* Notes *
Los Angeles Opera is midway through a revival of Carmen from Teatro Real. Emilio Sagi's production is a bit avant garde, the set is traditional looking enough, and the costumes have a traditional feel with a few rough edges. The ending has been fiddled with, such that Carmen somehow takes a more active role in her own demise. This was interesting, but one is not altogether sure it works.
The dancers were required to make percussive sounds with their hands and feet, sometimes this was good, and other times they were entirely off. Likewise, the conducting was erratic, Emmanuel Villaume did not have command of the orchestra, they were often not together or with the singers.
Raymond Aceto did not look dashing as Escamillo until the last act, though vocally he was fine. Genia Kühmeier (Micaëla) was wonderful, she did start off a bit breathy, but her voice is sweet and clear. The strongest performance was from Marcus Haddock as Don José, his volume was good, and he sang with fire. His "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" went particularly well. Viktoria Vizin looked beautiful in the title role, her throaty, dark tones were not unpleasant, but she just did not seem fully engaged. Her hip movements were quite good, but her castanet playing left something to be desired.
* Tattling *
The audience was talkative, as the Sunday matinée audience often is. They applauded for the set more than once.