the passion and intrigue mostly lost in this presentation of this dark tale. In an unnamed town, naïve policeman Don José (Piotr Beczała) falls head over heads in love with Carmen (Aigul Akhmetshina), a seductive and free-spirited girl working at the local factory. Infatuated, Don José abandons his childhood sweetheart, Mi...
Carmen – The Metropolitan Opera
REVIEWS

Carmen – The Metropolitan Opera

Carrie Cracknell’s contemporary take aims at reinvigorating this classic with its resetting to present-day America but sadly is mostly firing blanks in its representation of a world that I’m not sure most Americans would even recognise. In an unnamed town somewhere along the border with Mexico, naïve army corporal Don José (Piotr Beczała) falls head over heads in love with Carmen (Aigul Akhmetshina), a seductive and free-spirited girl working at the ammunitions factory that he and his men are guarding. Infatuated, Don José abandons his childhood sweetheart, girl-next-door Micaela (Angel Blue) and neglects his military duties only to lose the fickle Carmen to the glamorous rodeo rider, Escamillo (Kyle Ketelsen). So far so good but given that much of the allure of the original is its ...
Carmen – Liverpool Empire
North West

Carmen – Liverpool Empire

Director and Producer Ellen Kent’s Carmen is carnal, captivating, and carefree in equal measure and with the close camaraderie of the company clear to see on stage, it is a joy to behold. Set in early 19th Century Seville, Carmen tells the story of the downfall of Don José (Davit Sumbadze) a naïve corporal who falls head over heels in love with Carmen (Natalia Matveeva), a seductive, free-spirited gypsy girl. The infatuated Don José abandons his childhood sweetheart, Micaela (Elena Dee), and neglects his military duties much to the annoyance of his senior officer Zuniga (Valeriu Cojocaru), only to lose the fickle Carmen to the glamorous toreador Escamillio (Iurie Gisca). Sung in its original French, with English surtitles provided by Victoria Bazalinchuk, the unfolding action on sta...
Carmen – Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Scotland

Carmen – Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen, based on the novel by Prosper Mérimée, tells the story of an obsessive love affair between soldier Don José (Alik Kumar) and flirtatious factory worker Carmen (Justina Gringytė). The musical scenes are punctuated by spoken dialogue between Jose and a detective known as the Investigator (Carmen Pierracini) and begins with José confessing to the murder of Carmen. I liked Pieraccini’s strength and stillness, watching quietly as the story unfolds, examining evidence and providing a moral compass for the work. In this production, the libretto has been translated into English by Christopher Cowell. Opera can be a particularly challenging genre for a translator, but Cowell’s version flows beautifully. I enjoyed hearing the opera in English, and felt more connected t...
Carmen – Opera House, Manchester
North West

Carmen – Opera House, Manchester

Written by French composer Bizet and first performed in 1875, and an adaptation of Prosper Merimee’s novella Carmen, which was judged by French society to be utterly improper.  This may explain why the opera was initially delayed because of fears that the themes of betrayal and murder may offend.  The opera received negative press, Bizet was accused of plagiarism by Gounod whose music had a great influence on Bizet, and died aged 36, believing that his opera was a failure.  Bizet was described as a child prodigy, admired by Liszt and even though Bizet himself felt that he had written something special, he did not live to see its success. In Ellen Kent’s and Opera International’s adaptation with the Ukrainian National Municipal Opera, the opening Act I reveals a set desig...
Opera North: Carmen – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Opera North: Carmen – Hull New Theatre

“Enjoy the screaming ab-dabs!”, were my opera-hating husband’s parting words as I headed for the Hull New Theatre on Thursday evening to watch Opera North’s production of Carmen. I’ve seen several of this company’s operas, in the line of duty, but never Carmen, so, blocking out hubby’s words, I vowed to watch with an open mind. Before “curtain up” an Opera North representative took to the stage to explain that there were Ukrainian and Russian cast members, who were all horrified by the current events in the Ukraine, and would we please be upstanding while the orchestra played the Ukrainian National Anthem. It was a reflective and sombre start to what turned out to be a colourful and riotous production. Set in 1830’s Seville, Spain, the opening scene featured drunken soldiers a...
Opera North: Carmen – The Lowry
North West

Opera North: Carmen – The Lowry

Carmen is stuffed full of well-known arias and melodies, or as one audience member put it as she left the theatre, “I was surprised by how many songs I already knew.” From the Toreador’s song to the Habanera and the Seguidilla the music is easily recognisable by most people even if they have never been to an opera. This boisterous production by Opera North updated events from 19th century Sevilla to a border town in the late 1950s early 1960s. This was a clever idea as this was a time of rebellion, of counter-culture, where young people wanted to be free and do their own thing. To live and love on their own terms. For the character of Carmen love is transitory. She is open and honest in saying that she falls in and out of love with ease. She just wants freedom and is unconcerned wit...
Ellen Kent: Carmen – Floral Pavilion
North West

Ellen Kent: Carmen – Floral Pavilion

Carmen is a four-act opera by French composer Georges Bizet, first performed in Paris on 3rd March 1875 with audiences initially objecting to the wild and immoral behaviour on view. Sadly, Bizet's sudden death in June meant he did not get to see its resounding success in Vienna later that year and its subsequent international acclaim. It is now one of the most popular and frequently performed operas. Set in Seville, Spain around 1820, Carmen tells the story of the downfall of Don José (Sorin Lupu) a naïve corporal who falls head over heels in love with Carmen (Katerina Timbaliuk), a seductive, free-spirited gypsy girl. The infatuated Don José abandons his childhood sweetheart, Micaela (Alyona Kistenyova), and neglects his military duties much to the annoyance of his senior officer Zuni...
Opera North: Carmen – The Lowry
North West

Opera North: Carmen – The Lowry

Hard on the heels of 'Waitress' at the Opera House this week, another musical tale of female lust and empowerment comes to Manchester, with the arrival of Georges Bizet's 'Carmen' from Opera North playing at The Lowry. Unfortunately, whilst this production promises 'desire and hot-blooded passion', what we are served is a reheated dish that attempts to be innovative and succeeds only in being lacklustre and imitative. Carmen was hugely controversial upon its initial staging in 1875 with its story of immorality amongst the proletarian class of Andalucia; the eponymous heroine being both lawless, amoral and (spoiler alert) suffering a brutal on stage death at the denouement. Bizet died less than three months after the premiere of his final work, never getting to see it staged to internat...
Opera North Postpones Autumn / Winter Seasons
NEWS

Opera North Postpones Autumn / Winter Seasons

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the government’s advice regarding social gatherings and live performance, Opera North are very sorry to announce the postponement of all mainstage productions due to tour in Autumn 2020 and Winter 2021. The following productions are postponed and will be rescheduled over the next two years: La traviata, Jack the Ripper, Trouble in Tahiti / West Side Story Symphonic Dances, Carmen, Alcina and The Girl of the Golden West. Ticket holders for performances at Leeds Grand Theatre will be contacted as soon as possible by Opera North to refund all bookings. If you are a ticket holder for these events at The Lowry in Salford Quays, Theatre Royal Newcastle or Theatre Royal Nottingham, the venue box office will contact you directly to arrange a re...