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From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 9 Aug 2018 14:30:30 -0400

TEXT/PLAIN (46 lines)

Those outside NYC might not be aware that an off-Broadway revival of CARMEN 
JONES is running at the Classic Staged Company. Carmen is played by Annika Noni 
Rose and the production is directed by John Doyle (the director who had the 
actors playing the instruments for his productions of SWEENEY TODD and COMPANY).

As a reminder, CARMEN JONES was Oscar Hammerstein II's adaptation of the opera 
to a format that resembles a Broadway musical. Made in 1943, the action is 
updated to a munitions factory during World War II (one of the charaters 
explains it's a former cigarette factory).  The Escamillo character, renamed 
"Husky Miller," is a boxer.

The production reminds me of the recent Broadway version of PORGY AND BESS - so 
much is cut out that the production seems more like an enactment of a 
"highlights" album with dialogue to bridge the songs. (I saw a version of CARMEN 
JONES about 17 years ago - the dialogue makes it long and the dialect makes it 
embarrassing to hear).  Thankfully Doyle has removed all the dialect and has 
coaxed some pretty seering performanes out of the players.  Rose is very good at 
Carmen, though her Don Jose (called Joe) was stretching his resources a bit. the 
Frasquita was also very good.

Sadly, the orchestra (reduced to piano, violin, cello, double bass, trumpet and 
clarinet) was frequently out of tune though that did not affect the singers. 
Tempos were a bit on the slow side but I suppose that was to enable the audience 
to really understand the words.

So musically it may be rough, but the performers however are really top notch. 
Recommend, even if only as a curio.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:   Twitter: @kos2
  Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; EXLIBRIS-L ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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