Yet another performance of Carmen? This was the first opera I saw as a child. So I have probably seen at least one a year for the last more than 60 years. That first one had Constance Shacklock in the title role. She later appeared in The Sound of Music in the West End - for ever it seemed! (Actually 6 years.......)
My first (and probably last) in 2012 was on Wednesday, and I had keenly looked forward to it, directed as it was by the remarkable Calixto Bieito. And I was not disappointed, although I think that by Bieito standards it was quite conservative - about as radical as the most radical of productions that we might have done at COT. And that by European standards might be considered not radical enough!
But Bieito is a serious theatre director who ultimately does NOT muck about with the text and meaning of what he is directing. I am reminded that his infamous production of Ballo in maschera, which opened with a row of gentlemen seated on lavatories, being described to me by my Chicago friend and colleague Philip Gossett (an authoratative Verdian if ever there was one) as being as illuminating a production of the piece as he had ever seen. So there!!!
And so we had a marvellous evening in the theatre on Wednesday. It got better and better as the evening went on with Act 4 including a knockout drop dead tour de force from the remarkable ENO chorus.
It was conducted by the most interesting composer/conductor Ryan Wigglesworth. He may have a big future.
As is my habit I just wanted to draw your attention to two members of the large and excellent cast who struck me as special. Two small roles - the Morales Duncan Rock - barihunk extraordinaire who can sing more than a bit as well, and the thrillingly voiced Mercédes (not to be confused with the 6 Mercedes cars on the stage from time to time) - Madeleine Shaw.
So it was a good evening at the office.