Riccardo Massi


Carmen (Deutsche Oper) – Bachtrack

Carmen (Deutsche Oper) on bachtrack - 02.12.2014

Bizet’s Carmen is a cornerstone of the entire operatic repertoire. Likewise, the Deutsche Oper’s production of Carmen is a cornerstone of their house, a classic work of traditional theatre in a world where the Carmen figure herself seems to be more and more prevalent. Starring Clémentine Margaine and Riccardo Massi, it's a musical treat, but the production itself, directed by Soren Schuhmacher and conducted by Jacques Lacombe, is sadly lacking in the fire that makes this opera so enduring.

The Deutsche Oper’s production premiered in 1979 and underwent a facelift in 2008. It is a pretty production, in shades of white, yellow, blue and orange. From the factory plaza to Lillas Pastia’s tavern to the darkness of the gypsies’ mountain getaway, the sets are a uniform monochrome, almost bland. The soldiers wear yellow, the civilians white, the gypsies black, Carmen red. The sole bit of Spanish flavour we get is Escamillo’s sequined suit, and this is the only time we see the pomp and circumstance of the bullfighting culture: the great party atmosphere of Act IV falls a little flat when none of the bullfighters the crowd is saluting actually appear onstage. There is very little in the way of reality onstage, and nothing in the way of passion. This is supposed to be mythological Spain, that lands of bandits and robbers, of sexy ladies and passionate soldiers, or murder and intrigue and forbidden love. The music gives us all this, but the sets and staging do not. It is a real pity too, as the singers gave uniformly excellent performances... 

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