Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

'In my end is my beginning': Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida perform Winterreise at Wigmore Hall

All good things come to an end, so they say. Let’s hope that only the ‘good thing’ part of the adage is ever applied to Wigmore Hall, and that there is never any sign of ‘an end’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny bring 'sweet music' to Wigmore Hall

Countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny kicked off the final week of live lunchtime recitals broadcast online and on radio from Wigmore Hall.

From Our House to Your House: live from the Royal Opera House

I’m not ashamed to confess that I watched this live performance, streamed from the stage of the Royal Opera House, with a tear in my eye.

Woman’s Hour with Roderick Williams and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

At the start of this lunchtime recital, Roderick Williams set out the rationale behind the programme that he and pianist Joseph Middleton presented at Wigmore Hall, bringing to a close a second terrific week of live lunchtime broadcasts, freely accessible via Wigmore Hall’s YouTube channel and BBC Radio 3.

Natalya Romaniw - Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul

Sailing home to Corinth, bearing treasures won in a music competition, the mythic Greek bard, Arion, found his golden prize coveted by pirates and his life in danger.

Purcell’s The Indian Queen from Lille

Among the few compensations opera lovers have had from the COVID crisis is the abundance – alas, plethora – of streamed opera productions we might never have seen or even known of without it.

Philip Venables' Denis & Katya: teenage suicide and audience complicity

As an opera composer, Philip Venables writes works quite unlike those of many of his contemporaries. They may not even be operas at all, at least in the conventional sense - and Denis & Katya, the most recent of his two operas, moves even further away from this standard. But what Denis & Katya and his earlier work, 4.48 Psychosis, have in common is that they are both small, compact forces which spiral into extraordinarily powerful and explosive events.

A new, blank-canvas Figaro at English National Opera

Making his main stage debut at ENO with this new production of The Marriage of Figaro, theatre director Joe Hill-Gibbins professes to have found it difficult to ‘develop a conceptual framework for the production to inhabit’.

Massenet’s Chérubin charms at Royal Academy Opera

“Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio … Now I’m fire, now I’m ice, any woman makes me change colour, any woman makes me quiver.”

Bluebeard’s Castle, Munich

Last year the world’s opera companies presented only nine staged runs of Béla Bartòk’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

The Queen of Spades at Lyric Opera of Chicago

If obsession is key to understanding the dramatic and musical fabric of Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, the current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago succeeds admirably in portraying such aspects of the human psyche.

WNO revival of Carmen in Cardiff

Unveiled by Welsh National Opera last autumn, this Carmen is now in its first revival. Original director Jo Davies has abandoned picture postcard Spain and sun-drenched vistas for images of grey, urban squalor somewhere in modern-day Latin America.

Lise Davidsen 'rescues' Tobias Kratzer's Fidelio at the Royal Opera House

Making Fidelio - Beethoven’s paean to liberty, constancy and fidelity - an emblem of the republican spirit of the French Revolution is unproblematic, despite the opera's censor-driven ‘Spanish’ setting.

A sunny, insouciant Così from English Touring Opera

Beach balls and parasols. Strolls along the strand. Cocktails on the terrace. Laura Attridge’s new production of Così fan tutte which opened English Touring Opera’s 2020 spring tour at the Hackney Empire, is a sunny, insouciant and often downright silly affair.

A wonderful role debut for Natalya Romaniw in ENO's revival of Minghella's Madama Butterfly

The visual beauty of Anthony Minghella’s 2005 production of Madama Butterfly, now returning to the Coliseum stage for its seventh revival, still takes one’s breath away.

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle

It appears that Charlie Parker’s Yardbird has reached the end of its road in Seattle. Since it opened in 2015 at Opera Philadelphia it has played Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and the English National Opera.

La Périchole in Marseille

The most notable of all Péricholes of Offenbach’s sentimental operetta is surely the legendary Hortense Schneider who created the role back in 1868 at Paris’ Théâtre des Varietés. Alas there is no digital record.

Three Centuries Collide: Widmann, Ravel and Beethoven

It’s very rare that you go to a concert and your expectation of it is completely turned on its head. This was one of those. Three works, each composed exactly a century apart, beginning and ending with performances of such clarity and brilliance.

