Tag Archives: OperaUpClose

Carmen review: a brutal, explosive denouement

Image by OperaUpClose

Image by OperaUpClose

Rusty oil barrels, wooden pallets, loose tyres and corrugated iron, with a dilapidated, peeling billboard showing an advert of a carefree woman smoking as the backdrop – this is the “torrid South American landscape of dust and concrete” that OperaUpClose describe as central to their vision of Carmen. Yet it is just this middle-of-nowhere feel that paradoxically makes this version of Carmen stand out – small-town ennui, along with heat, is a vital part of the opera’s landscape.

The exuberance of Carmen is played up well in this production: for example, a scene of drunkenness is played very energetically by the excellent cast.

However, the musicians deserve a special mention – a violinist, cellist, pianist and flutist truly bring the score to life, inexorably building up tension before exploding into a brutal denouement.

Read my full review of Carmen at the Soho Theatre