Festival Review: Carmen

Passion and drama are always associated with Carmen and Artistic Director Aaron S Watkin has made sure this production is seeped in them.

By
Bizet's passionate opera now re-imagined as a ballet
Overall
5

Reviewed at the Festival Theatre on 8 March 2019

Presented by The Adelaide Festival

Passion and drama are always associated with Carmen and Artistic Director Aaron S Watkin has made sure this production is seeped in them. Curt Allen Wilmer’s simple but effective set which moves into place smoothly in beautifully choreographed changes is complimented by the late David Delfin’s uncluttered costuming. With Tom Visser’s efficient lighting setting the mood, the production is stunning.

Then there is the music, Bizet’s familiar themes, arranged by Alvaro Dominguez Vazquez, complemented by the dances of Marc Alvarez and the brooding music of Rodion Schtschedrin. Carmen, danced by Ayaha Tsunaki is seductive and fiery; her dances with Don Jose (Jon Vallejo) radiate heat. Vallejo conveys all the emotions of Don Jose with clarity. His rival, Officer Zuniga (Gareth Haw) also delivers passion well. Carmen’s third partner, the Toreador (Christian Bauch), has flair and Bauch’s performance is riveting.

The production has added an extra character, a young boy who is witness to the many goings on that occur. Anna Merkulova dances this role showing the innocence and vulnerability well. The ensemble is magnificent. Representing the guards, the Cigarreras and dogs, they also become the dark presence of Don Jose’s guilt and the shadows that surround the characters.

Although not quite the traditional representation of Carmen, which has been re-interpreted many times, the essence of love, jealousy, betrayal and death are all there. Mesmerising from the first note to the inevitable death this is a spectacular production. Another festival success.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue:  Festival Theatre
Season:  8 – 10 March 2019
Duration:  2 hr
Tickets:  $99 -$159

 

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