Bizet’s gracefully hypnotic, four act opera, Carmen, hit the stage of St David’s Hall this week and its success was evidently exemplified by the roaring applause upon the final curtain of the performance. The opera revealed a spectacular degree of décor with an all- inclusive account of highly qualified opera stars, multitudes of colorful clothing and just to top it off, a real donkey walking around the stage. All of these features inevitably made this rendition of Carmen a breathtaking vocal performance and a truly sensational evening, mesmerizing both myself and the public.
The juxtaposition of lighting elegantly complimented the opera and helped in aiding the change of mood upon the stage.
The first act was a combination of humor paralleled by a small degree of drama.
Carmen begins by following the two main characters throughout the play – Carmen, a bewitching gypsy girl, known for her passion and beauty as well as naïve soldier Don Jose, who is forced to marry his childhood sweetheart by the will of his dying mother. The story follows their relationship up to the point where he is imprisoned in order to save Carmen, it is here she promises her love to Don Jose for this act of bravery.
The second act presented a drastic mood change as the characters relationships began to spiral and cause ample amounts of complication inevitably darning the overall tone of the play. The characters were dressed in black, the music boded something of a negative and unfortunate nature, just in time for the entrance of the glamorous toreador, Escamillo who Carmen falls in love with. Throughout the act, the public is on the edge of their seats waiting to see how this love triangle will unravel and whether Don Jose will stay the naïve fool or whether he will take a dignified stand. All the characters- ranging from the ones drunk with power to the ones who were just plain drunk were indeed both captivating and relatable. This therefore, meant that the characters were accurate representations of the types of people encountered in contemporary society on a daily basis, which indeed compliments Bizet’s masterpiece as it is still as much of a success now, as it was in 1875
Whilst the opera was a spectacle, the only slight negative feature was that I found the performance somewhat unnecessarily long and eventually began to feel a little tiresome and weary. Despite this, I strongly recommend Bizet’s Carmen and I am sure that even the people who usually do not acquaint themselves with opera would thoroughly enjoy the performance.
Review by Dimana Markova