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Carmen at the Boston Lyric

Last night we went to see Carmen at the Boston Lyric Opera. It was a good show with some excellent singing. This was a new production with some significant cuts and as a result Acts I & II were Part One, and II and IV were Part Two with just one intermission. It used spoken dialog instead of sung recitativo. The staging was simple with a huge backdrop poster in different angles for the 4 acts and a bunch of "rocks" strewn about. Act IV usually takes place outside of the Bull Ring and at the end Don José stabs Carmen just as Escamillo is coming out from his triumphant killing. In this production it took place in a bedroom and Escamillo appears coming from the distance just at the end. It was thus a more intimate than dramatic ending and an interesting take.

Carmen is my favorite opera; I know it pretty well and that makes seeing it even more enjoyable. My recording has Risë Stevens singing Carmen and is from 1951. I haven't listened to it in a really long time; my only record player is hooked up to my computer for conversion of old records (yet another undone project). Carmen was my first opera. My piano teacher took me there to the old Met in NYC in about 1951 - we spent some time before we went going over the music. Afterwards he took me backstage and I met both the Tenor and the Mezzo but I don't remember who they were - I think they were the second string.

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I've been in Carmen twice, but never in a role. It has got to be the most hummable opera in the repertoire.

I just decided to pass up an audition for a local production of Carmen. Partly I wasn't impressed with the company's production values, partly I'm not thrilled by the role of Zuniga, but mostly I couldn't bear the thought of singing Carmen in English.

The only cut that really annoyed me was the opening number of Act II. Yeah, I know, it does nothing to advance the plot or develop character, but it's a great song.

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