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Geoff

Carmen at Royal Opera House

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I was at the Dress Rehearsal of the new Carmen on Saturday. Without wanting to trespass over the line, I think it fair to say that this production has aroused a variety of opinions. 

 

As Kosky's show comes to Covent Garden from Frankfurt, perhaps people might be interested to read this (translated) review from Germany, where the opera had an entirely different cast:


https://bachtrack.com/kritik-carmen-murrihy-calleja-schmutzhard-reiter-vuong-kasper-oper-frankfurt-juni-2016

 

It will be interesting to read the British critics, some of whom may take a different view.

 

 

Edited by Geoff
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5 stars....wow!  I always avoid Carmen.  It is my operatic equivalent of House of the Rising Sun:  the first 500 times is fine, but after that....aaarrgghhhh!!  Please forgive me for being a heathen, but that's how it is with this one!  

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6 minutes ago, Sim said:

I always avoid Carmen.  It is my operatic equivalent of House of the Rising Sun:  the first 500 times is fine, but after that....aaarrgghhhh!!  Please forgive me for being a heathen, but that's how it is with this one!  

 

That's funny Sim, thank you for a laugh on a chilly day! I could say more but I'll be good and wait for the first night.

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I admire Barrie Kosky a lot, but it's worth remembering that German critics are more likely to criticise a production for being not Regietheater enough than the converse.  FWIW, unlike Kasper Holten I don't see that as evidence of UK audiences and critics being reactionary, it's just that there are very different, and no less valid, theatrical expectations in this country.  Some might even argue (and I'm broadly neutral on the subject) that those are the result of a more highly developed theatrical tradition :)

 

It took me rather less than 500 Carmens to have enough of it - one of those operas which could do with a good trimming, IMO.

 

 

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I'm going tomorrow, I found myself sitting next to a Carmen cast member at Salome last week and he described the production as 'shaken up'.  My beef with Carmen is that it never looks very Spanish but I love the DVD filmed in Seville with Domingo.

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Will it be worth seeing the cinema  broadcast? That doesn't seem to risky,

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Don’t get the chance to see much Opera but went to the rehearsal out of curiosity. No review from me but looking forward to both them and the cinema broadcast.

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Saw the Insight on You Tube and it certainly looked worlds away from the usual sort of production. Must admit I liked the look of it.

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Good review, but didn't explain why Carmen made her entrance in a gorilla suit, any ideas?

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16 hours ago, MAB said:

Good review, but didn't explain why Carmen made her entrance in a gorilla suit, any ideas?

 

It's a reference to Marlene Dietrich in the film "Blonde Venus". 

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36 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

It's a reference to Marlene Dietrich in the film "Blonde Venus". 

 

Got it!   Thanks.

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Possibly more familiar to the German public this show was intended for.

 

Someone on Twitter points out that the only reason ROH has this production is because they cancelled a new one and then bought this one secondhand. So it is seemingly not a true co-production, but more of a cut-price stand-in.

 

 

Edited by Geoff
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On 11 February 2018 at 10:47, Geoff said:

Someone on Twitter points out that the only reason ROH has this production is because they cancelled a new one

 

Apologies, it was in fact the distinguished Stephen Jay-Taylor commenting, not on Twitter but on the ROH's own comment page:

 

>>Mariame Clement's projected production was scrapped, and this modish garbage brought in cheap and ready-made from Frankfurt, where it should have stayed.

 

Edited by Geoff

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I had mixed views about this production, tending towards the negative.  I understand why it appealed to many people, but I was not one of them.

 

One absolute criticism I would like to make, avoiding the highly subjective matters of production style etc, is that the design is all wrong for the ROH, leaving too many seats with poor sightlines.  I haven't been to the opera in Frankfurt but I can only assume it has far fewer side seats beneath overhangs.  This has been an issue with several operas at ROH and I wish it would be a "red line" for those who decide which productions to import from other houses.  I was in a usually decent Stalls Circle Standing position at the "good end" of the middle block on the right, and I spent all evening crouching down trying to see the top of the giant staircase.

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11 minutes ago, RuthE said:

I wish it would be a "red line" for those who decide which productions to import from other houses.

 

I'd start with it being a red line for productions developed in house :(

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True... that Tristan!  And Manon Lescaut (or was that an import?)

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On 05/02/2018 at 13:08, Geoff said:

As Kosky's show comes to Covent Garden from Frankfurt, perhaps people might be interested to read this (translated) review

 

Very nicely done.  I wonder what Google Translate would have made of it? :D

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1 minute ago, RuthE said:

True... that Tristan!  And Manon Lescaut (or was that an import?)

 

And though I admire her work, Katie Mitchell's a repeat offender.

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6 minutes ago, alison said:

 

Very nicely done.  I wonder what Google Translate would have made of it? :D

 

It's no good.  I couldn't resist:

 

" Just that showed the new wind on the hem of the Latino dresses: Carmen wears only a new-fangled, tight pants with wide, white blouse, later a decorated with cords 20s dress and finally a black ball gown with fateful train. She is constantly reinventing herself - Latino, Gypsy, Hispanic, these are the others."

 

???  :D

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A friend I respect recently told me how much they liked this show. This prompted me to check more widely, by reading all the way through the now nearly three hundred comments on the two ROH boards (split between one for what-did-you-think and another for what-did-you-think-at-the-cinema). This broad sample - deeply divided on the merits or otherwise of the show - triggered two observations.

 

* As so often, those who disliked the show seem far more capable of providing detailed comments than those who thought it was "wonderful" (which tells one something). 

 

* And there is a notable difference: on the "live theatre" page, there is a strong majority against, whereas on the "live cinema" page, a majority in favour. Which also says a lot.

 

Anyway, reviewing the show I saw a couple of weeks ago now with the benefit of some distance (i) the conductor will be welcomed back, and (ii) I wouldn't mind seeing the mezzo in something else. Just in, a thoughtful new review:

 

http://seenandheard-international.com/2018/03/anna-goryachova-beguilingly-stares-down-the-camera-for-royal-operas-carmen-in-cinemas/

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