Why Opera Australia’s ‘Carmen’ Is Every Love Story Today
The old adage says that ‘we always want what we can’t have’. Though in this case, we want what we want; and we want the rest of it, too. Such is the story of Carmen in this year’s production by Opera Australia of the libretto by Georges Bizet, a touching homage to the flippant and whimsical promiscuity of the modern day: something we could all learn from.
Carmen (masterfully played by Clementine Margaine) is a gyspy, a harlott, can rock a colourful ensemble and is as sexually charged and seductively alluring as the best friend of similar nature we all know too well. She’s irrefutably toxic to the men she leads on a string being Don Jose (Yonghoon Lee), Escamillo (Michael Honeyman) and to a lesser extent, Zuniga (Adrian Tamburini); and does it without a doubt of who she is, nor what attention she can command.
Opera Australia’s performance of the timeless classic is every bit as much a celebration of the classic performance as was interpreted after Bizet, with a more contemporary, engaging and exciting overlay that, aesthetically, sure, it might be a far cry from what lovers of a more traditional repertoire might be accustomed to, but there’s something so thrilling about the ocular orgasm that is the use of essentially every colour in the spectrum on every character on stage throughout every act that is as scintillating as could be envisioned.
Carmen is the character whose iconic and unforgettable aria ‘La Habanera’ will be sung for generations to come. A piece of music and vocal work you need to hear to believe that acts as the perfect punctuation of the storyline that offers both an insight into what it’s like to love to lustful, sexually charged diva and a warning in advance of the same thing. You’ll know the one…
If every ‘single-but-dating’ Gen-X had an anthem, this would be it.
It seems that, though her beauty and command have radiated throughout Seville (the city the performance is set), it does nothing to prevent her ill-fated demise from occurring at the hands of the man she once loved, Don Jose. Such is the result of Carmen’s throwing of herself at more than one man, most notable and charming of whom is Escamillo, the bullfighter; who – as an aside – is fittingly and ostentatiously welcomed to the fray by his aria of timeless note of which you will be familiar with, whether you know it or not.
The mood of Carmen as a creation by the OA set designs (phenomenal!) is spectacularly effervescent in both Opera Australia’s appropriation of the libretto for a more digestible modern day context and the classic’s timelessness in love.
Carmen highlights the power of sexuality, the discourse of love, the lucidity of emotion and the hatefulness of a lover scorned. It explores the idea of a world where certain uncertainty bears over all and those who fall subject to it pay more dearly than most. A definite and unquestionable must-see!
Carmen is on at the Sydney opera House until 12 August 2016 and tickets can be bought here.
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