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Carmen at the Santa Fe Opera


Epigonos
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About a month ago while visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Annual Indian Market, I attend the Santa Fe Opera’s Carmen. The architecture and the setting are absolutely stunning but opera cannot survive on architecture and setting alone.

 

To say I didn’t much care for the production is putting it mildly. The fact is I hated it and left after the first act. The setting had been changed from Spain in the second half of the 19th century to Northern Mexico in the “somewhat” now. The gypsies have morphed into Mexican “peasants” and they are no longer smuggling cigarettes but rather drugs. The cigarette factory girls of the first act were transferred from a factory to a jail and congregated in the prison yard wearing various colorful corsets. Don Jose fares somewhat better in that he is portrayed as a member of the local police force but his difficulties are compounded by the fact that his commanding officer is making a move on Carmen. Escamillo’s metamorphous is fascinating. I believe he was supposed to be a bullfighter but his traje de luces was gone and replaced my jeans, a multicolored leather jacket with a long fringe and cowboy boots. It was a mess

 

Now as to the music! The orchestra and chorus performed well thought without any particular distinction. Ana Maria Martinez’s Carmen was the least successful of the three principals. Even with a mike she was hard to hear and her chemistry with the rest of the cast was nonexistent. Roberto De Biasio as Don Jose and Kostas Smoriginas as Escamillo were considerably my successful than Martinez. Both have very nice voices and projected well but were unable to carry the entire production on their shoulders.

 

All in all even though I loathed the production and was not all that enamored with Martinez the evening was pleasant. The venue is absolutely stunning and if any of you have an opportunity to visit it by all means do.

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About a month ago while visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Annual Indian Market, I attend the Santa Fe Opera’s Carmen. The architecture and the setting are absolutely stunning but opera cannot survive on architecture and setting alone.

 

To say I didn’t much care for the production is putting it mildly. The fact is I hated it and left after the first act. The setting had been changed from Spain in the second half of the 19th century to Northern Mexico in the “somewhat” now. The gypsies have morphed into Mexican “peasants” and they are no longer smuggling cigarettes but rather drugs. The cigarette factory girls of the first act were transferred from a factory to a jail and congregated in the prison yard wearing various colorful corsets. Don Jose fares somewhat better in that he is portrayed as a member of the local police force but his difficulties are compounded by the fact that his commanding officer is making a move on Carmen. Escamillo’s metamorphous is fascinating. I believe he was supposed to be a bullfighter but his traje de luces was gone and replaced my jeans, a multicolored leather jacket with a long fringe and cowboy boots. It was a mess

 

Now as to the music! The orchestra and chorus performed well thought without any particular distinction. Ana Maria Martinez’s Carmen was the least successful of the three principals. Even with a mike she was hard to hear and her chemistry with the rest of the cast was nonexistent. Roberto De Biasio as Don Jose and Kostas Smoriginas as Escamillo were considerably my successful than Martinez. Both have very nice voices and projected well but were unable to carry the entire production on their shoulders.

 

All in all even though I loathed the production and was not all that enamored with Martinez the evening was pleasant. The venue is absolutely stunning and if any of you have an opportunity to visit it by all means do.

 

Just out of curiosity, Epigonos, how did you manage to leave after the first act but still see/hear the Escamillo since he does not appear in the opera until act 2?

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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Just out of curiosity, Epigonos, how did you manage to leave after the first act but still see/hear the Escamillo since he does not appear in the opera until act 2?

 

TruHart1 :cool:

LOL! My thoughts exactly... However, I'm guessing that there was only one intermission at the end of the first two of the opera's four acts. It seems that many opera companies are limiting the number of intermissions. Years ago it was just the opposite. Barbiere was performed in three acts and Norma in four acts as opposed to the original two; Traviata and Rigoletto in four acts vs. the original three. Last time I saw the four act Boheme it was performed with only two intermissions the first bring after the second act thereby combining all that occurred on Christmas eve as a single act, and that made sense.

 

Years ago opera was more of a social event, and intermissions were the time to sell glasses of champagne and for socialites to see and be seen at say the Belmont Room at the MET... After all it made no dramatic sense to have the first act of Rigoletto be only about 12 minutes in length!!! Of course, there might have been the need to have more time in order to change the scenery, but perhaps there were weaker bladders back then as well?!?!

IMG_0933_Sig_crop_46x20.jpg "Take it like a man!"
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Sorry about that guys. Whipped Guys is absolutely correct. I left at the the first and only intermission after the second act.

 

OIC! That certainly explains it. I should have figured that out on my own! Thanks to both WG and Epigonos for explaining the situation!

 

TruHart1 :cool:

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