Monday, June 27, 2016
Conductor: Carlo Montanaro
Production: Calixto Bieito
Lillas Pastia (speaking): Yusef Lambert
Moralès: Edward Nelson †
Micaëla: Ellie Dehn
Zuniga: Brad Walker † *
Manuelita: Jamielyn Duggan
Carmen: Irene Roberts
Don José: Brian Jagde
Escamillo: Zachary Nelson *
Frasquita: Amina Edris † *
Mercédès: Renée Rapier
The bare bones production of Carmen currently playing at the San Francisco Opera seems to be placed in the present. When Micaela and Don Jose meet in the first act they take a selfie together. Now a selfie requires a digital camera where the display screen points in the same direction as the camera lens. You can only do that with a phone, I think.
At the very beginning of the opera a man dressed in a white suit, Lillas Pastia we decided, comes out and says "Love is like Death." This means we are doing the original version of the opera with spoken dialog. There is a lot of silly business in this production. Micaela says Don Jose's mother tells her to deliver a kiss from her. She then plants a serious one on him. He follows this kiss with staring into the distance and reminiscing about his mother. Micaela knows that she is toast.
When the other girls come out together from the cigarette factory smoking cigarettes (no smell of tobacco), no one can find Carmen. She is in the phone booth making a call. So why doesn't she have a mobile phone like every other modern girl? The phone booth is the only scenery besides a flag pole and flag.
A half naked, and possibly also completely naked, man (sorry, forgot binoculars) appears for no discernible reason. I thought as a message to gay pride celebrators outside, "hey, I bet we have more naked men in here than you do out there."
Cars. Five of them in one scene. A line marking machine appeared and drew a circle.
The music was very lively, fast paced and fun. I enjoyed this for no reason that I could explain. Brian Jagde is far sexier than our Escamillo, so we are confused about why Carmen doesn't prefer him. Ellie Dehn was a lovely Micaela, and I enjoyed Irene Roberts as Carmen.