Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.







Recently in Performances

Probing Bernstein and MacMillan double bill in Amsterdam

The Opera Forward Festival (OFF) in Amsterdam is about new things: new compositions, rediscovered works and new faces. This year’s program included a double bill produced by Dutch National Opera’s talent development wing. Leonard Bernstein’s portrait of a miserable marriage in affluent suburbia, Trouble in Tahiti, was the contrasting companion piece to James McMillan’s Clemency, a study of the sinister side of religious belief.

Macbeth in Lyon

A revival of the Opéra de Lyon’s 2012 Occupy Wall St. production of Verdi’s 1865 Macbeth, transforming naive commentary into strange irony, some high art included.

Barber of Seville Is Fun in Tucson

On March 4, 2018, Arizona Opera presented Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in Tucson. Allen Moyer designed the bright and happy scenery for performances at Minnesota Opera,

Moody, Mysterious Morel

Long Beach Opera often takes willing audiences on an unexpected journey and such is undeniably the case with its fascinating traversal of The Invention of Morel.

Acis and Galatea: 2018 London Handel Festival

Katie Hawks makes quite a claim for Handel’s Acis and Galatea when, in her programme article, she describes it as the composer’s ‘most perfect work’. Surely, one might feel, this is a somewhat hyperbolic evaluation of a 90-minute pastoral masque, or serenade, based on an episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which has its origins in a private entertainment?

Oriana, Fairest Queen: Stile Antico celebrate the life and times of Elizabeth I

Stile Antico’s lunchtime play-list, celebrating the Virgin Queen’s long reign, shuffled between sacred and secular works, from penitential to patriotic, from sensual to celebratory.

Daniel Kramer's new La traviata at English National Opera

Verdi's La traviata is one of those opera which every opera company needs to have in its repertoire, and productions need to balance intelligent exploration of the issues raised by the work with the need to reach as wide an audience as possible with an opera which is likely to attract audience members who are not regular opera-goers.

Haydn's Applausus: The Mozartists at Cadogan Hall

Continuing their MOZART 250 series, The Mozartists/ Classical Opera began dipping into the operatic offerings of 1768 at Wigmore Hall in January, when they presented numbers from Mozart’s La finta semplice, Jommelli’s Fetonte, Hasse’s Pirano e Tisbe and Haydn’s Lo speziale.

Schubert Schwanengesang revisited—Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall

Schwanengesang isn't Schubert's Swan Song any more than it is a cycle like Die schöne Müllerin or Winterreise. The title was given it by his publishers Haslingers, after his death, combining settings of two very different poets, Ludwig Rellstab and Heinrich Heine. Wigmore Hall audiences have heard lots of good Schwanengesangs, including Boesch and Martineau performances in the past, but this was something special.

Rinaldo: The English Concert at the Barbican Hall

“After such cruel events, I don’t know if I am dreaming or awake.” So says Almirena, daughter of the Crusader Goffredo, when she is rescued by her beloved warrior-hero, Rinaldo, from the clutches of the evil sorceress, Armida.

Hamlet abridged and enriched in Amsterdam

French grand opera and small opera companies are an unlikely combination. Yet OPERA2DAY, a company of modest means, is currently touring the Netherlands with Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas.

The ROH's first production of From the House of the Dead

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s production for the ROH of From the House of the Dead is ‘new’ in several regards. It’s (astonishingly) the first time that Janáček’s last opera has been staged at Covent Garden; it’s Warlikowski’s debut at Covent Garden; and the production uses a new 2017 critical edition prepared by John Tyrrell.

Così fan tutte at Lyric Opera of Chicago

With artifice, disguise, and questions on fidelity as the basis of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the composer’s mature opera has returned to the stage at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

WNO's Wheel of Destiny rolls into Birmingham

Welsh National Opera’s wheel of destiny has rolled into Birmingham this week, with Verdi’s sprawling tragedy, La forza del destino, opening the company’s ‘Rabble Rousing’ triptych at the Hippodrome.

A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal College of Music

The gossamer web of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is sufficiently insubstantial and ambiguous to embrace multiple interpretative readings: the play can be a charming comic caper, a jangling journey through human pettiness and cruelty, a moonlit fairy fantasy or a shadowy erotic nightmare, and much more besides.

Robert Carsen's A Midsummer Night's Dream returns to ENO

Having given us Christopher Alden's strangely dystopic production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2011, English National Opera (ENO) has opted for Robert Carsen's bed-inspired vision for the latest revival of the opera at the London Coliseum.

