LA Opera is hosting the latest revival of “Carmen” by Georges Bizet. Arguably the most famous opera ever created, this production makes it abundantly clear why audiences worldwide have been seduced.
Anyone who has ever tuned into a classical music station for more than five minutes has likely heard pieces from Bizet’s famous score. For this production, LA Opera called in veteran French conductor Emmanuel Villaume, who does an outstanding job of bringing the music to life.
The massive success this opera has enjoyed generations since it first appeared could not have been anticipated when it was first staged in Paris in 1851. The story of a promiscuous and seductive vamp who makes a sport of love was anything but standard material for opera. And yet it touched a nerve … and still does.
Set in the city of Seville, Spain, traditional Spanish culture provides an exotic backdrop to all the action. We are treated to exhilarating Flamenco dances and elaborate costumes.
Carmen herself, played by mezzo-soprano Viktoria Vizin, performs an impressive flamenco solo for one of her lovers in an old Gypsy inn. Vizin, who makes her LA Opera debut in this production, possesses all the pizzazz and salaciousness that you could hope for in a Carmen.
Though at times the staged is littered with what seems hundreds of people, it’s difficult to tear one’s eyes off of her. She’s the centerpiece of the staging, a visual feast, which includes plaza scenes, the aforementioned Gypsy inn, a mountain hideout and the gates of a bullfighting ring.
A dedicated ensemble of performers ensures there is plenty to see at any given moment, so one is advised to bring binoculars to get a good glimpse of the rich staging.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is located at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, visit laopera.com.