Music and Vision homepage




MALCOLM MILLER enthuses about
English National Opera's 2001 Carmen revival


The first night buzz at the ENO's Carmen at London's Coliseum was fully justified with a superb performance. For whilst outstanding singing and riveting drama are essential ingredients for this most popular of operas, one also needs an extra touch of wizardry to keep it fresh and exciting. Such was the imaginative concept of Jonathan Miller's updating to the Spanish Civil War, in David Ritch's stunning revival of Miller's 1995 production on Tuesday 20 February, with an excellent cast led by Vassily Sinaisky's electric conducting. The modern setting restores the political element in Merimee's original novel, still faithful to the spirit of Bizet's masterpiece which was itself prophetic of a later style, that of 'verismo' opera, with its heady mix of jealousies and passions. Sue Blane's realistic costumes, Peter Davison's stark scenery and the stage composition are keenly drawn from and inspired by contemporary photographs of Civil War Spain, orange-shaded, slightly ragged, external walls lining the square in the first Act, the spacious interior of a simple village bar at Lillas Pastia's in Act II, the warehouse hideout of the outlawed gypsies, here Socialist rebels, in Act III, the solitary wall near the Bull ring in the final Act. In all these the pale lighting, with blue-sky backdrop evoked the sated Spanish ambience so vividly captured in the local flavour of the music.

Continue >>

Copyright © 24 February 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK





 << Music & Vision home           La Bohème >>