Music and Vision homepage


<<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Miller    ENGAGING AND ORIGINAL


John Hudson as Don José and Louise Winter as Carmen in the English National Opera 2001 revival of Bizet's 'Carmen'. Photo © Bill Rafferty

There was especially expressive shading and poetry to Susannah Glanville's Micaela, her velvety, yet powerful projection of the supple melodies of the Act II Aria or the tender duet in Act I with Don José. Don José, like Carmen delivered a powerful dramatic performance, his attractive tenor subject to some vocal tension resulting at times in a rather dry sound, alongside phrases that soared passionately. Ashley Holland's Escamillo was superb, and brought panache and polish to his famous Toreador's Song and duet with Don José in Act III; Gerard O'Connor projected Zuniga with assurance. Throughout, Vassily Sinaisky's conducting elicited some wonderful clarity of detail, bringing out aspects of the score I had never noticed: the wonderfully inventive orchestration, either in tiny touches of motif and colour or the full-bodied textures, such as the horns that accompany Micaela's Act II aria. Occasionally one sensed a need for additional passion; the Habanera seemed just a bit too 'straight', and perhaps the sense of foreboding could have been more emphatic; yet the propulsive thrust of the music, and the final scene were gripping. Particularly poignant was the way Sinaisky allowed the fate motif to gradually intensify from its initial innocuous guise as a decorative turn, through its more ominous presence in Don José's Aria at Lillas Pastia's, and finally the doom laden outcry it becomes in the final Act.

Continue >>

Copyright © 24 February 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK





 << Music & Vision home           La Bohème >>