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Subject: "Eventful" Carmen at the Met / FT review
From: janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 22 Jan 2017 14:40:54 -0800

text/plain (69 lines)

  [Maybe all those missing people just joined The March. If so, good for them. JG]

Financial Times / Arts / January 22, 2017
Metropolitan Opera, New York

	The best laid plans of mice and Met oft gang kerflooey. And so it
was with Bizet's "Carmen" on Thursday.

	The titular gypsy was supposed to be Sophie Koch, but, reportedly
anticipating a long-playing “illness”, she withdrew in favour of Clémentine
Margaine. Her hapless suitor, Don José, was supposed to be Marcelo Álvarez,
but, for reasons unclear, he was replaced at the last minute by Rafael
Davila, making his house debut.

The conductor was supposed to be Dan Ettinger, but his podium was
mysteriously and effectively usurped by Asher Fisch. Sensitively, he kept
things moving, and not moving in occasional reflective passages. Also,
unlike his predecessor in the last revival, he opted for the stylistic
consistency of an edition that eschews spoken dialogue.

	The production, created by Richard Eyre in 2009 (now supervised by
Jonathon Loy), revolves on Rob Howell’s semi-modern unit-design predicated
on clusters of crumbling-brick walls. The cigarette factory is located
underground, reachable by the vampy workers only via a ladder and trap door.
Christopher Wheeldon's balletic interludes, a bare-chested danseur
hippety-hopping with an instant-willowy partnerette, contradict narrative

	Still, the principals – well, most of them – save the night.
Margaine, who didn'’t even rate a biography in the programme booklet, makes
Carmen palpably voluptuous, physically *and* vocally. Moreover, she manages
never to place hand on hip. Maria Agresta, joyously bereft of blond braids
and pretty-peasant costumes, shades Micaela’s plaints with artful pathos.

	Davila, a burly, much traveled tenor whose repertory actually
reaches Otello, almost compensated with passion for what he lacked in
finesse. Escamillo, the show-bizzy toreador, remains a virtually impossible
assignment – low for a baritone and high for a bass. Kyle Ketelsen met the
challenge with meek magnetism. The evening ends with a mawkish "tableau
mort" depicting Escamillo frozen in triumph over a big dead bull. Deep
meaning, no doubt.

	The performance, not incidentally, was dedicated to Roberta Peters,
a petite, fleet coloratura-soubrette justly admired here in 515 performance
spanning 1950 and 1985. Although she undertook 24 demanding roles, Carmen
was not among them.


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