Thursday, April 29, 2010


Congratulations to the organizers of the MET Opera HD Live screening in Hong Kong! I just found out yesterday all screenings for Bizet’s Carmen on March 15 and 16 are sold-out. Part of me is elated that the event is doing so well, while another part of me is annoyed that I was not able to get a ticket! This brings to the idea that perhaps the organizers ought to start thinking of opening the series up for subscription. I am saying this because I don’t encounter this problem with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra or the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

photo: coutesy of The Metropolitan Opera

In any case, I am not surprised that Carmen is sold out. If there is one opera that will be sold out, it has to be this one. Carmen is one of the most accessible opera; thus one of the most performed in the world. The opera has a lot of good stuff going for it. It has a soldier, a gypsy and a bullfighter in a love triangle (with a bonus maiden for a secondary triangle) set in the exotic city of Seville. On top of it, the opera contains a series of melodious and memorable arias that even people who haven’t seen the opera would be quite familiar with.

The opera has reincarnated (while still being very much alive) into several forms. There’s the 1954 film, Carmen Jones, adapted by Oscar Hammerstein II starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge. There’s also the Carmen: The Hip Hopera starring Beyonce in 2001. Only last year, the digital animation motion picture UP used Michael Giacchino’s adaptation of Habanera!

So what’s so interesting about this MET production of Carmen? For me, it would be Elina Garanca, Richard Eyre and Roberto Alagna, in that order.

I know of Elina Garanca through her recordings prior to seeing her performed live as Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte at the Royal Opera House in London. She was particularly funny and sang beautifully to the point of overshadowing Dorothea Roschmann’s Fiordiligi. After the performance, I went backstage to visit my friend who was playing Despina. Along the way, I bumped into Elina and boy, she was beautiful (read HD-ready) in person and unbelievably tall! This brings me to my curiosity as to how she and Roberto Alagna will look on stage given that Alagna is not very tall (tall tenors are hard to come by). This is not to mention Alagna’s famous walk-out in La Scala that prompted Zeffirelli to say, “Alagna does not know how to act like a true star.” As for Richard Eyre, I am familiar with his name for his production of the Mary Poppins in London and Broadway, which is extremely beautiful and effective. The production was very commercial (which will render well for the equally “commercial” Carmen) yet not predictable. He was able to inject magic and yet not eclipse the story.

Oh well, for those who were able to get tickets, good for you. For those who were not able to, let us hope that it will come out in DVD soon!

Check-out the below references: one from Elina's performance in Baden-Baden in January 2009 and one from the MET HD Live.


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At April 29, 2010 at 6:07 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

After publishing my preview, I got a message from a reader that he has an extra ticket! So I guess my business with Carmen is not over yet!


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