One audience member commented “If you enjoyed this opera, you weren’t paying attention” and I think that’s bang on. This piece is difficult. From the music, to the staging, to the subject matter, this production is disturbing, unsettling and extremely raw.
There is an unfortunate trend currently in live theater. It’s not clear if the demand is coming from audiences or from theater companies who are either listening to their audiences or to the bottom line of their budgets.
Carmen was born in the wrong century,” says Chaieb. “She’s no queen, she doesn’t come from a family with a lot of money. But Carmen has power and decisiveness. And she is the only character from the beginning to the end of the opera who doesn’t change who she is and how she expresses herself.”
Both The Telephone and The Medium end with an unexpected turn and so the two operas result in a night of surprises.
Najmi’s tender, sensitive reading of Dichterliebe is worth the price of admission all on its own: I dare say that his Dichterliebe might easily rival the performances of some of the great Lieder singers of the 20th century.
The projections describe how the librettists and composer themselves had never visited "Ceylon" (currently Sri Lanka) nor knew about the culture, and were writing from a place of ignorance. Then the curtain rises on the chorus, sets, costumes, and the opening in the tropical setting full of palm trees.
The attention to detail in the characterizations extended to everyone else afterwards, as well. Matthew DiBattista brought a certain hesitancy to the Younger Son that made him endearing, even when he sang more confidently.
Pacific Opera Victoria’s season opener for 2022 is Carmen, taking a traditional look at a very traditional opera, but with a few excellent updates.
I wasn't sure where Jackson's interpretation lands on the scale of "bad girl", which was the main tag the company used in advertisements. On one hand, there was an impressively choreographed fight in the beginning between Carmen and another factory girl, where we saw Carmen's aggression.