Oman Observer | One of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the classical canon, Carmen first came to the Royal Opera House Muscat as a specially commissioned production for ROHM’s landmark Inaugural Season in 2011-2012 This compelling work by late nineteenth-century French composer, Georges Bizet returns to ROHM with the original sets that transformed ROHM’s stage from a bustling city scene to a dark hideaway in the mountains and then into a grand stadium and realistic bullring. With the added enhancement of brilliant new choreography by the famous Spanish dance company, Antonio Gades, Carmen will be performed by the most prestigious theatre in South America, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, complete with Orchestra and Choir under the baton of the renowned conductor, Antonello Allemandi.
Capping this extraordinary production, José Cura, one of the greatest tenors of our time, will perform as Don José, the naïve soldier who loses his heart to a beautiful gypsy, the fiery and capricious Carmen, sung by the charismatic mezzo-soprano, Elena Maximova. José’s mother tries in vain to persuade her son to marry Micaëla, a shy village maiden, a character much like the proverbial ‘girl next door’ sung by Anita Hartig. Things fall apart with exploding passions when José loses Carmen to the glamorous toreador, Escamillo, played by George Petean.
Georges Bizet is widely admired for the skill with which he expresses the emotions and suffering of his characters in musical idiom. Carmen is the composer’s most famous work, and is praised also for brilliance in melody and harmony, palpable conveyance of atmosphere, and superb orchestration. The Habanera from Act One and the rousing Toreador Song from Act Two are among the most famous arias in the world opera repertoire. The most memorable musical elements of the opera have entered the public imagination in modern times and many tunes from the opera have become immediately recognisable.
When Carmen first appears on stage, she sings the Habanera, meaning the dance of Havana, saucily calling out the refrain, L’amour est un oiseau rebelle que nul ne peut apprivoiser, (Love is a rebellious bird that no-one can tame). The words are fitting for Carmen, a defiantly unconventional character who flits flirtatiously from one man to another, while the racy, rollicking music to which she sings paves the way for a rousing opera. Hoping to impress Carmen, the dashing bullfighter, Escamillo bursts out with a robust, super-masculine, yet romantic toast to his fellow bullfighters in the Toreador Song.
Carmen will be presented on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, September 11, 12 and 14 at 7:00 pm. For ticket holders only, an informative Pre-Performance Talk will be delivered one hour prior to each performance. An Al Mandoos talk will be held on September 8 at 7:00 pm and there will be a Coffee and Dates session with the star tenor, José Cura on September 9 at 7:00 pm.
Please consult www.rohmuscat.org for further information and booking.