Seventeenth-century rhetoric from The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall

‘Yes, in my opinion no rhetoric more persuadeth or hath greater power over the mind; hath not Musicke her figures, the same which Rhetorique? What is a but her Antistrophe? her reports, but sweet Anaphora's? her counterchange of points, Antimetabole's? her passionate Aires but Prosopopoea's? with infinite other of the same nature.’

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

16 Jun 2016

Opera Las Vegas: A Blazing Carmen in the Desert

Headed by General Director Luana DeVol, a world-renowned dramatic soprano, Opera Las Vegas is a relatively new company that presents opera with first-rate casts at the University of Las Vegas’s Judy Bayley Theater. In 2014 they presented Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and in 2015, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This year they offered a blazing rendition of Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

Opera Las Vegas: A Blazing Carmen in the Desert

A review by Maria Nockin

 

Lately, some directors have been updating this work, so Henry Price’s traditional version was most welcome. Many members of the Nevada audience are new to opera, so it was important to give them what they expected to see. Price is a former tenor best known for his performances at the New York City Opera opposite Beverly Sills. He is now Professor of Music at Pepperdine University and he has directed several excellent Italian opera productions.

Hannah D’Elia’s sets were constructed of expertly painted canvas that created the ambience of old Spain where sunlit upper surfaces contrasted with deep darks below. The attractive, detailed costumes that Jennifer McKee designed put the time of the action firmly in the romantic past.

Maya Lahyani is a born Carmen. The demands of the role lie smoothly on her voice and she has strong resonance all across its range. Most of all, she created a charismatic figure that held the attention of every member of the audience. For a young singer who had only performed the title role of Carmen in two previous productions, her grasp of its intricacies was amazing.

13435492_10210061641443297_9140796295324665780_n.png

Last year, dramatic tenor Viktor Antipenko’s portrayal of the scoundrel, Pinkerton, in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly was a major hit. As Don José on Friday night, he was equally triumphant. The tenor role opposite Carmen is difficult because it requires a great deal of dramatic singing in each of its four acts but has a major aria in the second act with an exposed pianissimo high note. Antipenko succeeded on both counts.

As Michaela, Susanne Vinnik was somewhat less successful. Her role also has dramatic singing, which she accomplished well, but she sang her lyric phrases with an excess of vibrato. As Escamillo, Trevor Scheunemann was a true grit torero who looked as though he could stare down the most ferocious of bulls. He sang his memorable aria with burnished bronze tones.

Carmen’s women friends, soprano Emily Botts as Frasquita and mezzo Kylee Slee as Mercèdes, made some fine additions to the singing. Botts, in particular, added blooming high notes to the mix. Bass-baritone Peter Johnson was a commanding Zuniga and baritone Eugene Richardson a straight laced Moralès. As Le Dancaïre Brian James Myer was an adept scout while his partner-in-crime, Aldo Perrelli as Le Remendado, took life a little less seriously.

With the help of conductor Gregory Buchalter and Lahyani, these singers gave a fast rendition of the challenging quintet. Much of Bizet’s Carmen is dance music and Buchalter gave us a catchy and rhythmic reading of the score that invited its characters to dance. It invited the audience to mentally tap their toes, too, but the house was full and that precluded dancing in the aisles! It was a wonderful evening in Las Vegas and I, for one, hope we will have another show from Opera Las Vegas before the year is out.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production details:

Conductor, Gregory Buchalter; Stage Director, Henry Price; Carmen, Maya Lahyani; Don José, Viktor Antipenko; Escamillo, Trevor Scheunemann; Micaëla, Suzanne Vinnik; Zuniga, Peter Johnson; Moralès, Eugene Richards; Frasquita, Emily Botts; Mercedès, Kylee Slee; Le Dancaïre, Brian James Myer; Le Remendado, Aldo Perrelli; Lillas Pastia, John Wennstrom; The Waif, Marc Leggat; Fight Coordinator, Sean Critchfield; Technical Director, Hannah D'Elia; Lighting Design, Ginny Adams; Costume Design, Jennifer McKee; Chorus Preparation, Megan Franke; Choreographer, Bernard Gaddis; Dancers: Justin Daniels, Barrington Lohr, Mary LaCroix Lohr, Maria Vicuna McGovern, Opera Las Vegas Orchestra, Chorus, and Children's Chorus.

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):