Carmen Review: Enjoyably highly effective manufacturing opens Glyndebourne Festival | Theatre | Entertainment | EUROtoday

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Glyndebourne Opera is celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of its competition and, as at all times, productions at this superb opera home close to Lewes in East Sussex at all times embody a protracted interval of round 90 minutes throughout which we might get pleasure from a picnic on its spacious lawns.

Bizet’s Carmen is probably the most well-liked and most carried out of all operas, which makes it fairly a problem. Directors at all times wish to deliver one thing new to their productions, however they shouldn’t be tempted to stray too removed from the unique. In that respect, US director Diane Paulus has struck an ideal stability.

With the motion moved away from nineteenth century Seville to an unidentified however distinctly extra trendy and militaristic state, we meet Carmen as a assured, feisty girl working, as ordinary, in a cigarette manufacturing facility, this time sternly guarded by troopers. After being concerned in a battle, she is arrested, however escapes, due to the soldier Don Jose who has fallen for her seductive charms.

She joins good friend Lillas Pastas, whose tavern within the authentic opera has change into a sleazy nightclub and whose companions, as a substitute of being mere smugglers, are actually smuggling refugees throughout a border. Don Jose tracks her down hoping she’s going to nonetheless love him, however she rapidly transfers her attentions to the bullfighter, Escamillo, which completely deranges Don Jose.

The normal enhance in vitality of this manufacturing is superbly matched by the efficiency of the London Philharmonic Orchestra carried out by Robin Ticciati, who begins by taking the overture barely sooner than ordinary, bringing an enhanced sense of urgency. With delicate management of tempo and quantity all through, Bizet’s splendidly tuneful music is given the prominence it deserves.

The singing of Tunisian-Canadian Rihab Chaieb within the title function is excellent. The brave independence she deliver to the half provides the manufacturing uncommon energy.

With a gloriously highly effective voice and spectacular performing means, Rihab Chaieb is the actual star of the present, whereas  the Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov was a bit disappointing as Don Jose. His voice was wonderful however his performing did not make the character convincing. Don Jose is, in any case, a weak character, unable to deal with the calls for he faces, however his transformation from hapless sufferer to murderous ex-lover wants a extra convincing portrayal.

Russian bass-baritone Dmitry Cheblykov has essentially the most acceptable physique I’ve ever seen because the bullfighter Escamillo, however this was not matched by his singing, which was sufficient however lacked the power to match his muscle tissues.

Three of the minor roles, nevertheless, noticed wonderful performances. The wealthy voice of British baritone Alex Otterburn impressed as Captain Morales, whereas Russian soprano Sofia Fomina was good as Don Jose’s harmless childhood sweetheart Micaёla. Canadian soprano Elisabeth Boudreault made a surprising Glyndebourne debut because the gypsy lady Frasquita, with some gloriously joyous gestures and a delightfully large voice that was most spectacular from such a small body.

On the entire, a wonderful and most pleasant begin to Glyndebourne’s ninetieth anniversary yr.

Carmen is enjoying at Glyndebourne till 17 June and returns with some forged modifications from 1-24 August. Box Office: or 01273 815 000

A semi-staged model of this manufacturing can be seen on the Proms on the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 29 August. For particulars, see