Carmen Strikes Back

Despite sitting in the worst seats of the Metropolitan Opera, I was still blown away by the performance of Carmen. The powerful and familiar music made its way to my ears for perhaps the hundredth time in my life. Yet, the tunes never get old and hearing them professionally played was a chance in a lifetime.

It would have been great if I had Orchestra seats but last row seating left an impression that could have been better. The acoustics of the theater are definitely unique and top notch, but whereas the strings easily made its way to my ears, the bass and percussion were not able to do the same. It was as if the oomph in the music only made it past the first balcony. However, the cleanliness of the sound was remarkable and any mistakes made were not apparent. The only problem I noticed took place in one instance in the beginning when the music and the vocals were off. It only happened in that one instant so it was not an apparent problem throughout the remainder of the play.

The vocals throughout the play were superb. Yonghoon Lee’s Don Jose was portrayed strongly with vigor in his voice. His voice dominated the rest of the cast as expected since he was the male lead. Playing the role of Carmen was Anita Rachvelishvili. Her voice was robust, but at times Kate Royal’s sweet graceful voice as Micaela truly drew contrast between the nature of the two characters. Sometimes it felt as if Micaela was the star of the show instead of the promiscuous Carmen. Regardless, each of the performers showed great passion in their voices.

Although the leads left a great performance, that is not to say the rest of the supporting cast was not great as well. The children’s roles was particularly interesting in that their addition to the mixture of the voices in the beginning created the atmosphere of chaos and confusion in the factory.

The costumes were amazingly done. This was the case many of the character in the play. The best example of this can be found with the matadors’ costumes which had intricate designs on them. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the entire Opera was the set. A rotating stage was incorporated to help create a surprisingly different settings. With the help of a few turns and removing a few rails while in combination of certain lightning effects, the mood was drastically changed. The curtain was also very elaborate in the way that it opened. It created a design that like a lightning bolt.

Although I heard complaints on my way out about the ending, I thought the ending was completely appropriate and powerful. Some people have to understand that this is live theater and that this is a play that has been performed for decades. In the end, murder is still murder and it is not necessary to show a brutal killing. As Carmen lay dead on stage, the lighting turning red, left a powerful popping image that I carried home that night. Both the orchestra and cast performed a on par if not above par performance of the classic Carmen.

This entry was posted in Carmen. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Carmen Strikes Back

  1. Professor Bernstein says:

    Thoughtful reflection on the performance. There was a big debate on the effectiveness of the ending, though.

Leave a Reply