Carmen Review: Glorious singing in a brand new manufacturing of Bizet’s Carmen on the Royal Opera H | Theatre | Entertainment | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Bizet’s Carmen has good claims to be the most well-liked and most frequently produced of all operas, which makes it troublesome for a director to give you something each new and acceptable however Damiano Michieletto has achieved an intriguing stability between conventional concepts and new insights within the new Royal Opera House manufacturing at Covent Garden. Occasionally, nonetheless, his improvements have been pushed a bit too far.

We shall come to that in a second, however first I’ve solely reward for the singers within the two most important roles. There are primarily 3 ways to painting the character of Carmen: as a devious femme fatale, a sultry temptress, or a fiery gypsy slut.

The approach Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina tackles the function is wondrously sultry, and her mixture of a shocking voice and provocative appearing make her efficiency wonderful to see. Her singing is highly effective and impeccable, reaching each the thrilling excessive notes and sensual low notes in excellent model.

Her efficiency, nonetheless, is equalled and maybe even surpassed by that of Polish tenor Piotr Beczala within the troublesome function of Carmen’s doomed lover Don Jose. This has at all times been a troublesome function to play convincingly, because the poor fellow is dominated by the impetuosity and fickleness of Carmen and will all too simply come over as a little bit of a wimp. Beczala copes magnificently with the issue, starkly bringing out the obsessiveness behind the character. The scenes between Akhmetshina and Beczala obtain a uncommon depth with the appearing matching the drama of Bizet’s wonderful music.

With some wonderful performances in comparatively minor roles, reminiscent of that of Ukrainian soprano Olga Kulchynska as Don Jose’s childhood pal Micaёla and Gabrielė Kupšytė and Sarah Dufresne as gypsy smugglers, all the solid ship a compelling and efficient efficiency.

The energy of the motion is aided by a intelligent set design that often divides the rotating stage right into a small room and enormous open space giving the performers room to show their abilities. It is considered one of Italian director Damiano Michieletto’s considerate improvements that convey an enhanced effectiveness to the opera.

Another of his concepts includes kids from the Royal Opera’s Youth Opera Company, who’re given fairly elaborate and mischievous acts to carry out to emphasise the lawless temper surrounding the scene. This each exemplified and lightened the motion extremely successfully. The kids returned in the beginning of later acts displaying playing cards spelling out “La Nuit Suivante” (The Following Night) or “Un Mois Plus Tard” (One Month Later), which was a pleasant contact, however bringing them again a 3rd time, however with their playing cards jumbled, appeared to me little greater than an try to get an inexpensive chortle when the elevated severe nature of the plot least demanded it.

Another innovation by Michieletto that I felt doubtful about was the introduction of a brand new character within the type of a black-dressed sombre lady bearing enjoying playing cards. I collect, from the director’s notes within the programme, that this symbolised Don Jose’s aged mom and his hopeless battle between his love for Carmen and his household loyalty, however I’d by no means have guessed that from watching it. I assumed she was simply there to emphasise the inevitability of the destiny that pursued him and Carmen, which was moderately apparent anyway.

This was the spectacular first outing of a considerate new manufacturing which, with a couple of modifications, might grow to be an amazing manufacturing of Carmen.

Carmen is enjoying on the Royal Opera House till 31 May. Cast change from 12 May onwards. Box Office: or 020 7304 4000
This manufacturing might be proven stay at chosen cinemas on Wednesday 1 May 2024: