Waterperry Opera Festival, has done it again with a fabulous, furious, feisty, raunchy and confident production of Carmen.
Bizet’s 19th century opera is reputedly the world’s most frequently performed opera, and yet this production was no macho fantasy, but more feminist manifesto.
Yes, we still enjoyed the glorious music and a story of passion, betrayal and death set in the most romantic part of 19th century Europe – but this production reversed the romantic cliches of exotic southern Spain.
‘this production reversed the romantic cliches of exotic southern Spain’
So instead of traditional swirling costumes, castanets, gypsies and men in uniforms, it peeled the story away to a bitter exposé of domestic coercion and violence, poverty, drug-dealing and heartbreak.
The small orchestra, brilliantly lead by Bertie Baigent, was more than up to the job which would usually be performed by a much bigger ensemble, and the acting, dancing and singing were consistently excellent, in this English-language production.
Samantha Price as Carmen was fabulous, furious, feisty, and raunchily confident, wonderfully supported by Xavier Hetherington’s Don Jose with Edmund Danon as Zuniga and Catriona Hewistson’s Micaela.
a bitter exposé of domestic coercion and violence, poverty, drug-dealing and heartbreak
A special mention must go to dancer Eera Gupta who was lithe and precise, and director Anna Morrissey for lifting the whole production above the rather drab staging until darkness fell, with lighting and inventive props that filled in the gaps!
What a glorious festival it has been; offering an astonishing eight productions, from Bizet’s Carmen to the family-friendly Ronald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, via Judith Weir’s King Harald’s Saga, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and so much more, in just nine days.
Founded in 2018 by Guy Withers, Bertie Baigent and Rebecca Meltzer, this is Waterperry Opera‘s sixth festival in the grounds of the lovely Queen Anne house and its eight-acre gardens, and is still going from strength to strength.
I can’t wait to see what happens next year!