Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fancy that

PS, did anyone notice how good last night's Carmen was? Carmen is something of a primordial opera for me (I was in the children's chorus circa age 10 and subsequently became obsessed with my parent's cassette tape set) but it's pretty hard to get stoked about post-adolescence, considering A) the general quality of the casts attached to it and B) it lends itself to phoned-in readings better than anything else in the rep. I mean, it's Carmen. That's what it does.

But last night sounded like wall-to-wall blood and guts gorgeousness. Borodina brings more vocal riches than probably half of the current Carmens in North America put together. Alvarez sounded tremendous, warm and passionate and convincingly pissed off. And then, in the oft forgettable part of whiny little simp who is nonetheless totally right about the whole sordid business, we got Maija Kovalevska's disarming loveliness. I mean, when's the last time you got really excited about a Micaela? The Escamillo didn't make as much of an impression, but no matter. I don't know if this is a Gelb gilding the warhorses thing or what but it was awfully nice.


Will said...

I think Boheme gets phoned in a lot but I take your point. Part of Carmen's greatness, I think, is that no matter how hard you try, it's always elusive.

I've seen some interesting, even excellent performances/productions, but never one that had me thinking that I might have seen an interpretation that was definitive for it's particular moment in cultural history.

JSU said...

It's an "Alvarez ain't singing Hofmann" thing, in fact. No idea how they got Olga on short-ish notice, but who's complaining?