The Replacements

January 17, 2010

For my 2nd (now, I’m sure, of many) Met Live in HD performance, my parents and I saw the new Richard Eyre production of Carmen. Conducted by a Canadian, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the music and acting had all of the elements of a great Carmen: joy, beauty, passion. Later performances have a different cast, but this performance starred a long-term replacement as Carmen, Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca. Reviews of the London production (with the same Don Jose, Roberto Alagna) were half-hearted, but the stars must have developed their charisma and chemistry, because it shone through in this performance. Garanca, in particular, was incredibly physical and passionate (she’s a gypsy, of course she should dance while she sings!). Teddy Tahu Rhodes, as Escamillo, wasn’t supposed to perform until later in the season as well, but I’m thrilled that we saw him.

The direction was fantastic, with sets that demonstrated the difference in scenes but also offered a consistent look and feel. The pas de deux before each half and the conclusion, with its reminder of the passion and violence of the bullfight, were integral to the experience. Amazing to see a vision of such a well-known story that was both new and classic at the same time.

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