Opera Scotland

Carmen 2012Edinburgh Grand Opera

Read more about the opera Carmen

This stimulating production featured a novel method of presenting one of the most popular works in the repertoire.  The music was presented in French, generally well pronounced.  The traditional recitatives composed by Guiraud are clunky and longwinded.  However, the original dialogue format presents problems for singers not fluent in French.

The company found an interesting solution - an actress, appropriately costumed, portrayed Carmen's friend Mercédès, looking back on events from several years ahead, while the cast froze for a few moments.  This worked surprisingly well.  It also helped an international cast of soloists from Russia,  Brazil, the  USA,  Denmark,  Sweden,  Australia and the UK in the two casts, since any contrast of accents was largely avoided. 

This production design created an unusually atmospheric fusion of sets, costume and lighting.  A high quality chamber orchestra (23 players) delivered Derek Clark's excellent reduction of the score, bringing out the lyrical highlights as well as the exciting moments.  The welcome intimacy of the Lyceum was also ideal for this concept.

Most of the soloists in the first cast were recent graduates of the Conservatoire and did well, without introducing any novelty of interpretation.  Carmen, Micaëla and the gypsies all projected clearly.  Perhaps the most notable assumption came in the awkwardly-lying role of Escamillo - no problem at all for the young Russian bass-baritone.  Whether it was entirely wise to have a young voice attempting Don José could be debated - the dramatic singing required in the last two acts is exhausting even for a mature tenor.

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Peter Cannell

Micaëla a peasant girl

Jennifer Baird (May 23, 25)

Natasha Day (May 24, 26)

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Jakob Holtze (May 23, 25)

Adam Magee (May 24, 26)

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Richard Mein

Carmen a gypsy

Laura Margaret Smith (May 23, 25)

Fiona MacDonald (May 24, 26)

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Angela Estrada (May 23, 25)

Susan McNaught (May 24, 26)

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Catriona Morison (May 23, 25)

Ditte Errboe (May 24, 26)

Jennifer Hainey (Narrator)

Escamillo a toreador

Mikhail Pavlov May 23, 25)

Anders Östberg (May 24, 26)

Dancaïre a smuggler

Blake Parham (May 23, 25)

Ivor Klayman (May 24, 26)

Remendado a smuggler

Raoni Hübner (May 23, 25)

Cailean Swainson (May 24, 26)

Performance DatesCarmen 2012

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

23 May, 19.15 24 May, 19.15 25 May, 19.15 26 May, 19.15

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