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Although the story was shocking to much of the audience and many of the orchestral sonorities were new, Carmen was successful and ran for thirty-seven performances during its first season. Unfortunately, the composer died three months after its première. He did experience its immediate acceptance in Paris, but did not live long enough to see it performed abroad.
A scene from the Santa Fe Opera production of Bizet's 'Carmen'. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard
The Santa Fe, New Mexico, Opera house is open on the sides and the stage can be set so that the audience can see through its back as well. At this performance, onlookers watched the sun set as conductor Alan Gilbert and the orchestra played the overture. The timpani were unusually prominent during the first theme, but the balances were excellent for the rest of the evening and Gilbert's brisk pace never let the tension sag.
Copyright © 20 August 2006
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA