* Notes *
Anita Rachvelishvili (pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) is singing five performances as the leading lady in Carmen at San Francisco Opera this month. Rachvelishvili has an arresting voice, resonant and earthy. Her pronunciation of French may have been imperfect, but she seemed fully committed to her role. Rachvelishvili never looked like she was doing something simply because the director asked her to. Though not a graceful dancer, she moved with confidence.
The orchestra, conducted by Nicola Luisotti, was a bit more restrained on last Tuesday's performance than the opening matinée. The chorus sounded fine and together. Paulo Szot was still difficult to hear as Escamillo in Act II, perhaps because of his location upstage. Szot did sound rather pretty later in Act III. Susannah Biller's bell-like tone as Frasquita was pleasing. Thiago Arancam's Don José was a bit wooden, but his voice is not without appeal.
* Tattling *
The audience was relatively quiet, no one around me talked, and I heard no watch alarms from my favorite standing room spot at the back of the balcony.