Turandot in San Diego—Prima la voce

The big musical set pieces in Turandot require voice, voice, and more voice, and San Diego Opera has gifted us with a world-class cast of singing actors.

Dialogues de Carmélites at the Guildhall School: spiritual transcendence and transfiguration

Four years have passed since my last Dialogues des Carmélites, and on that occasion - Robert Carsen’s production for the ROH - heightened dramatic intensity, revolutionary insurrection (enhanced by an oppressed populace formed by a 67-strong Community Ensemble) and, under the baton of Simon Rattle, luxuriant musical rapture, were the order of the day.

'B & B’ in a new key

Seattle Opera’s new production of Béatrice et Bénédict is best regarded as a noble experiment, performed expressly to see if Berlioz’ delectable 1862 opéra comique can successfully be brought into the living repertory outside its native France. As such, it is quite a success.

Of Animals and Insects: a musical menagerie at Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall was transformed into a musical menagerie earlier this week, when bass-baritone Ashley Riches, a Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and pianist Joseph Middleton took us on a pan-European lunchtime stroll through a gallery of birds and beasts, blooms and bugs.



Beth Clayton as Carmen [Photo courtesy of]
19 Nov 2010

Carmen, Arizona Opera

On Saturday November 13 and Sunday November 14, 2010, Arizona Opera presented Bernard Uzan’s rather different take on Bizet’s Carmen.

Georges Bizet: Carmen

Carmen: Beth Clayton (November 13, 19, 21), Jossie Perez (November 14, 20); Jose: Fernando de La Mora (November 13, 19, 21), Garett Sorenson (November 14, 20); Micaela: Janinah Burnett; Escamillo: Luis Ledesma; Zuniga: Peter Volpe; Frasquita: Rebecca Sjöwall; Mercedes: Stephanie Foley Davis; Remendado: Cameron Schutza; Don Cairo: Kevin Wetzel; Morales: Kevin Wetzel. Conductor: Joel Revzen. Director: Kay Walker Castaldo.

Above: Beth Clayton as Carmen [Photo courtesy of]


All of the action was moved into a bullring with choristers and even some audience members sitting above it in the arena seats. Uzan and Michael Baumgarten designed the scenery. Patricia A Hibbert created the period costumes and in Arizona, stage director Kay Walker Castaldo told the story in a more or less straightforward manner. Thanks to Baumgarten’s atmospheric lighting, one could imagine Lillas Pastia’s Tavern or a mountain pass on a dark night inside that bullring.

Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Joel Revzen led the Arizona Opera Orchestra in a brisk and powerful rendition of the score. The Carmen and Don José on Saturday evening were American mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton and Mexican tenor Fernando De La Mora. Clayton had considerable difficulty in the first act and her Habanera was sometimes out of tune but her seductive looks worked their magic on much of the audience. De La Mora has a robust voice and he used it to excellent effect. Both vocally and physically, he was a strong, virile lover.

Jossie-Perez.gifJossie Perez [Photo courtesy of Columbia Artists Management Inc.]

Sunday afternoon’s cast offered Puerto Rican mezzo-soprano Jossie Perez as Carmen and American tenor Garrett Sorenson as Don José. Perez is a sex kitten who sings with colorful chest tones so she makes a fine Carmen. Sorenson, a tenor with an exciting sound, was a dramatic José whose Flower Song garnered a number of bravos. He is definitely a singer to watch. Another new singer who may have a good career ahead of her is the radiant-voiced Janinah Burnett. Her Micaëla was a brave young woman who tried her best to save José and sang her aria with floods of iridescent tone.

Mexican baritone Luis Ledesma looked totally authentic as Escamillo, the bullfighter, and he sang with a strong polished sound. Peter Volpe was a stentorian Zuniga who commanded the stage. Studio members Cameron Schutza and Kevin Wetzel were eminently praiseworthy as El Remendado and El Dancaïro. Their feminine counterparts Rebecca Sjöwall and Stephanie Foley Davis suffused their phrases with emotion as Frasquita and Mercédès. Sjöwall has lovely high notes and they were most welcome in this opera where the title role is sung by a mezzo.

This production contained a good bit of Flamenco and ballet featuring Dance Captain Adam Cates and a group of nine powerful but graceful dancers. Peggy Hickey’s choreography evoked many images of France and Spain, even bringing to mind a painting or two. The performances of this Carmen next weekend in Phoenix should be a most worthwhile addition to the city’s fall season.

Maria Nockin

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):