As one might expect, Kosky aspires to postmodern radicalism. He has largely dispensed with Spain, apart from a few flounced frocks and matador uniforms.
Instead, Kosky pushes towards the trappings of the Broadway musical or the Weimar Republic revue. The costumes suggest the s. Later, his attempts to prevent her walking up it by standing on her train are the prelude to murder.
Kosky plays fast and loose with the score, arguing that Bizet never made a definitive edition of Carmen. Kosky has also, however, replaced the dialogue with narration, whispered over a sound system by the actor Claude De Demo, and all too frequently proving intrusive.
Musically, meanwhile, things are uneven. Goryachova radiates cool poise and self-assurance. His singing can be ungainly, very loud or very soft, with little in between. He makes an attractive, silky voiced Escamillo. Mkhitaryan, with her warm even tone, sounds glorious. The Royal Opera Chorus, though, have a terrific time flinging themselves into the big routines with gusto and glee, and their singing is exceptional. Box office: Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Opera. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations.
Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Most popular.The result is three acts of exquisite earworms and engaging action scattered with visual pop-culture references, followed by a final act — still beautifully sung — that is horrifyingly effective.
Initial audiences were scandalized by the femme fatale Carmen. Today, her actions read more as a proto-feminist determined to live on her own terms at all costs. Modern audiences are disturbed that the cost of her independence is death. By setting the story in a quasi-historical Spain evoking both the s and Havana, the Seattle Opera production sidesteps many of those stereotypes.
Seeming born to sing Carmen, mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson, on opening night May 4, sounded rich and velvety even while expressing a wide range of emotions. Impetuous and impatient, her big personality deflates when she is confronted with her powerlessness. That collapse was admirably performed on opening night by tenor Frederick Ballentine — a last-minute replacement for Scott Quinn, who fell ill.
Adam Smith performs on alternate nights. It comes as a shock even though we expect it. Many events in opera are unrealistic, but inapproximately 30, women around the world were murdered by an intimate partner. The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.
By Gemma Alexander.
Gemma Alexander is a Seattle-based freelance writer; gemmadeealexander. Here's what he says now. You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in or create an account.Someone famously remarked about a performance of Hamlet that it was full of quotes.
Well, I felt the same about Carmen. English National Opera is quite rightly engaged in a mission to reach new audiences for opera. Carmen is the perfect entry point and this production is engaging, entertaining and exhilarating.
A cross between Romeo and Juliet and Fatal Attraction this production has the lot: smouldering sexuality, visceral violence, lascivious lust, cynical cruelty and the destructive unstoppable power of love. This production of Carmen has a compelling vision of the Opera. It is seen as a space in which everyone is trapped. It is a circular space from which there is no escape.
No matter how hard the protagonists try they are in effect condemned to walk in ever-decreasing circles. This is brilliantly captured in the first scene. Here we see a soldier being punished by running around and around the exercise yard, wearing nothing but his underwear until he drops. This circular image of confinement is iterated repeatedly throughout the performance.The Royal Ballet rehearse the Kingdom of the Shades scene from La Bayadère – World Ballet Day 2018
It can be the ring Carmen wears, or the bullring where Escamillo swaggers, or the circular line in the sand that marks out the space in which the Don Jose confronts Carmen.
The chorus is excellent throughout, bringing a welcome uplift and surge of energy so that the production is never in danger of sagging. To use a football analogy both Ellie and Samantha are homegrown players who have come through the ENO academy. Congratulations to them.
This is a difficult role to play but Nardus gets it just right by avoiding the trap of sentimentality. Ashley Riches excels as Escamillo and is especially good at goading Don Jose.
Also, watch out for him doing his morning toreros drills naked! The heart of Carmen is the relationship between Don Jose the young soldier and the gypsy Carmen.Forgot your password? Don't have an account? Sign up here. Got more questions about news letters? Email support rottentomatoes. Already have an account? Log in here.
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Berlin State Opera’s ‘Carmen’ Projects Palpable Tension Through an Online Stream
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Top Box Office.Monika Rittershaus. On the other hand, seeing and hearing the various responses to the crisis from performers and companies makes me proud to be at least adjacent to the opera business. But opera companies have made available lavish offerings of free streaming performances—so many, in fact, that even the most devoted fan is now faced with having to choose between, say, the Met, La Scala and the Vienna State Opera for their daily opera fix.
Of the dozens of performances streamed in the last couple of weeks, the one that has resonated perhaps most strongly is a Carmen from the Berlin State Opera, done live on March 12, just as German theaters were closed in response to the pandemic. Though this was a full-scale production of the Bizet opera, no public was admitted. The usual pre-show and intermission establishing shots of the auditorium took on an eerie feeling, almost as if the opera were being performed for an audience of ghosts.
Opera review: Carmen at English National Opera
One felt immense admiration for the singers, who brought concentration and passion to the work even though they must have been mightily distracted by for instance the need to fly out of Berlin as soon as possible in order to rejoin their families. Mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili and tenor Michael Fabiano achieved an instant and intense chemistry as the doomed lovers. On a more abstract level, this performance demonstrated how context shapes our perception of an art work.
The production by Martin Kusej originated inbut the stark visuals now seem particularly grim. The various public spaces containing the action of the opera feel tense, even in light-hearted moments like the dance opening the second act.
This opera is not an escape from the world surrounding it, but rather a bleak commentary on our fears about the current impossibility of making connections. This video not only entertains in its own right the two gentlemen are in terrific voice but it also slyly lifts the curtain on the vocal-centric backstage world of the opera singer.
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Then Reload the Page.Please refresh the page and retry. But being different is not quite enough, and I felt increasingly dissatisfied as the evening progressed. Things get off to a terrific start. The stage is filled with a wide, steep staircaseused to stunning effect as the chorus cascades down or hares up its steps.
There is only minimal indication of anything Hispanic, and none at all of the gipsy or cigarette factory. Instead, the first act is played out like a Parisian floor show in which Carmen is the chic androgynous star, flanked by dazzling showbizzy dance routines.
Some of this is delightful, some better left in the library. As Carmen capriciously changes her costume and identity and those high-kicking chorus lines a Kosky trademark become tedious, one begins to miss the sense of a specific social context or psychological reality.
R ussian mezzo Anna Goryachova is a petite, edgy and dangerous Carmen, who tires vocally in the latter stages. There is wonderfully translucent orchestral playing, delicately conducted by Jakob Hrusa — the Act 3 Prelude is magically beautiful and the overall approach has tingling clarity and verve. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.
Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph Culture Opera What to See. We've noticed you're adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Thank you for your support.The trouble is that Bieito is a director whose priority always seems to do something radical and to shock if possible, even if the opera itself does not justify it.
I suppose there must have been some political point he was making by moving the action from 18th century Seville to some unspecified outpost of Franco's Spain in the s, but I still cannot see what it was. The move to a modern era provided an excuse for some vulgarity and for driving some cars onto the stage, but such things seemed to detract from the story rather than add to it.
And I was mystified by the sight of an armed soldier dressed only in his underpants running round and round the stage at the start of the opera, and bemused by the second half beginning in subdued lighting with a naked male exercising in time with the music. This is a difficult part to play convincingly as he is such a hapless character, but Panikkar acted the role very intelligently and sang beautifully.
Valentina Peleggi conducted the orchestra in energetic and sensitive style, balancing the instrumentalists with the singers perfectly and bringing out the best in Bizet's glorious music.
My overall impression was that this was a three-star performance of a one-and-a-half-star production of a four-and-a-half-star opera. That averages out at three stars.